Stereotypes about Caucasians

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01.08.2023
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Racial stereotypes are a common phenomenon in society. It can be explained as the mental vision of people from one racial group or the other. Stereotypes develop through numerous factors. In particular, they start to shape since childhood due to the impact of external factors. Usually, papers focus on stereotypes directed at racial minorities. However, there is a lack of attention to stereotypes about Caucasians. Specifically, researchers found that minorities believe Whites are arrogant and ambitious racists and sexists. It is critical to realize that any person can suffer from racial discrimination and stereotypes forced by society regardless of his or her race. Numerous cases show how white people tried to fight racial discrimination and were willing to promote equality. It is vital not to generalize people. Therefore, representatives of any race can become the victims of stereotypes, including Caucasians who are believed to not understand or experience stereotypes impact.

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Stereotypes about Caucasians Essay

Racial stereotypes are constantly present in society. They are exaggerated and automatic mental images people maintain about all members of a specific racial group. When people are stereotyped based on race, individual differences are not considered. Due to racial prejudices, people tend to discard or ignore any information that is not consistent with the stereotype developed. While most of the studies focus on stereotypes about racial minorities, there is little information in relation to the stereotypes experienced by Whites. Therefore, people of any race can become stereotype victims, including Caucasians who are believed to not understand or experience stereotypes impact.

Stereotypical Beliefs

Usually, studies demonstrate numerous racial minority groups as the victims of racial discrimination and stereotypes. At the same time, White people or Caucasians are shown and perceived as a racist and predominating group. Nonetheless, not enough attention is paid to White people as individuals who often become victims of stereotypes. Hence, this group has to be analyzed from the stereotypes perspective, both positive and negative. A pervasive focus on Whites’ attitudes toward racial minorities might have developed as an attempt to put the responsibility for the prejudice on main perpetrators. However, failure to understand Caucasians can lead to the supposition that the purpose of the prejudice is the reaction to Whites, not own motivation and concerns leading to the intergroup dynamic.

Stereotypes are overgeneralized and incomplete beliefs people have toward a specific special group. When a person who has stereotypes interacts with target group members, stereotypical ideas act as the expectancies during communication (Stone, Perry, & Darley, 1997). Stereotype threat is the contextual phenomenon in which the person feels as though the action can confirm the existing idea about the groups to which he or she belongs. It hampers performance. The threat is not the phenomenon unique to gender or racial minorities. It can happen in any group of people who feel that their performance is vulnerable to the stereotype widely related to their particular group. People are concerned about the potentially stereotyping confirming acts of other members of their groups (Flynn, 2015). This notion is named collective threat as it comes from the communally shared nature of social identities. For White people in the process of transitions through identity development stages, collective threat can wedge to the proverbial conceptual corner and leave them fatigued from the attempt to differentiate themselves from their less thoughtful White counterparts (Flynn, 2015). The stereotype threat and by extension collective threat are not necessarily related to race. They are about any stereotypes. Just because White people might seem as benefiting from racism through white privilege, it does not make them less human than minorities.

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Different racial groups have numerous stereotypes about Caucasians. The main associations of African Americans with White people were drug users, selfish, ambitious, dishonest, sexist, greedy, intelligent, arrogant, uncoordinated, privileged and racist. According to Asian Americans, the main stereotypes about Whites were promiscuous, rude, intelligent, tall, ambitious, athletic, arrogant, heavy drinkers, racist and uncoordinated (Conley, Rabinowitz, & Rabow, 2010). According to Latinas, Caucasians are open-minded, athletic, surfers, sexist, uncoordinated, intelligent, ambitious, greedy, rich arrogant, and racist. Hence, the most common stereotypes mentioned are racist, ethnocentric and arrogant. Specifically, being racist is one of the main stereotypes implied about white people (Conley et al., 2010). From the historical perspective, Whites were the predominant and superior group that was racist all the time. Even now, when white people mostly realize and promote humanistic and indiscriminate approach, they are still categorized as racist.

The positive stereotypes related to Caucasians were being outgoing, communicative, rich, intelligent and tall (Conley et al., 2010). In addition, there are many racial stereotypes in sports, especially between White and Black basketball players (Stone et al., 1997). There are two general beliefs that Blacks are physically better athletes in comparison to Whites, and black athletes are intellectually inferior to white athletes (Stone et al., 1997).All these stereotypes are often directed toward white people from these minority groups. It was found that stereotypes about white males were mostly negative. The most negative attitude and stereotypes are evident among African Americans (Conley et al., 2010). Asian Americans expressed the most positive stereotypes, while Latinas’ stereotypes were in the middle (Conley et al., 2010). Hence, both positive and negative stereotypes about Caucasians are present.

