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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Overriding Identity / Watch the Stereotyping

by: Glenn Robinson

In sociology class I learned that when someone commits a horrendous crime that person's new identity becomes synonymous with that criminal act. No matter how that person self defined in the past - they will now have a new identity that society places on them.  


History and media together constantly contribute stereotypes to whole populations. Growing up in the U.S. I've seen enough WWII movies to where my brain is now wired to identify Germans as "those holocaust perpetrators". I know; unfair to every new innocent German baby.


Another lesson from my sociology class and from a psychology teacher is that all stereotyping is bad. I knew that applying negative stereotypes to a whole population was bad, however, not until I made a video about positive stereotypes did I realized that positive stereotyping is equally wrong. Attempting to apply positive stereotypes to a whole population is akin to saying all other people do not have that said positive quality.


I think this explains why I feel uncomfortable when I watch this video that I made. Lesson learned. Kudos to all the sociology students that participated though. 


The list of stereotyping oversimplifications (positive or negative) can go on and on. Hollywood does an "excellent" job of reinforcing stereotypes. I've also noticed stereotyping in cartoons that my daughter watches.


U.S. media is complicit in creating an Overriding Identity fallacy by calling undocumented immigrants "Illegal Aliens". U.S. media is attempting to make it vogue to hate on Hispanic Latino Mexicas because of the labels applied to them that "criminalizes" the whole group.






When a person breaks the speed limit, U.S. media will not label that person illegal. The media should not label undocumented immigrants illegal either. It's dehumanizing and has incited hatred toward Hispanic Latino Mexicas from U.S. citizens.





The "war" on drugs is another dehumanizing word choice that government and media use. There is no need for a "war" on drugs. There is a need to provide help to drug addicts.  




What Overriding Identity issues have you noticed that the media perpetuates. 



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Glenn is a European-American married to a Mexican-American. They have two children. Glenn is interested in progressive immigration reform, and desegregation within schools and communities. He is a life long learner with interests in sociology, anthropology, psychology, history and politics.
Connect to Glenn at CommunityVillage.us