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Rant of The Week - Stereotyping (06/04/0

By tcavadias Staff ·
They say the third time is the charm, so here we are again for the third week in a row of listening to me rant, whine, stomp my little foot and once again give my feeble opinion (as little as that might be) :-)

Stereotyping... What exactly is "Stereotyping"? Wikipedia states:

"A stereotype is a simplified and/or standardized conception or image with specific meaning, often held in common by people about another group. A stereotype can be a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image, based on the assumption that there are attributes that members of the other group hold in common. Stereotypes are sometimes formed by a previous illusory correlation, a false association between two variables that are loosely if at all correlated. Stereotypes may be positive or negative in tone. They are typically generalizations based on minimal or limited knowledge about a group to which the person doing the stereotyping does not belong. Persons may be grouped based on racial group, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age or any number of other categories."

I'm sure each of you at one time or another have found yourself being negatively stereotyped. Or at the very least knows someone who has been one time or another. This can leave you feeling unfairly judged, as the person doing it is making an assumption (and we all know what it means when one "assumes")

Whether it's because of your sex, race, the clothes you wear, how you style your hair (or the color of your hair), where you come from, the accent you have, etc... You find yourself on the end of being stereotyped. Sometimes though, you are the person who is doing the stereotyping. I myself have been found guilty of doing just such.

While there are positive stereotypes, this rant is based on the negatives associated with stereotyping folks whom you have no knowledge of whats so ever.

You see the guy riding his Harley all tattooed out, wearing leather and folks think - he must be a hell raiser. You see the teen-ager with the spiked hair with piercings covering their body and folks think - he's a druggie going no where in life. You see the homeless person on the street and folks think - drugs or alcohol got him where he's at. You see the lady walking down the street in a little short skirt and folks think - she's easy.

That Harley rider could be a brain surgeon who never drinks/parties, helps out everyone, got the tattoos because he likes them and wears the leather for safety. That teen-ager could be the nicest, kindest person who is extremely responsible and uses the spiked hair and piercings for nothing more than expressing himself. That homeless person could be someone who lost their job through no fault of their own and is just trying to get back on their feet. That lady walking down the street may have just lost 100 pounds and just wants to show it off.

Now these are just small examples. There are others. Without knowing all the facts we base the picture on a whole - lumping everyone into a single imagine we have formed over the years.

I found myself at the end of just such negative stereotyping recently. The assumption was based on the fact I'm female. Not just any female, but a blond female (and we've heard all the blond jokes, but trust me, some of us do have brains).

Any way onto my story and rant...

My sound card on my computer finally went to see the big sound card in the sky. Not wanting to miss listening to TROLOV, I went out to Best Buy to buy me a new one. While browsing the different varieties and trying to decide which one I prefered, a salesman walked over to me.

"Ma'am, can I help you?"

Yes, I'm trying to decide which sound card will work best for my needs. I mainly listen to music, podcasts and occasionally play games. My old sound card was a Sound Blaster Audigy 2. I'm leaning toward the Sound Blaster X-fi Titanium.

"Ma'am, is your husband here?"

My husband? Yes, he's on the other side of the store. Why?

"How about if we go and get him?"

Ok.. (so I walk away and get my husband and bring him back)

Here's my husband. Now can you tell me more about the Sound Blaster X-fi Titanium?

Now this is the point I get ticked, this man turns to my husband ignoring me completely and asks, "What kind of system do you have, what is the main purpose you use this computer for, and how much do you want to spend?"

At which point my husband looks the man squarely in the eyes and goes, "What are you asking me for? She's the one who fixes all the computers in the house, she's the one who set up our networking system and besides that she's the one who handles the money. Ask her, I know nothing about computers except how to check email."

Now the guy turns back to me red-faced and asks, "Ma'am, how can I help you?"

At which I responded - You can't. And walked away.

Now while the above is minor, this gentleman made the assumption that as a female I would not know anything about computers and would need the assistance of my husband. If I needed my husband's assistance, I would have asked my husband to begin with and not asked for the opinion of someone who works in the store.

This isn't the first time I've encountered such assumptions. I also have encountered them when I need car repairs or heaven forbid I just need the part. If, my husband goes in, no problem, I go in and I get asked 15 million questions.

It infuriates me to no end when someone makes an assumption without knowledge of who I am. The customer service gentleman could have easily just asked me some questions before forming his opinion. This would have given him the knowledge that he needed to know if I at least somewhat knew something about computers.

So have you ever found yourself at the end of negative stereotyping? If so, what was it and how did you handle it?

Do you think its fair for folks to be placed in labels or certain groups as a whole? What can we do to stop the negativity this can cause?

-Tammy :-)

PS: I ended up buying the Sound Blaster X-fi Xtreme Gamer as for me I found it to have a much better sound quality than the Sound Blaster X-fi Audio.

Edited for typos Not my fault though, my religion made me do it

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A blond chick walks into a computer hardware store....

by Fregeus In reply to Rant of The Week - Stereo ...

....and karate-kick (figuratively) an ignoranious egotistical moron of a sales clerk. Way to go Tammy!!!

The stereotypical situation I was caught in was when I was looking for work and also when I was seeking a promotion. You see, I did not go to college. School is difficult for me. I have a hard time dealing with abstract thought and I understand better when I'm faced with logic and hard facts. So I decided to go to the best university of all, the UOL (University of Life).

