Sunday, November 9, 2008

SHERRY ZHANG: Prejudice and Sterotypes

1. What are some of the things people who don't know you very well tend to think about you?

I guess my colleagues may think that I’m influential and aggressive in life on getting things done just like I am in working environment…

For people who meet me the 1st time may think I’m docile and will follow whatever others says; or I’m effeminacy, needs a lot of caring and help…

2. Which of these assumptions are true?
All of the above are not true. In life, I’m pretty easygoing, often not bother to think too much or spend too much time and energy to plan things which I think is not important. I follow my feeling pretty much in life, and often show as no plan and not intelligent and capable…that might give people the feeling that I have no idea and would easily follow others.

The truth is, in my work, I would be viewed as influential and sometimes stubborn. I could be pushing to others as I can move very fast on things I know I need to get it done.

3. Which stereotypes about your country are true about you, if any?
“Time reveals a person's heart” – I like this saying. And I believe in it. I do keep long term friendship with my friends and ex-colleagues. They know me by working with me.

4. . What are situations in which you find yourself to be prejudiced?
I once thought that poor people are more sympathetic and wealthy are cruel… When I went to the school in the urban area the last year at my high school, I got chance to stay in the class with all the students whose families were in the city – and I was from a small town. I initially thought my classmates were selfish and penny-pinching “oppidans”. Indeed I experienced the most care from them as the only one that stayed in the poor dormitory of the school. I got to know that often it’s only when an individual doesn’t need to worry his/her own living, he/she would have more care to others.

I once thought that foreigners usually obey transportation rules, not like many of Chinese. Only when I saw that more and more westerns started to cross the road without pay attention to the lights, I got to know that people are influenced by the environment they are in not by their race.

Our education in many years instilled negative impression of Japanese, till I saw them in their country and worked with them together…

5. To you, what value is there in stereotypes?

In our culture, there are a lot of idioms which people may view as stereotypes. We often view many of our parents’ words are “stereotypes”… but as I’m growing up, I got to see the value from those stereotypes. There are things are accumulated from history that we have to follow.

A minor example, in Chinese saying, two parties of marriage should be “matched” to each other from their family, wealth, background…etc. It was debated and challenged for many years by people. Then you noticed many divorced people gave the reason of “personality was not matched to each other” for their divorce. Exploring back, “personality” was formed from growing history, it’s also the value that was built up along the way the person was raised up… Matching is important for a marriage.

Okay, so much for this topic – I’m not sure if I get it right to the meaning of “stereotypes” in English…

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