Stereotyping Works?! GRE issue essay–>part lost count

11 May

“The way people look, dress, and act reveals their attitudes and interests. You can tell much about a society’s ideas and values by observing the appearance and behavior of its people.”

The question of whether or not it is appropriate and successful to confer a person’s inner ideas and values through glancing at their clothes or noticing their public actions is a very relevant one.   Implying we can note everything about a person within minutes of meeting them is somewhat problematic for any marginalized population.  An unfinished thought–why?  Because people may  jump to the wrong conclusions without analyzing an abundance of information, that view is sometimes criticized.  Sure, inferring information through quick, superficial means, is not one hundred percent accurate, but it does do justice to the subject’s internal motivations a good majority of the time.  Though looking at only the most surface aspects of people can lead to incorrect assumptions, I believe in the other side of this argument:  Superficial stereotypes do indeed belie much of society’s ideas and values.

Firstly, I agree with the latter opinion, because I see how pervasive media influence is in society.  Probably the biggest succesful example of how we are able to look at simple things and glean good internal information is the way media conveys what the United States is all about.  The media is like a mirror that reflects back what a population wants to see.  Good sentence.  If television, news, and advertising did not present images that the majority of the population did not find acceptable it would not last very long financially.  Awkwardly written b/c it’s the neg–make more readable in pos form ie media presents what we wanna see, because its funding depends on viewer-ship.  [Because the media has to depend on money, it shows society what society wants to look at.  This is the most dramatic example of gleaning information through superficial means.  redundant]  America is beginning to embrace a more environmental outlook, and it can be seen in many media forms.  We have “green” information commercials on NBC, one of the largest broadcasting corporations, and the auto manufacturers are making energy efficient cars.  come up w/better exp–or at least tie these 2 together better.  It is no accident that media portrays a larger, more superficial image of our country’s belief systems.

Secondly, good transition/listing words this time.  I think the statement that people are capable of seeing how a person will be based on looks and mannerisms, because we have to depend on this method frequently.  Job interviews, for example rely almost entirely on snippets of a person’s attire, conversation skills, and attitudes.  A person that goes into an interview with unwashed hair and ripped jeans may not care about their physical appearance.  It would more than likely correct to assume they were not well-suited for a job selling apparel.  Sometimes we have to depend on more external features of a person to get a feel for their motivations and ethics.

Finally, concluding a person’s internal motivations by seeing their outside traits is appropriate because as much as we do not like to admit it, this is a natural behavior for people.  In cave man days, we had to quickly ascertain if animals or other people were a threat for our own survival.  As such we evolved to be able to perceive face shapes, body language, and other superficial qualities and process them as good or bad.  Expand by saying full, round faces are seen as non-threatening, or palms up = friendly vs quick hand motions = aggressive.  Because we have held on to this trait, it is still widely employed, and successful.  As humans, we want to categorize things quickly, so looking and sensing superficial aspects about a person to quickly interpret their ideas and values is natural. Again, a redundant point.

It is difficult to admit that much of what we see upon first meeting someone can translate to their deeper feelings and attitudes.  This method of perceiving is not politically correct, nor is it something we want to admit to employing. Not only does everyone wants to feel like a unique individual, but the assumptions can be detrimental to minority populations as it relies on stereotypes and dehumanizes them.  When we do not see humanity as a group of individuals and treat them as such, it can give way to prejudice and negative consequences.  Yes, it is natural to us to categorize people according to mostly ture assumptions based on surface facts, but we should try get to know every person instead.

3:00 PM

brainstorm til 3:09 PM

intro and conclusion til 3:25 PM

3:46 finished–NO TIME FOR EDITING, sigh. . .

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