Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Missing Stereotypes

Posted on December 3, 2010

I think we all admit that stereotypes are useful shortcuts. How could we make it through our complicated, modern lives without relying upon constant, knee-jerk assumptions? But, I've noticed quite some glaring gaps in ethnic, religious, and political stereotypes. I can't understand how important decision-making tools have been allowed to lapse.

For instance, I have no idea how French people drive. Are they slow, conscientious drivers or listless speed demons? What should I blindly infer about the driving skills of a Frenchman? If anyone knows the stereotype for French drivers, please rate them on a scale between female Asian drivers to male German drivers.

Are Norwegians good at fly fishing? Bad at polo? How are they at playing the harp?

Are Argentinians naturally skilled at calculus?

Are Jews better or worse than Catholics at jigsaw puzzles?

Do people from Laos enjoy onion rings?

These are important questions, people. If I don't get some answers, I'm afraid I'll be paralyzed next time I'm in a social situation with someone different than me. What if I meet an Egyptian? Should I go in for a fist bump, or are Egyptians hand shakers? I NEED TO KNOW!

Sorry. I get nervous without my prejudices. It's as though I'm wrapped in a security blanket of illogical half-thought, and I just discovered it's laden with holes.

Without stereotypes, what would you suggest I do--judge a man on the measure of his character? Do you how much time and small talk that would take? No thank you.

I'll just go back to watching television commercials, thank you very much. Ooh, look, there's a McDonalds commercial with a young black man enjoying jazz. That's nice.

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