Stereotypes are (NOT) fun!


I don't know. I'm white. I feel odd calling people out. It makes me seem so holier than thou- but when someone says this,

"They're like that, you know..." (I was going to give all sorts of details, but then realized it actually doesn't matter what behavior was in question or what race we're speaking of. Clearly, it's just all the biggest bunch of crap any way you look at it.)

When it's someone you absolutely have to have a good relationship with, when the comment is not even true of the specific people in question let alone their entire race, when you're seething but she's just got the best of intentions- what do you say?


  1. Just tell her what your own experience has been. Hopefully she is flexible in her opinions.

  2. We always have to question values tainted by racism or sexism! It's how you do it that matters. A look, a word, or holding your tongue till there's a better moment to give a different view at a time they will be more receptive.

    I was taught the most amazing trick by a psychiatric nurse I used to work with. She would never contradict me when I was talking outta my butt, just say "See, I see it kind of different. I see it this way..."

    But another way to make people mindful of the stereotypes they are reinforcing is the "I know you're not a paleolithic racist/crazed Islamophobic/woman-hating shitbag, but you know you need to be careful with how you share your [repugnant] views, because it might come across that way and they might get the wrong end of the stick about you."

    I think some stereotypes can be used in a benign or even reaffirming way, but it doesn't sound like that was the case.

  3. I have run into this a lot with homophobic members of my family, and I have complained about it so much that they now at least censor themselves around me, which is at least a step in the right direction. I generally say, "Please don't say things like that around me." No explanation is needed. It's not your job to make her a better person.

  4. Thanks for the comments. It helps me out a lot.

    I don't think she is very flexible in her opinions.

    Sometimes, when we try to learn about other cultures and open our minds, we just latch onto some new stereotypes- I think that's what happened to this person. She doesn't believe she's saying anything offensive at all- but at the same time, she knew enough to say it after they walked away, so she ought to know better. But it's what she truly believes- that's the worst part. I hate it when people just assume that because I'm a blond haired, blue eyed white girl that I am okay with all sorts of things I am definitely not okay with.

    I'm lucky in that nobody ever seems to make any sort of homophobic comments around me. That might be because of where I live, or I've also wondered if that was because I seem like a lesbian. Who knows?

    Gina, your dad told me at your wedding that he was homophobic. I don't know why! I guess he's at least aware of it!