If a young girl is walking alone through a park late at night and encounters three senior citizens walking with canes and three teenage boys wearing leather jackets, it is likely that she will feel threatened by the latter and not the former. Why is this so? To start off, we have made a generalization in each case. By stereotyping, we assume that a person or group has certain characteristics. Often, these stereotypical generalizations are not accurate. We are succumbing to prejudice by ?ascribing characteristics about a person based on a stereotype, without knowledge of the total facts?1.
Usually, we have stereotypes about persons who are members of groups with which we have not had firsthand contact. We regularly make these stereotypical generalizations based on experiences we have had ourselves, seen in movies or television, read about in books and magazines, or have had related to us by family and friends. Though all these are equally significant roots for the stimulation of stereotypes, media however, is the giant force. Media propaganda is one of the main functions of society that projects stereotypical opinions or perceptions. One of the most powerful forces, propaganda in the media combined with stereotypes often act together to accomplish a homogenized and often misleading view about society and its people.
Stereotype ? a conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image about groups of people on the basis of limited information. ?Television, books, comic strips, and movies are all abundant sources of stereotyped characters?2. Sometimes what we see on a certain television show, hear from someone or read about in a particular article, we form a ...
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...). CNN.com. Online at: <http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/gen.bush.terrorism/>, consulted on March 28th, 2004.
8) ?After the Attack?The War on Terrorism? (2001). Online at: <http://www.monthlyreview.org/1101edit.htm>, consulted on March 29th, 2004.
9, 10) ?War, Propaganda and the Media? (2003). Online at: <http://www.globalissues.org/HumanRights/Media/Propaganda/Iraq.asp#SomeExamplesofPropaganda>, consulted on March 30th, 2004.
11, 12) ?Conflicted Feelings About the Capture of Saddam? (2003). Online at: <http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1223-08.htm>, consulted on March 30th, 2004.
13, 14) ?Hypocrites of America Crying Foul? (2003). Online at: <http://www.themodernreligion.com/terror/hypocrites-cryfoul.html>, consulted on March 31st, 2004.
Dictionary.com. Online at: <http://dictionary.reference.com/>, consulted on March 30th, 2004.
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