Society’s Stereotypes Are Affecting the Way We Think

We as individuals, whether we would like to believe it or not, are constantly influenced by everything we see and hear in our everyday lives.

Social media, TV/ radio advertisements, friends and family, all of these things are factors that construct the way we think about the world, others and even ourselves.

Society has drilled into our minds of what is considered socially acceptable and what is not. Racial, gender and even sexual stereotypes are what have resulted from this.

Dimond High School is known for being a pretty diverse school, but does the constant pressure from society’s beliefs affect the way we judge and treat others?

Tyiana Washington, a senior at Dimond High, said, “People think I can fight because I’m black. They think I can play basketball and that I run really fast. I can play basketball and I can run and I depend on myself, but I do not do that because I’m black but because that is just how I am.”

Dimond High Senior Tava Fereti said, ¨People assume, because I am Polynesian, that we are all related. As if all Samoan people here are related. Even some Polynesian people assume that because they think Dimond is a ´white school´ that I don´t understand Samoan.

¨Some people look at me and think I’m black because of my skin and my hair. And then I have other people look at me and say ‘Yeah, you’re Poly.’ Like, what if I was black and not Polynesian?”

I believe that the first thought you have about someone, or something, is what you were taught. Your second thought is what defines the kind of person you are.

The world has been ruined with its made-up roles for genders and unrealistic beauty standards, and people of all ages are affected. Women are advertised to be thin, hairless and overall perfect. Young men are taught to be aggressive and to mask their true emotions because doing so shows vulnerability and weakness. These standards tear people down and make people feel insecure about themselves.

Living in a world where we are expected to act, eat and speak a certain way to be considered normal, it is ironic to be advised to “just be yourself.” Being comfortable in the skin you are in and being content with who you are should not feel like an obstacle or a burden.

Dimond High Senior Aloisa Tomas said, ¨When I first moved to the United States, I felt discriminated because I could not speak English very well and I ate different food from other people.

¨Even if they were the same culture as me, they were raised the American way. So instead of eating my normal food and loving my culture, I started hating it more, like I grew distant from it because of society.¨

Now, not all stereotypes are bad and degrading, there are quite a few that some may consider flattering or uplifting.

Tomas explained how certain memes, or funny pictures, about her Filipino culture were amusing to her.

She said, “Like how they say Asians eat a lot of rice. I find those very funny because it is true.”

Sayings like “You throw like a girl” or “That’s a man’s job” are examples of gender stereotypes that affect and sometimes may even hold people back from trying to achieve their goals.

People should not let the roles of society affect the way they choose to live their lives. Instead of putting another person down for being different we should encourage them.

The world would be dull and boring if everyone was interested in the same things. People should embrace their differences and help others to do so as well.

Whether someone looks, acts or speaks differently than you. Whether they are Christian, Muslim or Catholic. No one should have to feel alone because of the things that make them who they are.