Given that the word stereotype forms the primary focus of this paper it is essential that we first know its meaning and its purpose. Defining the word is quite difficult as several publications have already done so, each with differing viewpoints regarding the centralized idea behind the word. Though they all share a concurrent meaning that stereotyping is represented by “pictures” in the mind which relate to characteristics of a particular individual or ethnic group.
They do not completely agree on its characteristics. According to Stangor and Hewstone when these representations are shared as two corresponding viewpoints between two individuals, they become shared not only between the individuals or culture being stereotyped but the rest of society as well. However, while they are shared on an individual basis with little or no resistance, their utilization on a social basis requires this belief to have some significance in the real world (Macrae, Stangor, & Hewstone, 1996). Given its nature stereotyping is usually grouped together with two other actions known as prejudice and discrimination, both of which have a negative effect on the social order of society. All three though different concepts are interlinked. Prejudice is defined by prejudging or having preconceptions about a person or a group of people while discrimination is usually defined as unruly conduct against said people (Kossak & Johnson, 2001).
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