People cope with being measured against stereotypes and other people’s perceptions in different ways. Some people accept their race’s stereotypes and follow the expectation that they look and act a certain way.
For instance, one common stereotype is that Asians “have” to go to a good school in order to not look dumb. Another is that Caucasians choose to be actors. Other people are repelled by stereotypes and purposefully look and act so as not to adhere to external expectations. Some people are able to remain true to themselves, disregarding thoughts of society’s generalized expectations of them.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, an outsider is defined as “a person who does not belong to a particular group”. After reading this definition myself, I decided to ask a few students about how they cope with stereotypes.
Irene Chung, a sophomore attending Crean Lutheran, stated, “I don’t worry over measuring up to stereotype. If a person brings up how I don’t match up to the standards set by stereotypes, I would confront the person. Otherwise, I try not to concern with stereotypes.”
Daniel Kim, a freshman from Villa Park, said, “When I’m faced with stereotypes I ignore it because it not only degrades yourself but it degrades others around you, creating an image that shows others that you shouldn’t be proud of.”
As for individuals, there is a fine balance that one must find between being an individual, but not being too much of an outsider, lonely and isolated. One should not change the way he or she looks or acts just because of a stereotype, whether that is to adhere to the stereotype, or to purposefully avoid it. Just being unique and oneself is the better alternative to trying to be fake. Although people are of different race and other factors, stereotypes should not define who they are as individuals.