Stereotyping

July 5, 2011

General Life

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I was sitting in a local coffee shop doing some work while two ladies in the adjacent table were carrying on a conversation about a mutual friend.  I couldn’t help but overhear their dialogue when one woman harshly stated, “She’s an only child so clearly she’s been spoiled.”

Her words hung in my head, fully aware this is often the stereotype for only children.

Though my little ladybug is not an only child, she will grow up as one, and it made me especially tender to this woman’s comment.  I was reminded just how damaging stereotypes can be.

It is so easy to formulate far-reaching conclusions about groups of people—to lump, label and classify others.   Sometimes the stereotypes are positive, but more often than not, they carry negative connotations.  I find it interesting how it’s almost human nature to standardize others and yet so few people enjoy being personally pingeon-holed as a result of one quality or characteristic they possess.

Each of us is unique.  We are the sum of each choice we make and a multiplicity of qualities that have never before been lived and will never again be duplicated.  This is the beauty of human life.

I don’t want people to assume that Jessie is spoiled simply because she is going to grow up without her brother.  I know there have been, and expect there will be many more times in her life where her choices reflect a selfishness (is there any child that doesn’t experience this??!), but I also know those choices are not the sum of who she is and a label of “spoiled” is most certainly destructive.

I am challenged to consider where I may be, consciously or unconsciously, negatively labeling others, even in small things, where instead of believing the best with a heart of love, acceptance and grace, I may be harmfully preserving a stereotype.

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How have you seen or experienced the harfmul impact of a sterotype?

Categories: general

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One Comment on “Stereotyping”

  1. Angie Green Says:

    You are full of wisdom and God is tenderly speaking into your life, manifesting His presence so personally to you – I praise Him for His work in you.

    In answer to your posted question, I have not only seen, but experienced being \”stereotyped\” as a woman and a \”first born\” woman to boot – -you know the comments and attitudes about how we\’re ALL \”drama queens,\” \”hormonal,\” etc. and I also have been convicted that it is harmful and hurtful to label anyone and I\’m ashamed that I have done so in the past.

    Suffering the death of our youngest son has changed my heart completely! I don\’t see life as I did before losing Kevin and for that I am thankful!

    \”Ladybug\” is not going to grow up spoiled – and as you say she is not an only child, she has a big brother who loves her even more than he loved her when he was here with her, and she is going to grow up to be a precious, faithful, loving and giving woman of God just like her Mommy!

    Love and Hugs, Angie

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