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Harmful Impacts of Stereotyping

Stereotypes are well known simplified representation of a specific group referring to race, sex and other demographics. They are harmful of course but to what end is impactful. Can it prevent gaining employment, damage quality of life or encourage harmful act such as violence and discrimination. Or is it more casual making it more obvious at the same less harmful as it does affect employment status and overall quality of life. Another question I hope to answer is of course the reasoning behind stereotypes and why most humans have an expectation about the nature of another human being without communicating with them. This is odd as human are the only species to do this as we are 99.998 the same and the 0.0012% percent mainly decides your sex, race and other physical characteristics. I will try to analysis the stereotypes of a specific race to understand how stereotypes are formed and how they influence the lives of that race. To be relevant I picked one that is currently displayed by the news and that is Mexican Hispanic and there three stereotypes that they are lazy or unintelligent, that they are illegal aliens / job stealers and that they are “cholo”.

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Mexicans have many negative stereotypes that influence our perspective on them the most ironic one being that they are lazy or and unintelligent. This is mainly due to that Hispanic are seen to have only blue-collar jobs and that they are “intelligent” enough to hold other forms of employment. This is combined with the fact that Mexican Hispanic student who are within lower income families tend to attend school that are dangerous and overcrowded and it is due to this that Latinos have a lower graduation rate compared to white students. Hence without a decent education Mexican and Hispanics alike have problem getting white collar jobs. This stereotype was proven wrong and that by andren J, fuligini as the research shows that Mexican children have more motivation as their culture values academics a lot higher than white students. This drive/ motivation comes from their desire to support their families and respect the opportunities given to them. Moving on another extension of the lazy stereotype is that adult do not learn English to a competent level due to unwillingness to learn. However, the primary reason for this is that it is hard to learn a new language as an adult.  Combine with the fact that there is no time to practice where financially supporting and spending time with the family takes a large portion of their time.

Job stealing is one of the most common stereotypes as people think that it is affecting their livelihoods and this of course not true as automation is more impactful than immigrates in decline in the job market. However, jobs are still being lost and the blame is going to immigrates as it is easier to shift the blame upon. This was proven false in William Macready paper to understand the labor market in relation of competition between black, Hispanic and non-Hispanic. There was no evidence founded on Hispanic and there was a negative impact on the earning on the other racial groups. This was because Mexican usually take up blue collar jobs which are jobs that are not wanted by the other racial demographics. These are low pay back breaking work with very few benefits such as health insurance and sick days. There is Nothing wrong with these forms of employment however they are seen as lower cognitive jobs that force the idea that low cognitive individuals take these jobs.

One very common stereotype of Hispanic people especially males is that they are a part of a criminal organization or gangs where each member is seen as cholo. It is attached to the idea that Hispanic are lower class who live in dangerous neighborhoods which is where that term can from as Chicago gang culture. They have been defined by rebellious street culture, certain slag, style of clothing and certain hand action. The term cholo has negative connotation and hence is to be imposed on a group as an insult rather a term to characterize a group of people. This brings more confusing as the original term is used to describe oneself as part of the street culture however over time it used as an insult for criminal. We all see this in the media as Hispanic are shown to be gangster and criminals. These ideas and expectation are what cause racial instances with the police as it creates an opportunity for the police to be fearful of these ethnic groups causing rash reaction to certain scenarios.

Now this leads to the question on how this effects the Hispanics society. To start off youth will have hardship in creating a positive school identity due to the harmful stereotypes regarding their race. These stereotypes have been proven to have a negative affect on academic performance due to a lack of motivation and curiosity as you are deemed not to have the cognitive ability to perform well. The next reason is mental instability as it has been shown by a study written by suarez-orozco who stated that perceived idea if who Hispanic are creates a feeling of helplessness. This is due to the thought you cannot change your economic or social status due to race making them feel especially hopeless.

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In conclusion stereotypes are harmful in our society, they prevent individuals from attempting great feats. We have seen that stereotypes effect academic performance, mental instability and effect the one’s ability to receive a job. Stereotypes become more than just insults or even comment. They become how an individual think acts and overall function as a human. We are forced to answer these questions on how and why this happens. There is no answer apart for fear and stereotypes are a form of rationalizing that fear. This was done in the early example of the automation taking jobs away. This comes together in the end where we consider the fact that we all have these thought and expectation about people as a way understanding them since we fear what we don’t know. This is very well known however people do different things with this fear leading to extreme effect of the Hispanic and other ethnic monitories groups. Ending with the thought should we justify our action just because of fear and ignorance.


  • Welch, Kelly. “The Typification of Hispanics as Criminals and Support for Punitive Crime Control Policies”. Electra. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  • Mastro, Dana E.; Behm-Morawitz, Elizabeth (March 2005). “Latino Representation on Primetime Television”. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 82 (1): 111.
  • Macrae, C. Neil; Milne, Alan B.; Bodenhausen, Galen V. (1994-01-01). “Stereotypes as energy-saving devices: A peek inside the cognitive toolbox”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 66 (1): 37–47. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.66.1.37. ISSN 1939-1315.


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