Stereotypes exist because group generalizations are based on fact

Judge individuals, not groups, but --

 All the following generalizations are true:

  • Italians are more emotionally demonstrative, boisterous, than the English.
  • In running-competition, Blacks win nearly everything, Whites win a little, and Asians win almost nothing.
  • White males go bald more frequently than men of other races.
  • The Islamic world, once a center of scientific learning, is currently resistant to modernity.
  • American Jews and African Americans are the only remaining ethnic voting blocs, defined as more than 80% voting for one party.
  • Blond, white-skinned Scandinavians have not contributed much to Western civilizations.
  • Blacks have not been as successful as other ethnic groups to develop and succeed in small business.
  • The skin of Blacks and of Asians wrinkles less that the skin of Whites.

Of course, not all Italians are boisterous . . . Not every Black can run fast . . . Some pretty important scientists and writers have come from Scandinavia. . . Detroit, alone, has successful Black entrepreneurs. . . . Some Whites grow old without their skin wrinkling . . . There are conservative Blacks and Republican Jews.

One is justified in deriding bigots and opposing haters who pretend to believe that a stereotype applies to every individual in the group about which the generalization is made. But it must be a fear of being labeled politically incorrect to deny that stereotypes are generally valid, because they are for the most part factual. The fact that I am an only child does not invalidate the generalization that most Catholic Italian families have more children than most WASP families. 

True, an individual Black, White, Korean may be a doctor/lawyer/minister/cop/criminal/chemist/musician/mathematician. Yet, although not everyone who drives a Harley and wears a black leather jacket is a member of Hell's Angels, it is understandable and not discriminatory when a neighborhood -- Asian, Black, or White -- pays more than casual attention if someone in a black leather jacket drives a Harley down their generally quiet street. Then, treats him as an individual.

I had occasion several years ago in another context to write:

For no thoughtful reason that I can think of -- except perhaps that many turn-of-the-century Catholic immigrants came to resent what they perceived as Irish domination of American Catholicism -- my strongest ethnic dislike is of the Irish. But I never meet "the Irish." I meet and interact with individual Irishmen, whom I come to like or dislike, to respect or not, depending on their individual behavior. 

I believe most people are able to make that distinction between the one and the many.

Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kenneth E. Reynolds January 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM
As an advocate for diversity I salute you on this article.
Col. Duke Lacrosse January 26, 2013 at 10:42 PM
The braindead liberal zombies will not like this article, because it was drilled into their heads at university that "all stereotypes are bad." Having washed the liberal filth out of my brain, I see this as a good, though-provoking post.


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