What is a Stereotype?

A fixed, commonly held notion or image of a person or group, based on an oversimplification of some observed or imagined trait of behaviour or appearance. Stereotypes are as old as human culture itself. They reflect ideas that groups of people hold about others who are different from them.

A stereotype can be embedded in single word or phrase (such as, “jock” or “nerd”), an image, or a combination of words and images. The image evoked is easily recognized and understood by others who share the same views.

Stereotypes can be either positive (“black men are good at basketball”) or negative (“women are bad drivers”). But most stereotypes tend to make us feel superior in some way to the person or group being stereotyped. Stereotypes ignore the uniqueness of individuals by painting all members of a group with the same brush.

Stereotypes can appear in the media because of the biases of writers, directors, producers, reporters and editors. But stereotypes can also be useful to the media because they provide a quick identity for a person or group that is easily recognized by an audience. When deadlines loom, it’s sometimes faster and easier to use a stereotype to characterize a person or situation, than it is to provide a more complex explanation.

Given below are some hilarious examples of ‘stereotypes’ , all in a lighter vein  :

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Pakistan and suicide bombers may not seem the most likely comic fodder for a vice-regal function, but that didn’t stop Lt.Gov. John Crosbie (of Newfoundland and Labrador).

The Queen’s representative in Newfoundland and Labrador, a notoriously quotable former Tory warhorse, apologized  for a joke he made while swearing in cabinet ministers, if that offended anyone.

It went like this: “This fellow said, ‘I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etc., I called a suicide hotline and got a call centre in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.’ ”

Crosbie got boisterous laughs from the roomful of Progressive Conservative government members at the time.

“Everyone seemed to appreciate the jokes and have a laugh because that’s what they were — jokes,” he said in an interview. “You can either bore an audience to death, or I try to say something that will keep them listening. These were jokes to do with… the desperate economic situation the world now faces, particularly in the United States. However, if some are offended, then I would apologize to those offended. They’re not racist jokes or anything else, in my opinion.”

“But it is a fact, of course, that they’ve had a lot of difficulty in Pakistan. They’re right next door to Afghanistan and the rest of it. But the joke had nothing racist about Pakistan in it. At least, I didn’t think so. When I am no longer lieutenant-governor, I intend to speak my mind on any issues I wish, but at the present time, I have to be circumspect. You don’t want to be offending people if they’re that sensitive.” — The Canadian Press , 11/4/2011

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A Chinese decides to retire and move to Australia after 50 years of living in Shanghai.

He bought a small piece of land. A few days after moving in, the friendly Aussie neighbour decides to go across and welcome the new guy to the region. He goes next door but on his way up the drive-way he sees the Chinaman running around his front yard chasing about 10 hens. Not wanting to interrupt the Chinese thinking that these are some ‘Chinese customs’, he decides to put the welcome on hold for the day.

The next day, he decides to try again, but just as he is about to knock on the front door, he looks through the window and sees the Chinese urinate into a glass and then drink it. Not wanting to interrupt another ‘Chinese custom’, he decides to put the welcome on hold for yet another day.

A day later he decides to give it one last go, but on his way next door, he sees the Chinese leading a bull down the drive-way,…pause…., and then put his left ear next to the bull’s butt.

The Aussie bloke couldn’t handle this, so he goes up to the Chinese and says, ‘Jeez mate, what the hell is it with your Chinese customs?  I come over to welcome you to the neighbourhood, and see you running around the yard after hens.  The next day you are pissing in a glass and drinking it, and then today you have your head so close to that bull’s butt, it could just about shit on you.’

The Chinese is very taken back and says, ‘Sorry sir, you no understand, these no Chinese customs I doing…these true Australian customs.’

‘What do you mean mate’, says the Aussie, ‘Those aren’t Australian customs.’

Yes they are, man at travel agent tell me’ replied the Chinese , ‘He say to become true Australian, I must learn to….. chase chicks,….. get piss drunk, and …. listen to bull-shit.’

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Paddy and Mick are walking down a street in London .

Paddy happens to look in one of the shop windows and sees a sign that catches his eye.

The sign said: “Suits £5.00 each, Shirts £2.00 each, Trousers £2.50 per pair”.

Paddy says to his pal, “Mick, look! We could buy a whole lot of dose, and when we get back to Ireland we could make a fortune.

Now when we go into the shop, you be quiet, OK? Just let me do all the talking, cause if they hear our accent, they might not be nice to us. I’ll speak in my best English accent.”

“Roight y’are, Paddy, I’ll keep me mouth shut, so I will,” replies Mick.

They go in and Paddy says, “I’ll take 50 suits at £5.00 each, 100 shirts at £2.00 each and 50 pairs of trousers at £2.50 each. I’ll back up my van and…”

The owner of the shop interrupts. “You’re from Ireland , aren’t you?”

“Well… yes,” says a surprised Paddy. “How der hell d’ y’ know dat?”

The owner replied, “This is a dry cleaners shop”.

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