Dehumanizing Stereotypes Based On Race

Many of the narratives we have been reading reveal dehumanizing stereotypes based on race that have been used to justify cruel treatment toward human beings based on a socially constructed idea of race. In “Where Bias Begins: The Truth about Stereotypes,” Anne Murphy Paul argues that stereotyping “others” is deeply rooted and resistant to change even in the face of challenging evidence. In fact, she asserts, “We all use stereotypes, all the time, without knowing it. We have met the enemy of equality, and the enemy is us” (found in the 6th edition of Rothenberg’s of Race, Class, and Gender in the U.S., in Part VII, #105). In your journal, write down examples of gender, race, or class bias you suspect you engage in unconsciously. Analyze your own reaction times in situations where you deal with someone who is different than you. Does being conscious of your own thought processes help or hurt your ability to challenge such stereotypes? Discuss your own attempts at “de-automization,” as Paul puts it, to catch and change your thoughts.

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