While stereotypes may refer to a specific sex, race, religion or country, often they link various aspects of identity together. A stereotype about black gay men, for example, would involve race, sex and sexual orientation.Although such a stereotype targets a specific segment of African Americans rather than blacks generally, it’s still problematic to insinuate that black gay men are all a certain way.These stereotypes are so well-known that the average American wouldn’t hesitate if asked to identify which racial group in this country has a reputation for excelling in basketball.

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Such discrepancies indicate that stereotypes make little sense and aren’t useful tools by which to judge others.

Both negative and positive stereotypes exist, but even the latter do harm.

On the other hand, a person can make a generalization about an ethnic group that hasn’t been perpetuated in society.

Say a woman encounters individuals from a particular ethnic group and finds them to be excellent cooks.

Those who spread stereotypes ignore social factors and make links between groups of people and certain skills, activities or behaviors where none inherently exist. More than likely you’d disagree that all of the qualities commonly attributed to those of your gender, racial group, sexual orientation or nation of origin describe you.

The next time you’re tempted to stereotype a group of people, think about the groups to which you belong. That’s why it’s important to judge specific individuals rather than the groups of which they’re part.It’s oft said that stereotypes are rooted in truth, but is this a valid statement?People who make this argument often want to justify their use of stereotypes. The fact is, science doesn’t back up these kinds of assertions.Stereotypes are widely circulated oversimplifications of people groups.In the United States, racial groups have been linked to stereotypes such as being good at math, athletics and dancing.This particular child, however, suffers from a learning disability and struggles to keep up with his classmates in school.