It was about time I touched on this subject. I really have the numerous sociology courses I took during my undergrad to thank for this as this subject was constantly brought up. You have to admit that they play a vital role in today’s society. But, let me explain: As I wrote about in a previous post of mine called Inescapable Judgement, I briefly mentioned that judgement could very well be a survival mechanism deeply rooted in our primal instinct to avoid danger. It’s necessary, but highly problematic. As a result of this desire to be safe, it is often the case that certain groups are marginalized and pushed aside because we deem them unsafe. Unfortunately, their potential to grow and change is squashed like a bug. What’s worse is that fighting these stereotypes, labels, and the stigmas associated with them can prove to be difficult; almost like fighting quicksand. Unless you get someone to throw you a rope and pull you out, the earth will swallow you whole. Dismal, noh?
However, I feel that things are changing for the better as more and more people educate themselves. It doesn’t have to necessarily be in this field of study, but just by going through the education system. I say this because now, going through our education system will expose people to different individuals orginating from different subcultures who might have broken the mold of their group’s particular stereotype, thus diminishing the stigma and label attached to their said group. (NOTE: Now I’m sure that there are plenty of people who do not share my optimism and can argue the opposite. I would genuinely love to hear that side, so please share!)
But here’s the thing, breaking down stigmas, stereotypes, and labels won’t happen overnight. It just can’t because, like I said before, it is instinctually ingrained in us to group similar people together and label them. We want to be safe, period. It’s only inevitable that stigmas set in. However, I truly believe that we are heading in the right direction IF nurtured properly… I just hope we don’t get derailed any time soon.