culture ethnics

how do you think an average american's perceptions of each group are created?

Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. If I understand your question, most people tend to "stereotype" other ethnic groups. Often it is what they see in the movies, etc. (Note: this does not make it true!)

But it's not even in movies, etc. Stereotypes have always been around.

I think part of it is a survival instinct gone wrong as well as a problem of lack of exposure. (This is just my theory and initial impression...do research to see if it holds true). But we tend to categorize people as those that seem safe and those that seem dangerous.

If we're walking down a small side street and see a guy walking towards you...he's 6'8", 350 lbs of muscle, tatoos all over him, has a leather jacket with the sleeves torn off, and he's carrying a chain, you'll tend to go the other way. At the same time, if you see a 5'2", 95 year old Asian lady on crutches, you would probably keep going.

Now, the situation could also be the exact opposite of what you're thinking. The big guy may be the nicest person in the world and have the best spot in Heaven saved for him when he gets there. The little lady may have a gun and want to take all your money.

I don't think the perceptions we have are as media influenced as we may think. I think they're more exposure influenced. If you only meet one Asian person in your life and he was rude, you may think all Asians are rude. This lack of exposure is where the media comes into play. What we get now are more images of stereotypes. And it's not necessarily the media's fault. The media is playing off a stereotype that is already there. If you're making a half hour TV Show (which is about 20 minutes of TV Time), you don't have time to really get into depth about what the character is like. You have to sell that character's personality as quickly as possible. So you almost have to go with stereotypes to make it work. The problem is when that stereotyped character often becomes what you are most exposed to.

Matt

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