Saturday, November 1, 2008

PETER WARING - Prejudice and Stereotypes

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

A tricky question since I also don’t know the people who don’t know me very well. I guess though some people might view me as being a little serious and reflective – perhaps even a little ‘anal’? Some may even think I’m conservative? People who know me better know that I have a broad and occasionally bizarre sense of humour and a left-leaning, liberal political orientation.

2. Which of these assumptions are true?

Certainly not the assumption that I am conservative. I can be quite serious and reflective though and sometimes I do need to remind myself to temper idealism with realism and not to get too ‘worked-up’ over the things that get me angry – prejudice, anti-intellectualism, narrow thinking…

3. Which stereotypes about your country are true about you, if any?

Australians are typically seen to be free and easy people with a laconic style and friendly disposition. We’re known for being intolerant of ‘bull-shit’ and those who seek to assert their superior social status. I guess this description is generally true of me also though I tend to be less laconic and perhaps not as ‘free and easy’ as other Aussies. I also wrestle less crocodiles then my fellow Australians and have only once ridden on the back of a Kangaroo!

4. What are situations in which you find yourself to be prejudiced?

Ditto Bob’s comments on ‘right-wing’ nutjobs. I also find myself prejudiced against those with narrow views but who also fail to read or attempt to broaden their understanding of any important issue but rather cling to ill-conceived, self-interested and anachronistic ideology.

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

Only in reminding us that the basis of prejudice is often founded on a gross perceptual error. To take someone’s skin-colour, gender or sexual orientation and link this to certain negative behaviours or characteristics is plainly stupid.

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