Although the stereotyping of individuals into particular categories can sometimes have adverse effects, it is also sometimes necessary. Humans are not great at remembering specifics, details, or raw data. However we are extremely good at generalizing, simplifying and abridging. The problem with this process is that it is deductive and therefore not completely accurate, even though there may be some underlying truths. For example, do certain nationalities tend to do the same type of jobs?
Are the majority of taxi drivers from Pakistan or India?
Are a lot of cops or bar owners Irish?
Do Polish people tend to work primarily in the building trade?
Do a lot of people from the Philippines tend to work as nurses?
Now, the problem here is that some of these points may be the general consensus even though in reality they may not be true. In this case the stereotype may be bordering on racism. If you agree with some of the points above then you are probably racist on some level. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at this implicit association test developed by the geniuses over at Harvard.
You might not like what you see. But I believe it is a step forward in the world of the “politically correct.”
This is a guest post by Chris O’ Hara.