There’s a lot of sayings about stereotypes and making a good impression. You’ve probably heard a lot of the sayings.
Once you label me you negate me.
― Søren Kierkegaard
Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.
― Margaret Mead
“People were clueless. All they ever went by was appearance and rumor.”
― Jay Bell, Kamikaze Boys
People stereotype because it’s easy. Being able to put someone else into a category by the way they talk, dress, or look allows the person stereotyping to put them into a box.
It’s so easy, everyone does it. Even if we don’t want to admit to doing so.
And therein lies the trouble.
We begin to judge and classify people without giving them a chance to show who they are. We see them act different or dress oddly and we begin to form theories about them.
You see the girl with the dragon tattoo and you begin to assume she’s seeking attention.
You see the man who dresses in band t-shirts and blue jeans and you wonder if he knows what it’s like to dress properly.
You see the woman who pierced her nose and you label her as easy.
Each of those are assumptions I’ve heard people say about others. I’ve heard them said about me. I’ve thought them about others.
That’s the ironic thing about assumptions. We don’t want people to assume things about us yet we’re more than willing to assume and stereotype when we see others.
Not only is it ironic, it’s also dangerous when we begin to assume things about another person.
When we take hold of our preconceived ideas about others, we limit what they can do in our lives.
Did you know the girl with the dragon tattoo that you thought was seeking attention got the tattoo because she liked dragons and thought it would be a beautiful piece of art on her body? Even more, she’s a skilled speaker who can deliver a presentation like no one else can.
Did you know the man who dresses in band t-shirts and jeans has the ability to connect with others? He can approach a stranger on the street and before you know it, he knows his life story and helping him overcome a struggle in life.
Did you know the woman with the pierced nose had a degree in biochemistry and has been married for 10 years? She’s smart and committed.
Everyone is special. Everyone has unique talents. Everyone is valuable.
We can’t keep judging others because of how they look or act. Doing so will hinder your ability to meet awesome people and hire great talent.
The next time you begin to judge someone, remember stereotyping is dangerous. Block the thoughts as they enter your mind and give these people a chance.
You’ll be surprised at what you find buried beneath the exterior.