But twice now I was overlooked, either for a job or promotion, because I did not have an accredited University degree. That really pumps me up because I've met tons of University graduates that couldn't tie their own shoes, much less do highly technical work or lead teams. I'm not generalizing here, I know that not all University graduates are "clueless". But that goes both ways. Not all non-graduates are "stoopid".

That is my biggest pet peeve in the stereotypical department.

Great rant Tammy!!!


Edited for typos

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My own rant on stereotyping in brief

by pcguyny In reply to A blond chick walks into ...

I have a policy of researching different stores for products and prices before I began to search outside. If I must before searching, I should have the presence of knowing what I need without having to ask. I take pride in not asking because as a pre-A+ certificate, I must know.

I experience stereotyping in general, especially in urban environments where store owners are so **** and un-American in how they perceive other Americans.

I typically shop in JR for non-hardcore (and inexpensive) PC items for myself. I still get looks here and there, despite being a shopper there for a good year now. No biggie. They have a cute counter girl I imagine is flirting with me from time to time.

I typically go in with a book bag with A+ materials,etc, lame clothes, and glasses. Sometimes it feels, you cannot have a book bag filled with books if the stereotype is for you not to have a book bag with books, rather a book bag with stolen stuff if you enter a store. Sad, but its the city.

I guess the lame cloths indicate I actually do not have allot of money, which is true. I rather be a semi-good student and struggle even if people will continue to stereotype. One day, they won't.

Nice rant and keep up with sharing your experiences.

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WASP male=dull and boring

by JamesRL In reply to Rant of The Week - Stereo ...

I know I'm not going to get a lot of sympathy from the audience, being somewhat of a stereotype myself - White/Anglo Saxon/Protestent Male,and a computer geek/manager at the same time.

I get people all the time who think because I am a manager, I really don't know anything techie. I can talk to programmers and business analysts all day.

I also get people who think cause I'm a techie, I know nothing of the business side. I'm no slouch at marketing either, its part of my job.

I get stereotyped as a dull white guy from the burbs too, I've lived all over and I've been part of many communities, church communities, arts communities, sports communities.

I'd have done the same as you, but I might have added, You can't you sexist pig, for good measure.

Many stereotypes have some merit based on the group as a whole, BUT and this is important, they should not influence your treatment of individuals. I might have a stereotype of southern ladies who prefer sweet tea, and if I was having a party with a number of them, I might serve it. But if I am serving just one, I should not presume the individual fits the stereotype.

My Audigy seems fine to me, but I never record with it.


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judge judge judge

by jdclyde In reply to WASP male=dull and boring

it is funny how even the most self-professed open minded people still make judgements on others based on what they look like or where they live.

Well, funny, not in the "ha ha" sense.

My problem is with people that SHOW they are stupid. It is one thing to not know about computers, but admit it and go with the advice that you got from the computer guys. I HATE when people ask your opinion about a computer and they don't really WANT your opinion, they just want you to stroke-off their ego and tell them what a great choice they are making.

Oh, and I don't think all blondes are dittsy, because some are not natural blondes. ]:)

oh, Hi Shellbot!

Collapse - nice to Shell!

by jck In reply to judge judge judge

unless ya wanna tease her about not having time when i was in Dublin (i did contact her by email lol)

GG made time for me...she's such a lovely woman...and i'm sure Shell is too.

Of course, I'm partial to girls on that side of the pond. Just don't seem to prove something. I don't know how to put it.

Anyways...jd...just think...spandex lol ]:)

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Ah Thanx!

by Shellbot In reply to nice to Shell! : ...

Sorry didn't have time!

The spandex thing worries me..spandex is not good..bad bad spandex...

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lol about spandex

by jck In reply to Ah Thanx!

trust spandex goes on me...the closest thing i come to spandex is the elastic in the waistband of my boxers lol

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That can't be right

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to lol about spandex

After all I heard recently that someone was making the new generation Space Suits out of Spandex.

Apparently it's less bulky and easier to move around in than the older ones where. Could start a new trend there.


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i've never been known to be trendy...

by jck In reply to That can't be right

and i don't wanna start now.

unless of course, it's a woman helping make me look trendy. then i'll submit to fashion lol ]:)

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My wife gets it all the time.

by JamesRL In reply to judge judge judge

We don't live in a"fancy" neighbourhood. One, cause I grew up poor and I do not want to get in over my head. Two, my wife can't work so I have to be more careful - if I lose my job, then I need to make sure I can survive. Its pretty working class, small detached houses built in the 70s, no garages etc. Lots of immigrants.

The location is great - good schools, parks, the mall, hospital etc. And that makes up for a lot.

But people make assumptions. When my wife goes to church without me(special occasions I go) people assume she is a single mom.

When the elders of her church see my modest house, they think we need help. I didn't refuse when I was unemployed, but I do now of course, lots of people need it more than I.

People at the school assume I'm blue collar, since they are. Nothing wrong with that, my dad was blue collar.

On the other hand, some people at work assume all managers are rich. They have to be mathematically challenged since 2 blue collar incomes are higher than one managers salary, and the vast majority of the married couple have two working parents. They claim to be poor, but talk about spending tens of thousands on home renovations that I can only dream about. They also assume cause I have a shiny van(which is older than they know) I must be raking it in. Truth is if you only one vehicle in the family, you better have a good one.

So yeah I live with all kinds of stereotypes.

And Shelly is not blond, unless she dyed her hair to meet me.


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