After reading the article Stereotypes as Energy-Saving Devices: A Peek Inside the Cognitive Toolbox, I have thought a lot about how stereotypes are formed. According to the article we stereotype automatically without being conscious of what we are doing. It makes sense that we put people into certain schema’s, we do it with everything else however it is much more problematic to stereotype or put people into a schema than it is for us to look at a desk chair and a couch and say they are both seats.
It’s not anyone’s fault that we stereotype or put people into boxes, we evolved to be that way, however it is our responsibility to actively look in these boxes and perhaps rearrange our ideas about the individuals in the group as well as the group as a whole.I think that one of the best ways to ensure that we do not put a person or group of people into a box and leave them there forever is by meeting and befriending people who are different than you are in some way. I find for myself that when I know a person who is different than me in some way I learn to be accepting of not just them but other people who are also like them.
I also think that it is important to have experiences that are out of the ordinary for you. In multicultural psych one of the assignments we had was to go to a place where you would be in the minority. Some people went to a religious center that was different than their own. I went to Stonewall where I was one of the only straight people. It was so interesting to be in the minority when I am usually in the majority and I believe it helped me understand at least a little more what it’s like to be a minority among white, straight people.