In the essay The Way We Lie, Stephanie Ericsson writes that “All the ‘isms’-racism, sexism, ageism, et al.-are founded on and fueled by the stereotype and the cliché, which are lies of exaggeration, omission, and ignorance. They are always dangerous. They take a single tree and make it a landscape.” This quote is important due to the fact that stereotypes play a major role in many aspects of our society. In American society we have a tendency to pass judgment on people just because of a pre-existing stereotype that our society has formed on particular groups over the years. American Society tends to create stereotypes because of the simplicity it adds to our lives, but stereotypes can cause us to oversimplify the characteristics of others, encourage prejudice, and can even create many more severe dangers.
Everyday we experience stereotyping in one way or another. Over the years stereotyping has become such a large part of our society that it is a vital part of our everyday communication. It has caused many of us to not really think about who a person really is, or what they are about, but to accept instead a certain stereotype that has already been created by our society and given to an individual. Stephanie Ericsson makes an excellent point in her essay when she says “they take a single tree, and make it into a landscape.” The statement she was trying to make by saying this is that many times, a stereotype is made by an individual because of something done by one particular person in a certain group, but is then given to the whole group as a result. Our society has given a stereotype to practically every form of human being out there. Some examples of this are the blond that is said to be dumb, the kid with glasse...
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...ypes. These crimes are called “hate crimes”, and are directed towards a particular individual not because of something he or she has done, but simply because of the group they belong to.
Hundreds of innocent people die each year due to a title that was created for them. Because of a stereotype that some other individual somewhere in our society created, and decided certain individuals belong, and should be hated for, innocent people in our society end up being killed. It is not fair for innocent people to die. Nor is it even fair for any individual to have to walk down the street, knowing that they are hated because of something that is beyond their control. Whether it be their skin color, hair color, appearance, or the way they walk, it can be a stereotypical characteristic that creates the risk of being judged by another individual, or perhaps even killed.
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