Stereotypes are normally social, but not strictly social. From individuals to individual, the way they perceive someone or something is different. There is hardly anything we can generalize in absolute sense. My cognitive approach to an activity may be completely different than one next to me. Since stereotypes are not always negative and not always positive, ‘stereotype’ itself is an example of stereotype. Since it is psychic and social, everyone is stereotyped because of his/her cultural, social, economic, geographical and physical background.
Personally, I like to know what people think about me; it can be stereotypical or just random assumption. Throughout my life until now as a university student, I am assumed something or some kind assumption is made about me. Most of them are slightly not positive, but rest of those is good ones. I believe that these attributes are made solely based on my social, educational and physical backgrounds. From the days I have started to know something about this social world, I have realized that I have been victimized of typical stereotype that others, especially my friends or the ones that I am acquainted with, possess about me.
I am not like unlike anyone, but my surroundings consider me not social. As far as I know I have a belief that having too many friends is not good, or let’s say not my desire to have so. I don’t normally hang out like everyone else who goes college. I don’t party on a weekly basis because I think it ruins the meaning of get together. So I am assumed that I am not friendly. However, I know that I cannot go out whenever somebody wants. It’s just my nature, but it doesn’t mean that I am opposing or anti-social. I agree things but not just every day.
In the society whether in the USA or other parts of the world, there is a stereotype about students who are smart. Nobody hesitates to make an assumption that the student who normally scores the highest in the class is the smartest and studious of all. Well that may be the case for many people, but wasn’t for me. Back in my school days and in my high school, I used to do pretty well in the exams. In the society where I belong to, graded exams are taken only once in a year, therefore, preparing for the exam was all I needed.
But more surprising to me was what my friends believed that I would be doing all the time at home: books in my hands. In contrast, I hardly opened any books until there was any assignment or exams. May be I am focused or I have techniques to memorize facts and infer meanings, I was able to do better than many of my classmates could do. Once, a friend of mine was astonished to see me with a girl and he did bother to ask if she was my girlfriend because he believed the only thing I do was study. Sometimes it feels good to be stereotyped, especially when someone appreciates for what you have done.
I was considered good in writing and speaking English because my academic background was from a private school which in my country means a school where they teach in English. Back in my school days, I used to help many students finish their English assignments. They liked it because they couldn’t do it by themselves. But, I knew that I wasn’t that good like everybody assumed. It is true that I was better than the most of them, but technically I wasn’t. The pressure to perform well always existed within me because I had to be good in front of them. I worked hard and focused better in English than anything else.
There was a friend who unlike me was better in native language ‘Nepali’. I performed well in English at least in his sense. I am not always casted some sorts of stereotype; I have labelled some person in my surrounding as well. It’s a personal connection and acquaintance with someone that forces me to stereotype him. I have a friend who seems indifferent to anything that happens around him. To be specific, he doesn’t hesitate to keep his cool all time. May be that it is just my convention but it seems everybody has the same perception about him. Some mutual friends of our have conveyed the same kind of feeling about him.
As far as I know, he has never had any confrontations with anyone. He is heavy and strong, so nobody may dare to make arguments with him; however, my casting about him is not because of his body structure. He once told me that he has been through many ups and down, so he never likes to fight or be different to anyone. I am not sure what others may think about him, but I believe he will maintain his temperaments because he has the ability to do so. At times, the explicit content of stereotypes in my personal experience have gone little twisted, and more seemingly worse ones.
This one presumably is social but modern because it relates social media, more precisely Facebook. If someone asks me how many times a day I am on Facebook, I will say whenever I am in the front of computer. But if he again asks why I am not chatting with him, I don’t mind to say that because I am online always. This may sound vague but in most cases it is demeaning to others, and very negative to me. While I was very busy, a friend of mine wanted to chat with me. I clarified to me that I am quite busy and would like to talk with him later.
It seemed to him that I changed a lot. And after a while he simply removed me from Facebook. I gave him an honest reason but he took it as untrue. From his perceptive, I was an egoist because I used to hang out with him back in my country, but after I moved to the USA which is a dream world for the most people in the world, I changed my color. His assumption is based on his cognitive analysis and his social background. Later, I convinced him anyway. I want to know how people think about me so that I can improve either myself or change their way of consideration towards me.
Despite the understanding of stereotyping I may be more cautious about my surrounding; however, being stereotyped is not welcoming one. From life’s experience, I may be able to change the conceptualization of someone’s mind about me, but it is not possible in all the cases. There are many incidents that I can learn from and improve like being little cautious while speaking to someone especially in the first meeting and appearance can prevent from negative stereotypes. It is good to have close friends, and it is equally important to choose good friends and prevent loosing them.