Monday, October 17, 2011
FMM - Stereotyping
I've missed the last few FMM's ... things just got a bit hectic. However, I thought today's question was interesting - and a nice break from the usual posts I've been writing. A lot of my PhD thesis is actually about stereotyping -- trying to figure out what type of assumptions people have of those who are learning to speak English, and as I live in the Arab world, how my students (predominantly Kuwaiti/Muslim) are judged based on their appearance.
So, here's the question:
Have you ever been then victim of stereotyping? If so, will you elaborate? What do you wish people thought of you as they notice you for the first time.
I've definitely been judged by my appearance. Usually people can't figure out where I'm from ... and then when they hear me speak English they're surprised at my fluency. It's irritating, especially because I went to apply for a job once and they hired me ... but hesitated when they found out I wasn't American ... and then the director of the program said 'We just won't tell anyone.' It was frustrating and irritating -- and of course completely discriminatory. The unfortunate thing is that many people are still not hired based on what people assume they are capable of based on their nationality. As a Bangladeshi I get this a lot, and my parents experienced something terrible recently as well. It's a shame. We're in 2011 and still there's so much discrimination ... how sad.
As for being judged because of my weight ... well, I remember hurtful comments from my past, but for the last few years I haven't really noticed so I don't know. I'm relieved, because I don't think I could handle any more negativity around me!
I wish people would take a bit more time to get to know the person who is in front of them. However, I guess we all make some sort of assumption about others when we first meet them. It really is about being open to learning new things about others and being tolerant.