As concerns negative stereotypes, I had such experience at my part-time work with my colleague. He was an attractive white man from a rich family. Even before knowing him well, I believed that he would very ambitious and I would have difficulties working with such a person. In reality, my expectations confirmed because he tried to push his vision on the other members of the team. Moreover, he tried to reach his career development using the result of the team and tried to pay attention only to his achievements. Even before knowing the person, some basic information about this colleague provoked me to perceive him negatively. Reality reflected my expectations. I concluded that unconscious stereotypes and biases are present toward any race and Whites are not an exception. Therefore, this situation reinforced my stereotypes.

Except for negative stereotypes, whites also are victims of positive stereotypes as other racial and ethnic groups are. In particular, one of my friends from my neighborhood had a stereotype that white people are easy-going, outgoing and highly communicative. Nonetheless, it is impossible to expect all White people to behave according to such role model shaped in one’s own imaginations. Mostly, the media forced such image. As a result, many people have such attitude toward Whites. Thus, this situation confirmed the stereotypes of my friend based on the media pressure. My friend needed time and more experience to realize that being easy-going and communicative is not something one can expect from people just because media image inclined to it. My experience only proves that negative and positive stereotypes can occur in any racial group. Further, absence of recognition of stereotypes about Whites provokes adverse outcomes from the societal perspective.

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Theoretical Approach

According to the stereotype content model, specific social groups’ stereotypes about ethnicity or race concentrate across two dimensions. They are warmth meaning like warm and sincere and competence meaning like capable or competent. These concepts relate to different target groups defined across low versus high competence and warmth (Loughnan, Haslam, Sutton, & Spencer, 2014). According to this model, two variables, long identified as critical in the intergroup relations such as competition and status, predict stereotypes dimension. In noncompetitive subordinate groups, the positive warmth of stereotype acts jointly with the negative low competence stereotype to maintain the advantage of more privileged groups. For competitive and high-status out-groups, the competence positive stereotype justifies the general system. However, in common with low warmth negative stereotype, it justifies the in-groups’ resentment (Loughnan et al., 2014). Hence, different combinations of stereotypes competence and warmth lead to unique intergroup emotions, as prejudices aimed at various groups in society.

According to the development of intergroup theory, the first step in the stereotype formation is the evolvement of psychological silence of some specific dimensions set. Four aspects such as social groups’ implicit use, explicit labeling, proportional group size, and perceptual discriminability of social groups affect psychological silence development of personal attributes (Bigler & Liben, 2006). Children with the ability to sort consistently then categorize newly encountered people along this dimension. Categorization leads to the social stereotyping process, as well as prejudice formation. Several factors influence the stereotypes development process such as group-attribute covariation, explicit social groups’ attribution, in-group bias and essentialism.

At the same time, stereotypes tend to persist in the society. The framework of White Racial Identity Development (WRID) plays a critical role in the realization of racism. The model ends with the White subject who accepts his or her own racial difference as part of the total of differences rather than assuming the superior place among them. The realization that acceptance of personal racial differences as part of differences constellation rather than assuming the superior place among them is the best example of a positive racial identity (Flynn, 2015). There are six stages of racial identity development. The first one is contact that involves unexamined racial identity; the second stage concerns acknowledgment of racial difference without completely realizing racial hierarchies and their implications (Flynn, 2015). The third phase is reintegration that includes the sustained subconscious or conscious beliefs of White superiority, while the fourth stage is pseudo-independences that determine racial oppression and privilege but not fully recognize the racism institutions and systematic manifestations (Flynn, 2015). The fifth part is immersion-immersion, which includes that understanding of White complicity in the racial privilege and oppression and begins to seek allies. The last stage is autonomy that includes full embracement of humanistic ideals of social justice and equality systematically, institutionally, and individually (Flynn, 2015). This theory assists in realizing how racial stereotypes persist in relation to the White fatigue.

