Effects of Stereotyping Living in America we deal with a lot of diversity, especially those in the criminal justice field where situations caused by religion can lead to a problem. Stereotypes are ideas held by some individuals about members of particular groups, based solely on membership in that group. Stereotyping is one of the biggest problems that we deal with, particularly in law enforcement.
Stereotype threat can result in a self-fulfilling insight whereby a person comes to resemble his or her reputation, living up or down to social expectations.Over the years there have been many allegations of police officers accused of going after individuals and accusing them of a crime based on the sole fact of what their religious beliefs might be. This has been going on for a long time; however in recent years, it has gotten worse. The main job of police officers is to uphold the law, not to break it.
Although stereotyping is not against the law, police officers have taken an oath to protect all human beings, regardless of their race or religion and stereotyping based on religion should not take place.Just because an individual is of a certain race does not give us the right to stereotype them as a bad human being. Thus stereotyping one’s religious beliefs is wrong, and it goes against what America is all about, that everyone is equal. According to Fred Edmund Jandt (2003), the word “stereotype” was first used to show that judgments made about individuals on the origin of their racial background. Today the expression is more commonly used to pass on to events made on the basis of a groups association.Psychologists have attempted to give explanations of stereotyping as errors that our brains make in the judgment of other people that are related to those mistakes our brains make in the view of illustration illusions. According to one APA expert, “When information is blurred, the brain frequently reaches the incorrect conclusion” (Jandt, 2003, p.
77). According to Bumgarner (2007), “The differences between profiling and stereotyping are as follows: profiling is defined as being based on observable behaviors, while stereotyping is defined as being based on human perception and judgment of those behaviors. There is a very fine line between those actions. When profiling is practiced legitimately by police officers, the accuracy of profiling is very high.
Profiling is fact based and is intended to increase law enforcement efficiently while avoiding bias and prejudice. Although many may think of stereotypes as being negative judgment, they can also be positive. Some people hold positive stereotypes of other individuals based on their professional group membership or religious beliefs.I believe that stereotypes are extremely harmful in the fact that they delay communication in at least four different ways that I have found. They cause us to assume that a widely-held belief is true when it may not be. A common example on how Americans view Arabs is that they are wealthy, barbaric, and terrorist minded (Jandt, 2003, p. 78).
Stereotypes also slow down communication when they cause us to believe that a widely held belief is true of any on individual, such as if a group is stereotyped as lying. That does not mean that any one individual in that group is lying.We tend to look at the big picture instead of the small one, such as just because an individual is a member of a specific group or religion may be they don’t share all of the same beliefs as the other members do. In order to provide effective law enforcement, agencies need to know the importance of stereotyping. One program that I read about that, which is sponsored by the U.
S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service offered a seminar that was designed to teach law enforcement agencies about Arab, Muslim and Sikh cultures.When officers were asked when you hear the term “Arab” what do you think, many gave examples of people and slang names. However when urged to include stereotypes one man responded with “terrorist”. Most Americans have negative images of Arabs and Muslims because of pop culture and media promoting stereotypes. Not all Arabs are Muslim, 42 percent of Arab Americans are Catholic. Another program that was taught by a former Muslim gave insight to law enforcement agencies around the country on Arab naming conventions, the five pillars of Islam, and the fast on Ramadan.The instructor believes linking any faith to violence and criminal activity creates the potential for stereotyping and could lead to an increase in religious and ethnic profiling.
He urges law enforcement agencies that the course offers accurate and balance information on Islam and Muslims. (Mental Health Law Weekly, 2008) So, while stereotyping seems to be a natural function of people and can aid us in understanding groups as a whole, stereotyping does not allow for individual differences.Stereotyping allows people to discriminate and commit various atrocities against all kinds of peo ple. It allows us to pass laws that actually damage groups of people and prevents us from learning real information about real people. What people should be focused on is getting to know each other as individuals and practicing respect rather than stereotyping others and using that to justify other terrible actions.
As a human race, we should be fighting against unfairness of stereotypes. Let’s not forget that America was founded on that everyone is equal, we still have a long way to go.However I believe that we are on the right track, and with the proper training and information I think that we will be able to stop stereotyping and have everyone treated the same. References Anonymous. (2008, June 7).
Council on American-Islamic Relations; Seattle Muslims Urge Balance in Police Training on Islam. Mental Health Law Weekly, 17. Retrieved October 29, 2008. doi:1486406751 Bumgarner, J. (2007). Psychological models of stereotyping and profiling in law enforcement: How to increase accuracy by using more non-racial clues. Journal of Crime & Justice, 30(1), 87. Shukovsky, P.
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