Social neuroscience today provides evidence for the neurological basis of stereotypical or generalized beliefs about certain groups of people. Human brains are predisposed to categorize the vast array of information coming in every second, and to look for patterns and associations, to oversimplify the world. While compartmentalization of incoming information can facilitate memory reclamation and data management, it unfortunately also gives rise to prejudice and discrimination.
Ultimately, the expectations about specific groups engraved in our minds lead to our ignoring the individual attributes in the evaluation lei in terms of the whole group. Negative stereotypes have also been shown to sow doubt in victims of stereotypical sections, leading to a threat of stereotyping, whereby people internalize negative stereotypes about themselves; in some cases, inducing behaviors that ultimately reflect the original stereotype through a process recognized as self-fulfilling prophecy.
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What are the causes of these types of discrimination and prejudice?
Probably the most threatening non-traditional security threat in the world today stems from the human mind’s propensity to discriminate on the basis of stereotypes. Whether it’s anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe, racism and xenophobia in North America, or classism and bigotry in the Arabian Peninsula, or casteism and ethnic division in South Asia, or in the whole world ; the tendency to separate people as endogroups and outgroups has time and time again shown to easily transcend levels of violence.
Whether our brain is inclined to seek membership in a group in order to formulate a social identity or whether this phenomenon is simply the result of cultural conditioning; for the sake of world harmony, justice and friendship, there is a cardinal requirement to learn to separate individuals from stereotypes in our minds and to consider them for their personal characteristics. While current scenarios all over the planet paint a grim picture for the future of our civilization, research suggests, human minds are able to reverse implicit negative biases through cognitive restructuring, metacognition, and education.
Planet Earth is home to nearly 7.9 billion people, affiliated with nearly 5,000 ethnic groups who find solace in 4,300 distinct religions and speak some 6,500 different languages. Although there may be a concept of definite races, their boundaries are largely obscured and most people, due to migration and integration, are amalgamations of several races and give our world their unique presence. The wide variety of genotypes spawning equally diverse phenotypes in tandem with distinctive cultures and historical identifications not only shed light on a billion stories about the history of our civilization, but also increase our prospects for survival and ensure continuity in as a species. The erasure of a peril that symbolizes intellectual regression and defames a concept that contributed to our triumph in the evolutionary arms race, therefore falls to us.
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How to crush these stereotypes?
The first step towards breaking stereotypes is to doubt objectivity and increase self-awareness about them. Cognitive restructuring techniques involving self-reflection can lead people to discover inconsistencies in their behavior when there is cognitive dissonance; triggering unease and anxiety which can then be a motivation for the development of rational attitudes. Once the stereotypes are known, one can actively try to replace the original stereotype with non-stereotypical thought using a stereotype replacement strategy.
Another technique to combat implicit negative biases is anti-stereotypical imagery, where one uses one’s sense of the imagination to visualize in detail a person or situation that goes against the original stereotype. Alternatively, one can take advantage of examples from one’s life that represent the opposite of this stereotype. One more step would be to practice perspective taking where you understand what it would be like to step into the shoes of a stereotypical group. Or imagine respectful ways of living, however briefly, the life of someone from a marginalized community.
Since new studies indicate that both implicit and explicit biases are in place by the time children are three years old and early childhood is formative in developmental bias; efforts should ideally be implemented earlier to be more effective and produce long-term effects. Evidence suggests that children who complete a training method called perceptual individuation, designed to provide children with experiences that enhance their expertise in dealing with individual faces of another race, display significantly reduced implicit racial biases compared to levels prior to the exercise. This technique can also be used by adults to produce more individualized perceptions of members of other groups and to avoid generalizations for making judgments.
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Proven Interventions to Combat Stigma are a Positive Contact
Developing opportunities that simply enhance interactions between groups has been shown to nullify stereotypical associations and decrease bias. On a larger scale, in addition to taking measures to make the norms against prejudice conventional; amplifying the representation and visibility of people from minority groups and creating a critical mass in various departments redefine the boundaries of groups and consolidate a multicultural ethic that unequivocally values diversity.
Human beings can undoubtedly be classified into disparate categories such as race, sex, religion and ethnicity. While careful examination of these categories from a sociological and anthropological perspective may inform us of the science of evolution in relation to climate and assimilation, and complement historical research among others, perhaps the the most rewarding takeaway that can impact all of us is the mesmerizing beauty of it all. diversity brings into our lives.
A homogeneous world; where everyone looked the same, wore a comparable style of dress, conversed in the same dialect, and practiced identical beliefs and traditions certainly wouldn’t have much of its current aesthetic appeal. The same variations among humanity that humans have exploited to justify violence and discrimination for centuries, make our otherwise mundane presence intriguing and fascinating. A paradigm shift in perspective, aiming for a moral ascent complementary to the millennia of cognitive evolution that our species has known; It is therefore imperative to see the beauty where one discerns the eccentricity worthy of discrimination and banishment.
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After all, in the midst of all the madness in the wavering world of politics and science, one of the most remarkable constant sources of beauty is the charm of diversity; whether it is derived from the 369,000 different species of flowering plants or the idiosyncratic mosaic patterns of certain feline coats or the characteristic forms, attributes and practices of Homo Sapiens, each inspiring awe and wonder in its own way.
The writer is a biomedical student with a passion for social justice and equality. She can be reached at [email protected] The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.