White fatigue is a temporary state in which people disengage from common understanding of the moral imperative of antiracism or assume they no longer need to keep learning how racism and/or White privilege function due to the simplistic realization of racism as the primary individual belief (Flynn, 2015). It is characterized by resignation, frustration, sarcasm, flippancy, or impatience responses coming from the critical thinking suspension related to the complex nature of institutional and systemic racism (Flynn, 2015). White students are often perceived negatively when discussing racism as oppression, as receivers of privilege, ignorant of how the world works, etc. According to this model, the more White people come across as racist, the more challenging it becomes for them to build a positive racial development (Flynn, 2015). Hence, despite whites develop an appropriate racial identity, while they keep being perceived as racists they will not have the readiness and strength to develop an in-depth understanding of discrimination and racism. When people are constantly accused of something, they become tired to fight against stereotypes. As a consequence, they persist in the societal beliefs.

Evidently, both positive and negative stereotypes influence people. Negative stereotypes provoke serious adverse consequences. In particular, the constant pressure that all whites are racist leads to the negative attitude toward people promoting equality. When people are always accused of racism, they stop disagreeing and persuading otherwise. Such fatigue from being accused and perceived negatively leads to the resistance to promote racial equality because whites often are too tired of hearing the same things.

In the case of positive stereotypes, they also lead to negative outcomes. When people regularly expect whites to be attractive, rich, and intelligent, they often have a feeling of depersonalization (Czopp, Kay, & Cheryan, 2015). Besides, they believe that they are undifferentiated from the other group members. Moreover, such stereotypes set some level of expectations of group stereotype. Constant pressure to fit the stereotypes forced on people leads to the theories’ distress and rejection of such people. In turn, similar attitudes can provoke adverse educational, interpersonal or emotional outcomes. Positive stereotypes distort the way people perceive themselves. They often lead to the underestimation of efforts made (Czopp et al., 2015). Specifically, due to positive stereotypes, people might not credit the person for the commitment. As a result, the feeling of the success is going away.

Nonetheless, people can benefit from the stereotypes. In particular, the latter can lead to success. The main idea is that people often perceive stereotypes as a challenge. For them, it is a chance to prove the opposite and reach a great achievement (Czopp et al., 2015). Whites are often perceived as violators, sexists, racists or privileged people. Hence, such an attitude is a good reason to negate the claim and to promote diversity, equality, and philanthropy in society. In addition, the next positive impact can be the overall change of racial group image. When whites are trying to resist stereotypes, they practically contribute to the change of the general negative image. Their positive practices that opposed common opinion lead to the positive image of the racial group.

There were instances when Whites went against the stereotypes forced on them by minority groups and showed their belief inequality and justice. The bright example can be the case Brown v. Board of Education. The US Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public school was unconstitutional (Pitts, 2016). Oliver Brown, an African American, was against a school that refused to accept his seven-year-old daughter because it included only white children. One of the main persons in this case was McKinley Burnett, President of the local department of the NAACP, a white man (Pitts, 2016). He gathered Brown and other parents and initiated a legal claim with the local attorney’s assistance. He shaped the strategy to win this case. Burnett is the man who believes that segregation canbe managed through courts and he was a white that goes against common stereotypes(Pitts, 2016). Furthermore, despite the judges were white, they expressed their sympathy to the plaintiffs. Legislation representatives emphasized that the children segregation, in both white and racial minorities, causes negative effects. The decision of the Supreme Court stated that such practice is unconstitutional (Pitts, 2016). Another noteworthy legal case is Loving v. Virginia, in which the Supreme Court was against laws banning the interracial marriage in the SU. Plaintiffs, Mildred and Richard Loving, a black woman and a white man’s marriage, were perceived as illegal (Roberts, 2014). According to the Chief Justice Earl Warren, a white man, marriage is one of the basic civil rights. Denying such basic freedom on such unsupportable grounds as the racial classifications leads to the deprival of liberties of all citizens without due process of law. Under the Constitution, the freedom to marry or not, cannot be infringed by the State (Roberts, 2014). Hence, despite common stereotypes the court and white judges concluded that anti-miscegenation laws were racists.

Practical Implications

While discrimination documentation of stereotypes about racial groups is critical, there is a need to provide evidence for interventions. We can see their impact on shifting overall beliefs and attitudes at both the population and local level within community contexts (Priest et al., 2018). Repeated documentation of the pervasive nature of inequalities, including racial ones, without the identification of modifiable factors, as well as potential solutions lead to the danger of reinforcing widely spread beliefs in the justice intractability (Priest et al., 2018). Several anti-racism and prejudice reduction interventions and services can be found on the individual and community levels. Nonetheless, additional work has to be provided to shape effective policy and practice (Priest et al., 2018). Reducing racism and improving population health requires multistep actions. They have to aim at both stigmatized and non-stigmatized groups (Priest et al., 2018). Thus, different practices are present in the society.

