Perceptions/Stereotypes

There are many a times when we become stuck with stereotypes. Hardy was telling one such story of when he fell for a stereotype.

It seems he had gone out for dinner to a Pakistani restaurant. Needless to say, most of the people serving there are from Pakistan. Well, being a weekend night the place was full. When he did get a place to sit, one of the folks came and asked if he would share the table with someone else. While he did ask whether it was to be a lady, and did get a reply in the negative, he was joined by a young man who was addressing the waiter as bhai jaan and spoke in impeccable Urdu. In an attempt to start a conversation with his co-diner, he asked him if he was from Pakistan. The guy said no, he was from India.

So why did he ask him if he was from Pakistan? The stereotype … That folks who speak such impeccable Urdu are probably going to be from Pakistan. Somewhere there’s that stereotype which is built in. Just like the assumption that anyone who is a Muslim, and is from South Asia must know Urdu quite well.

What this doesn’t include is the fact that language and culture are more regional in nature, not necessarily linked to religion, and that India and Pakistan do share a common heritage.

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6 Responses to Perceptions/Stereotypes

  1. Atul says:

    We sometimes make assumptions without even knowing it. In that way, stereotypes develop, and get reinforced when people start behaving the way they are “supposed to”.

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    • 9minnon says:

      I suppose that’s what builds the stereotypes. People from a particular region, coming from a particular culture, tend to behave in ways which are acceptable or the norm in that culture, and this leads to stereotypes. But oftentimes, these stereotypes are myths, and while they might represent some people, they usually tend not to be representative of a culture.

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  2. Atul says:

    But these stereotypes must have some foundation in reality, otherwise they wouldnt sustain.

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    • 9minnon says:

      They usually are based on a selective reality. For example, mostly Punjabis are thought of to be eating butter chicken or tandoori chicken all the time, but in reality mostly Punjabis eat vegetarian. This may be based on the picture of some Punjabis but not a large majority. Or that Tamils are seen, at least in North India as being vegetarians, but that’s not so. Again based on similar scenario.

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