Through our lives we all have fallen victim to the habit of expressing our world through stereotypes, especially when it comes to other people. We label others and vise versa. It's a vicious circle. From Kindergarten to high school, from college to work, we continuously put people in categories or even stamp them out with a nickname that follows them (at least in our minds) for the rest of our lives.
But let's go back to our childhood... I bet that all of you had a classmate or a neighbor who was the fat or the skinny one, with the big glasses, the "Mr. Stammer" and the list goes on and on with stereotypes. Is it a coincidence that we all have mutual experiences when it comes to categorizing people among us?
No it's not.
Is it a bad thing?
For once more the answer is no! Actually is quite normal because of the fact that our brains are wired to perform this process automatically! That's the main reason people always categorize mostly by gender, age and race. The most common question that comes after this statement is "why?". Why human kind have been programmed to operate in that manner?
To find the answer we must go back to the roots of human evolution and to be more specific back to "the survival of the strongest". We have the deepest need to distinguish the capabilities of the people who surround us and to be aware of who is our friend and our foe. On the other side, going back to our century, we have evolved into a civilized community, we know who our friend is or who is not and even if we don't, it's not a vital need. Our lives don't depend on the habit we have developed hundreds of years ago. So, what is hidden underneath?
It's the stereotype bias, subconsciously growing inside us and leads to the tendency of stereotyped behaviors starting from childhood. According to Harvard's University Implicit Association Test related to racial bias, a big proportion of the applicants who participated in the research, have proved to be racists. Some of them became defensive, others certainly didn't want to think of themselves as racists. It was found that the racist beliefs were buried deep down in the subject's subconscious.
The truth lies in the awakening of our consciousness in a daily base. The act of categorizing others comes naturally, but it is not an excuse for abusive behaviors, such as bullying.