At the population level, educational, mass media and advertising interventions that try to promote positive attitudes and decrease stereotypes about racial groups represent the promise. Targeted advertising campaigns seem to have a positive impact on the attitudes toward the stigmatized people. At the interpersonal level, interventions and services exist focused on improving interaction in different groups. Moreover, they have to promote positive intergroup engagement. Support groups are created to improve interactions and support management of groups with stigma and development of positive trends in the future (Priest et al., 2018). Interpersonal interventions involve values affirmation activities, social blogging, and counseling for affected people, as well as educational interventions to increase awareness of both conscious and unconscious stereotyping and bias among non-stigmatized people (Priest et al., 2018). Such programs and services can effectively address stereotypes about white people. Explaining the nature of racism and stereotypes and showing that any race can be victim will lead to understanding that whites can also suffer from stereotyping.

Nonetheless, there is a need to implement more actions aimed at promotion of equality without stereotypes. In particular, the main stereotype about Whites is that all of them are racists. To overcome such belief, it is critical to follow several steps. Specifically, increasing educational initiatives focused not only on the racial equality of ethnic minorities but toward all racial groups is vital (McBride, 2016). The appropriate curriculum provided in early education has to decrease prejudice and stereotypes faced by society. Such educational initiative need to develop positive relations by means of challenging stereotypes. The curriculum has to cultivate critical thinking among students and promote peer-based learning in which people assist their partners in addressing and confronting stereotypes.

The next step is to apply the conflict resolution approach through the intergroup dialogue initiatives based on conflict mediation. It can explore stereotypes and examine individuals’ attitudes towards each other. The approach can also be introduced through conflict management workshops in which the participant has to manage such issues as discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, and intergroup conflict (McBride, 2016). It will provide the accurate information collection in settings that promote discussion and debate.

Another step is the organization of short-term equality and diversity training courses. Isolated and short-term diversity training programs have to take place in corporate workplaces with adults (McBride, 2016). Such training type can have different forms involving delivering a lecture, showing movies or other promotion of interactive activities such as discussions about tolerance. This approach has to focus on feeling empathy, expressing hidden assumptions and managing ignorance.

Further, it is important to engage media as the most critical tool in changing societal perceptions. The media have to participate in educational interventions. It is an especially convenient method of providing the youth with the indirect contact form. Media assist in promoting the improvement attitudes due to their constant influence (McBride, 2016). Specifically, involving media as the education curriculum partner, stories and broadcasts about intergroup contact among peers fared better in comparison to multicultural education. Hence, media use as the indirect contact form opposed to focusing on racial group specifics can be a more efficient solution.

The last step is the active production of media campaigns by the government. It is a proven effective method of promoting change through education and challenging stereotypes and attitudes (McBride, 2016). Moreover, media campaign produced by the government can add credibility to the message. Such an approach provides the opportunity to show different perspectives to the same problem and overcome stereotypes about white people (McBride, 2016). In addition, campaigns can increase awareness of historical racial events not only from the point of view of racial minorities and emphasize the great number of white people who contributed to racial equality.

Proposed actions are already applied in society in some forms. However, there is no need to invent new approaches, because the existing ones are effective. It is only necessary to apply them constantly and through appropriate strategy. These measures will work because media and educational tools and approaches are effective and lead to the change of societal perceptions (McBride, 2016). Thus, implementation of these actions will lead to the elimination of stereotypes about whites due to the development of critical thinking skills since childhood, constant equality learning through short-term training and awareness raised by the media tools.

Personal Conclusion

Overall, this paper helped me change my perceptions about Caucasians. I did not notice that I had some level of prejudice toward this group of people, but due to the constant messages that Whites practice supremacy and have a racist or sexist arrogant approach to racial minorities, the particular image was shaped in my head. Through writing this paper, I realized that any group could be a victim of stereotypes and suffer from them. Stereotypes develop in different ways. They originate from the tendency of people to categorize everything. Since childhood, the environment and common social perspective shape individual vision of this world and people. Impacted by eternal sources, people develop different stereotypes that negatively influence others. Further, such misbeliefs persist due to the tendency to accuse people of something. It leads to the fatigue to fight against prejudice, and in this way, the stigmatized group do not manage them. To evaluate personal perceptions and change the approach toward stereotypes, I would love to participate in civic engagement activities such as the formation and implementation of a public campaign aimed at increasing the awareness that any person can be the victim of stereotypes despite race. Therefore, such practice will assist in promoting equality.

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