July 2017
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racial stereotypes are prejudice & gender (sex stereotypes) is prejudice


Like race, gender is "a human invention whose criteria for differentiation are neither universal nor fixed but have always been used to manage difference." (Katya Mevorach)

When prejudice is based on race/ethnicity (or apparent race/ethnicity), here's what it can look like:

people who look like Caucasians are good business people (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like Africans are good athletes (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like Jews are good with money (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like Asians are good at chess (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like Native Americans are very spiritually aware (subtext: others are less so)

I specified "people who look like" because these beliefs are not based on looking at someone's pedigree or typing their DNA, but rather simply by looking at them; it's not about the blood but just about the look. (and what 'looks like' each one is determined by the looker) I chose the positive prejudices because they are less likely to be recognized as racism (since people think racism is always about hate), yet they are indeed beliefs that race/ethnicity accounts for differences in human character/ability/preferences. Even if such patterns exist, if a person chooses to believe that those trends speak about the individual's innate character/ability (rather than the path which society has created for them), that person is prejudiced. And if that person treats people differently based on these appearance-determined categories, that person is racist.

When prejudice is based on sex (or apparent sex), here's what it can look like:

people who look like men are aggressive and thus good leaders (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like women are submissive and thus good followers (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like men are strong (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like women are sensitive (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like men are good with money (subtext: others are less so)
people who look like women are good with communication (subtext: others are less so)

I specified "people who look like" because these beliefs are not based on looking at someone's genitals or testing their hormone levels, but rather simply by looking at them; it's not about the blood but just about the look. Female humans who wear very short hair, 'masculine' clothing, and no makeup are perceived to be aggressive/strong/practical. Male humans who wear long hair, 'feminine' clothing, and makeup are perceived to be submissive/dainty/communicative. I chose the positive prejudices because they are less likely to be recognized as sexism (since people think sexism is always about hate), yet they are indeed beliefs that sex accounts for differences in human character/ability/preferences. Even if such patterns exist, if a person chooses to believe that those trends speak about the individual's innate character/ability (rather than the path which society has created for them), that person is prejudiced. And if that person treats people differently based on these appearance-determined categories, that person is sexist.

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