The Middle East

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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a stereotype as “an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic.” Generalizations are defined as “a statement about a group of people or things that is based on only a few people or things in that group.” People make generalizations all the time. It seems to come naturally. Very rarely are these generalizations ever true. While they may apply to some people in a certain group, it rarely applies to an entire group in general. Often generalizations about people from foreign countries or the countries themselves forms a stereotype. Then, whenever you think of life in a certain country, all these stereotypes come to mind. When you think of the Middle East, what comes to mind? Do you know what its really like? Or are all the facts you “know” simply a jumble of misconceptions?
One of the most common misconceptions about the Middle East is that everyone from there is a Muslim. Although a large part of the Middle East is made up of Muslim Arabs, there are other groups in the area. People from foreign countries seem to think that Americans have no family values. This is entirely a matter of opinion. But a poll conducted by Penn Schoen Board found that 68% of Americans believe that their values have declined since 1940. But this does not mean that Americans have no family values.
When people think of the Middle East, they usually imagine a place full of inequality and very little justice. This is mostly true. There is a lot of inequality in the Middle East and there is no justice for ordinary citizens. The only way for ordinary citizens to get any justice is through “knowing the right people.” People from foreign countries seem to ...

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... think that all Americans are rich and that misconception goes both ways. Not everyone from the Middle East is rich. At least 20% of the population lives in crippling poverty. And on that same note, not all Americans are rich. While most Americans enjoy a higher standard of living, this perception does not take into account the many socioeconomic levels at which Americans live.
Because we, as humans, fear what we do not understand, we find a way to categorize behavior so that we can better understand the world around us. This being said, stereotypes will not go away as long as there is diversity between races and cultures. Therefore, we need to learn to better understand each other and learn which stereotypes are far from the truth, which ones might only apply to a few, and which ones are statistically true, but really depend on one's personal opinion and decisions.

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