For a speech class, I need to tell a story about being stereotyped. Religious stereotype work?

Here's the prompt:

Tell a true story that incorporates a stereotype that has been placed upon you based on your membership to a particular culture.

The professor further explains that: You may tell a story about any culture in which you feel that you belong/or don’t belong (work, family, extracurricular activities, fan-based groups, etc). Whatever story you share, within it you must share a stereotype that was placed upon you based on people’s previous conceptions of the group that you identify with.

So I had a hard time thinking of a time where someone stereotyped me based on a culture I identify with. Recently I converted to a religion that many people don't know much about and have a lot of pre conceived notions about - The Church of Jesus Christ.....better known as the "Mormons". So I was thinking I have some OK examples for that one - people think I'm a goody two shoes who wears long skirts and who doesn't drink soda (aka a "Molly Mormon"). Even though I'm really just an average California girl who loves God and wears pants haha. Or people at work are like "oh wait she's mormon, she wouldn't want to go to a party", when in reality I might want to go, I jut wouldn't drink or smoke there. So I'm thinking that might be good. But I'm not sure if religion is an uncomfortable subject to bring up in a very liberal California community college. I already have bad anxiety talking in front of people, and the last thing I want to do is cause tension in the room or feel further judged for being a "mormon". I mean before I was mormon I was sorta anti-mormon so I'm slightly worried people will think the same way I used to.

Is using my religion a bad idea for a cultural stereotype example?

Or maybe being a Prius owner stereotype? Cars around me seem to think I'm going to drive slow but in reality I regularly break the law a Prius. Which defies the stereotype of a Prius owner.

I never really get confronted about a culture I belong to...this is difficult. Anyone want to help me out here?

Thank you ahead of time!

2 Answers

  • 7 years ago
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    to hopefully clear the waters, the web page (below) provides answer to: What Is a Stereotype?

    Feisty. Seductive. Intelligent. Used to describe individuals, the preceding adjectives pose no particular problem. Used to describe groups of people, however, these same adjectives may constitute stereotypes. What is a stereotype? Stereotypes are qualities assigned to groups of people related to their race, nationality and sexual orientation, to name a few. Because they generalize groups of people in manners that lead to discrimination and ignore the diversity within groups, stereotypes should be avoided.

    Stereotypes vs. Generalizations

    While all stereotypes are generalizations, not all generalizations are stereotypes. Stereotypes are oversimplifications of people groups widely circulated in certain societies. In the United States, for example, racial groups are linked to stereotypes such as being good at math, athletics, dancing and so forth. So well-known are these stereotypes in the U.S. that the average American likely wouldn’t hesitate if asked to identify which racial group in this country is known for excelling in basketball. In short, when one stereotypes, one repeats the cultural mythology already present in a particular society.

    On the other hand, a person can make a generalization about an ethnic group that hasn’t been perpetuated in society. Say, for instance, a woman encounters individuals from a particular ethnic group and finds them to be excellent parents. Based on her encounters with these folks, she may oversimplify and conclude that anyone from this ethnic group must be an excellent parent. In this instance, she would be guilty of generalizing, but an observer might think twice about calling her conclusion a stereotype since no group in the U.S. has the distinction of being known as excellent parents.

    Stereotypes Can Be Complicated

    While stereotypes may refer to a specific sex, race, religion or country, often they link various aspects of identity together. A stereotype about black, gay men, for example, would involve race, sex and sexual orientation. Although such a stereotype targets a specific segment of African Americans rather than blacks generally, it’s still problematic to insinuate that black, gay men are all a certain way. Too many other factors make up any one black, gay man’s identity to ascribe a set list of characteristics to him.

    Stereotypes are also complicated in that when they factor in race and sex, members of the same group may be pegged very differently. Certain stereotypes apply to Asian Americans generally, for example. But when the Asian American population is broken down by sex, one finds that stereotypes of Asian American men and Asian American women differ drastically from each other. Stereotypes involving race and gender may peg the women of a racial group as attractive and desirable and the men as the exact opposite or vice versa.

    Even stereotypes applied to a racial group become inconsistent when members of that group are broken down by national origin. A case in point is that stereotypes about black Americans differ from those about blacks from the Caribbean or blacks from African nations. Such discrepancies indicate that stereotypes make little sense and aren’t useful tools by which to judge others based on just a few aspects of their identity.

    Can Stereotypes Ever Be Good?

    Both negative and positive stereotypes exist, but even the latter do harm. That’s because all stereotypes are limiting and leave little to no room for individuality. Perhaps a child belongs to a racial group known for being highly intelligent. This particular child, however, suffers from a learning disability and struggles to keep up with his classmates in school. Because his teacher buys into the stereotype that this child is supposed to excel in class because “his people” are highly intelligent, she might assume that his poor marks are because he’s lazy and never do the investigative work needed to discover his learning disability, saving him from years of struggle in school.

    Is There Truth in Stereotypes?

    Wrapping Up detail and suggested reading links at web page

  • 7 years ago

    Given your concerns, I would definitely go with the Prius. Religion is going to cause tension whether people's views of your faith are positive or negative. We have a cultural taboo in this country around criticizing religion, and any time you can't speak freely you're going to cause anxiety for people. That's not a problem you can solve in one classroom speech, so just don't go there is my advice. And you'll be fine, the Prius idea is great.

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