Stereotypes and Biases: can’t live with them, can’t live without them

Yesterday, after I spent a week working 40 hours and completing hours of homework I decided to treat myself to a couple of episodes of my favorite tv show, The Office. I have watched this series in its entirety at least 4 times. One of my favorite episodes is Diversity Day. In the episode, the Dunder Mifflin office has to undergo diversity training because the boss, Micheal Scott, decides to tell a joke, using his Chris Rock impersonation, that has racial stereotypes and language. I discovered that this episode correlates with what we had just gone over in class, stereotypes, and biases.

What is a stereotype? Well, according to my textbook, using my own words, it is a file, of sorts, in your mind that contains quick information and adjectives that describe a group. We all, no matter how much we hate to admit it, have stereotype files in our minds that we use to interact with different people. Some are good and some are bad but we all have them. This leads to our biases, these are negative and close-minded beliefs that we have about other people.

Part of my homework was to take a Buzzfeed quiz titled, “How Privileged Are You?”, as a lower-class black female in the south, I kind of went into it with reasonable expectations of where I would land on their scale. Low and behold, I was right. With a score of 48/100, I, according to Buzzfeed, am not privileged at all.

Another interesting journey into self-discovery I had was taking the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. This test is comprised of 14 individual test that measures your biases about particular groups. I took 4 of these tests and I did learn new things about myself. The test that got under my skin the most was the skin tone test. I have a moderate automatic preference for lighter skin over darker skin. This made me feel very uncomfortable because in the black community we do have a problem with colorism and I never saw myself as remotely close to a colorist. I guess this is what the tests are for, to hold up a mirror and look at your reflection, no matter how uncomfortable it is. I plan on taking more so that I can discover more about myself that I may be ignored.

Citation:

Lind, R. A. (2019). Race/gender/class/media 4.0: Considering diversity across audiences (4th ed.). ROUTLEDGE.

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