Sunday, October 26, 2008

ANDREAS EKSTROM: Prejudice and Stereotypes

1-2 What are some of the things people who don't know you very well tend to think about you? Which of these assumptions are true?
I don't drink alcohol, because I don't like the taste of it. It breaks through, in beer, in wine, in liquor and in cocktails. So I don't drink it. (I don't like celery either, but noone has ever put much effort in trying to get me to eat celery...) People tend to think I am a control freak because of that. It's true that I am, to an extent – but it has little or nothing to do with me not liking a particular taste. (How much control do you lose over two glasses of wine to dinner? That is not the issue.) People also think I don't mind conflicts, since I am confident and express myself well. But I do, boy do I ever.

3. Which stereotypes about your country are true about you, if any?
Swedes are dull. I am not. Swedish food is bland. I don't cook bland food. But Swedes are also said to be morally liberal, democratic, non-corrupt, a little envious by nature, tall and fair skinned. Yep, that's me.

4. What are situations in which you find yourself to be prejudiced?
I am generally quick. Quick to analyze, quick to categorize, quick to understand. Sometimes I rush it. I always have to make sure I re-evaluate often. And I try to put very little pride in being right – that does make it easier to change one's mind...

5. To you, what value is there in stereotypes?
A stereotype is often based on a foundational truth – that might not be true all the time, or with all people. I might make use of it in some sort of simplified context, to understand the first little bit of what there is to understand. And that's ok, as long as I am aware of what is what.

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