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« Free Reads -- Cynic's Sanctuary | Main | Adorno »

August 28, 2002

Stereotypes Redux

Friedrich --

In the last couple of weeks, here's some of what I've witnessed:

*At my high-school reunion in Western New York, guys clustered with guys, and gals clustered with gals. The guys talked about sports; the gals talked about children.
*In Greenwich Village, lots of black teens roamed about, showing off rapper gear and rapper swagger.
*At the computer-repair store, there were two kids behind the counter. One was a geeky Jewish brainiac, the other a geeky Asian brainiac.
*On Fifth Ave., a group of Asian teen boys walked by. They were holding calculus textbooks, and were talking to each other about test scores.

I was working myself up to write a few wry paragraphs about stereotypes, largely on the theme of: "Don't they know?" And: "You mean, we aren't supposed to notice?" Tempered by a "Hey, I'm a stereotype too! We all are!" disclaimer, of course. And building to a "Stereotypes are inevitable and perfectly OK, even if potentially annoying. So let's roll with that, folks" conclusion.

Then I ran across this sharp and amusing article by John Derbyshire, which is largely an appreciation of stereotypes and stereotyping, here. And now there's no need for me to say any more.

Sample Derbyshire passage:

Far from being a loathsome aberration that ought to be purged from our behavior, it turns out that stereotypes are essential life tools, are accurate much more often than not, and that we do not use them as much as, from cold practical considerations, we should.



posted by Michael at August 28, 2002


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