Letter: Check your stereotypes
A few weeks ago I wrote a letter concerning the two lies we tell ourselves: “I’m not racist” and “I treat everyone the same.” I also wrote about the importance of treating each person as an individual rather than as a stereotype. Later, I wrote another letter with a few words about stereotypes, including the difference between positive and negative stereotypes. In this letter I want to say a few words about negative stereotypes.
As humans, we all possess negative stereotypes. We can simultaneously possess two attitudes that are mutually inconsistent but remain isolated from each other. This is called dissociation and we often are not aware of this inconsistency. One of these attitudes is reflective and the other automatic. We are usually aware of our automatic negative stereotypes and don’t publicly endorse them. We tend to reflect on them and not publicly endorse them because there often is a social price to be paid.
Unfortunately, in our current environment, the social price has become less costly. In other words, there is less social cost associated with endorsing and acting on our negative stereotypes. We don’t have to be politically correct.
It’s time to reflect on our automatic stereotypes.
— Roger Hull