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Stereotypes

Dominic Lasorsa


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Stereotypes are gross generalizations about people. A stereotype is a category-based cognitive response whose affective counterpart is prejudice and whose behavioral counterpart is discrimination. By judging others not on knowledge of their individual complexities but on their inclusion in an outgroup, stereotyping is categorical thinking that can engender racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other types of intolerance. Journalist Walter Lippmann coined the term, which he took from the “hot type” printing process prevalent at newspapers of his day. A stereotype is a plate constructed by making a mold of a printing surface and from that a cast in metal type. The stereotype enabled a newspaper to reproduce quickly and inexpensively many copies of a message. Lippmann regarded it as an apt name for his concept of a cognition that conforms to a fixed or general pattern and whose reproduction is easy. Lippmann said that to form an accurate picture of reality is a hopeless task because the real environment is altogether too big, too complex, and too fleeting for direct acquaintance. Instead, mass media present us with a simplified reconstruction of the world with which we can live ( Lippmann 1922 ). Stereotypes occur in a variety of environmental contexts, including social roles (e.g., gender), group conflicts (e.g., ideology), and power. Since the powerful pay less attention to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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