As a society, we tend to stereotype. Whether our presumption is right or wrong, some common stereotypes are still accepted as truth no matter how much evidence there is proving another point of view. Three common stereotypes I see are those that involve abused women, Blacks and their love of fried chicken and the ability of older people learning foreign languages. Many of these stereotypes are reinforced by cultures and what is commonly seen within their culture. These stereotypes can have a long lasting effect on the people that are judged by the stereotype and a long lasting effect on the perception of those people.
When most people think about an abused woman, many see the woman with a black eye not realizing that abuse is more than physical. Verbal and mental abuse are also used to control the victim. In many cases, physical abuse is the latter and verbal and mental abuse is the first type introduced. Although there are many shelters and agencies available to abused women, many believe that these women are too afraid to leave the relationship and are blamed for any further abuse they suffer because they didn’t leave or call the police. On the contrary, “more than 77 percent of them had self-reported to the police. (Barrett, B. , Nov 2011).
In the cases when the women have children, many think that they stay because they do not have the means to provide for their family if they leave the home. Based on a handbook by the Santa Clara Probation department, “victims of domestic violence leave their abuser seven times on average before they are able to stay on their own” (Prophet, T. , 2006). Many of the abused women are presumed as weak and people in general, do not want to assist a weak person because they will more than likely go back to the situation they were just helped out of.
There are many shelters available but the funding needed is scarce due to the previous mentioned fear. The second common stereotype is that all Black people like fried chicken. I was taught in school that any statement that expresses that “all” of anything is definitely a false statement. This stereotype was started a long time ago, and is probably associated with situations related to slavery. “The most obvious explanation derives from the historical fact that fried chicken dishes were popular in slave homes on Southern plantations.
In many cases, chickens were the only livestock animals that slaves were permitted to raise on their own” (Bering, J. (2011). This just proves that the reason fried chicken is associated with African Americans is not because they enjoy the food so much but it was the only choice they had when it came to what was availbe to them. The other reason there is such a negative connotation associated with fried chicken is because the slavery era itself was not a good time for African Americans (Bering, J. 2011).
As an unhealthy and inexpensive food, fried chicken invokes images of poverty, ignorance, sloth, and other racist associations” (Bering, J. 2011). Not only is the mention of fried chicken and African Americans considered negative, it has also been viewed as racist. Advertisers seem to gear their commercials towards the African American community when advertising for fried chicken. Mary J. Blige received a lot of flack for being in a Burger King commercial advertising their New Crispy Strips Tortilla Wraps. The commercial was eventually pulled from rotation due to the backlash received.
Other high profile individuals have also been targeted by the chicken industry, including President Obama. Although it’s no secret that these people do enjoy fried chicken, associating these people with the food generated a negative or racial tone. There is nothing wrong with these people liking fried chicken, as there are many other racial groups that also enjoy this cuisine. The third common stereotype would be the idea that older adults will have a harder time learning foreign languages when compared to younger children.
One of the reasons for this stereotype can be attributed to the older adult and the teacher, they have doubts about their ability to learn a foreign language. Although most people have accepted the generalization of learning as “the younger the better” (Schleppegrell, M. , 1987), this is not the case when it comes to learning language. There have been studies that have determined that aging does not decline a person’s learning ability. The way older adults learn a new skill is the only adjustments that need to be made. These studies also show that older adults learn at a more rapid rate than children (Krashen, Long, and Scarcella, 1979).
There are two reasons why being a poor language learner is attributed to adults, and those are “a theory of the brain and how it matures, and classroom practices that discriminate against the older learner” (Schleppegrell, M. , 1987). The “critical period” hypothesis that was put forth in the 1960’s was based on then-current theories of brain development, and argued that the brain lost “cerebral plasticity” after puberty, making second language acquisition more difficult as an adult than as a child (Lenneberg, 1967). Due to advances in the study of neurology, it has been determined that adults have superior language learning capabilities.
These studies and facts should dispel any accepted stereotypes related to older adults and their ability to learn foreign languages. One thing that is common amongst all of these stereotypes is that the “victim” has accepted these stereotypes to be true and doesn’t challenge any of the information that would affirm or deny such claims. This could also be the first step into getting some of these stereotypes removed from our culture so that people are able to benefit positively and not have to worry about any negative impacts from doing activities that are natural.