Labels and stereotypes abound


MJ Reyes, Valerie Gonzalez, and Kimani Cain

Stereotypically, students sort their peers into groups based on appearances with names such as: nerd, popular, unpopular, video game geek, theater geek, and many others.

Some enjoy being considered a stereotype, but some feel hurt. The society does this because it’s the easiest and simplest thing they can do to be ignorant. Instead of actually finding time to get to know a person to the fullest, students will begin to “judge a book by it’s cover.”

“I think we label people because we try to fit in,” said Amerie Fernandez, 8th grader. “People use stereotypes to feel like they’re part of something important,” Fernandez later added.  Sometimes this could cause separations between relationships as if there was a barrier when there is actually not.

These labels often limit us and often we aren’t ourselves to blend into a group.

People tend to use stereotypes when they come across someone different. “I think labels are wrong because you can’t say something about someone without getting to know who they are,” said Jayden Hicks, 7th grader.

“These names can cause bullying, because if they don’t fit into these labels, they will be criticized,” Fernandez said.

Most of the time, these names are the root of people being hurt or being bullied. This could lead to depression and many other worse cases.

“The way we can end these labels is by seeing the real person and not basing it off of what we think,” said Gavin Leon, 8th grader. It’s important to stop these labels and their destruction of friendships because they may cause some people to feel bad about themselves.

Sure, these stereotypes have been apart of this society for many years, but it seems as if it gets worse and worse every year and more and more kids go through depression.

Studies show that 94% of students are more likely to recognize the dangers of stereotyping. Academics have long speculated over the reasons for why stereotyping exists.

Some examine it from the angle of group dynamics and group identity.  Others take a cognitive approach, claiming that it exists because people find it easier to deal with categorized information. This shows that our brain automatically likes labeling things because it’s easier to do especially in an academic environment. For example: schools.

In the 20th century, the Nazi party came to power in Germany. Their belief was that ethnic Germans were the master race (Herrenvolk), who had a duty as described above. Negative stereotypes about the Romani, Slavs, Serbs, non-whites, and particularly Jewish people in Nazi Europe lead to the Holocaust. This resulted in the deaths of over 6 million Jewish people as well as an unknown amount of other people from stereotyped groups.

Stereotypes can have a significant effect to our society. It’s important for people to be careful with the words that come out of their mouth because others can take it the wrong way. People should start looking within a person’s personality instead of judging what they see.