Campus stereotypes, and how to avoid them


BY DANA REYNOLDS – STAFF WRITER

Across a campus that claims to strengthen diversity and promote a positive environment for all students, there is still one issue that continues to prevail: stereotyping. Referred to as a cognitive shortcut, stereotyping allows people to make judgments immediately based upon physical characteristics or attributes. Brains are immediately hardwired to make these snap judgments and that is okay; however, it is not acceptable when we start applying stereotypes beyond immediate impulses.

“I would say that they cover this campus,” Senior Jacob Medley said. “There are sometimes negative stigmas associated with each Greek organization. It is sometimes an issue, but I think people generally work past them. It is important to make sure that you are getting to know each individual and not make snap judgments. People usually do not live up to your initial impressions.”

Senior Maggie Kaus added: “I think that they do exist and I, personally, do not pay attention to them. There are stereotypes with athletic team, academic organizations, etc., but I simply ignore them. I have met so many great people on this campus due to the fact that I look past initial stereotypes. Most of the times, the stereotypes associated with each of the organizations on this campus, are wrong.”

Stereotypes continue to unintentionally cause qualified, capable students across Centre’s campus to doubt themselves and their abilities. A person’s abilities and personality cannot be attached to their appearance, Greek affiliation, athletic team, club, or honor society. Yet, this notion still persists on this campus.

But, there is hope: all students can do something to curb the negative effects of stereotypes.

First, acknowledge your own biases/associated stereotypes. This is perhaps the hardest step, but without it, you cannot change.

Next, step out of your comfort-zone and expose yourself to different groups of people. Educating yourself can go a long way in diminishing stereotypes. It is easier to acknowledge how stereotypes are formed when you hang out with people that are different from you, and you might even make new friends!

Finally, raise awareness. We need to realize that this is a problem on Centre’s campus and that it needs to be addressed. Take a stand, spread the word, and encourage your friends to take action.

Junior Chad Carter realizes that stereotypes exist across this campus.

“There are fraternity stereotypes along with sorority stereotypes to a lesser degree. I do not think that this is necessarily a good thing.” Carter said. “However, I am not hurt by them and I have not heard of people being hurt by them. I think that people in general just like being able to categorize other people, which is not really a good thing either.”

Sophomore Vrinda Desai came to the conclusion we should all aspire to: “I personally do not believe in stereotypes, but I do think that they exist on this campus. I try not to make judgments about people until I get to know them.”


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