Stereotypes damages STA, blinds students from real life and the opportunity to grow together as classmates and sisters. | MAIN EDITORIAL
People who attend private schools are snobs. Teens who play sports are stupid. Students who excel in honor classes are geeks. The kids who wear dark clothing are Goths. Women are weak. Children who attend inner city schools live in ‘the ghetto.’Â
Stereotypes are all around us. They can be found in the media, school, or between individuals. In today’s society stereotypes are just the beginning of a cycle of cruelty and discrimination.
Ã‚Â Dr. Bailey Jackson, a professor at the University of Massachusetts lists the reasons for this cycle. According to his work entitled ‘Cycle of Prejudice and Oppression’Â [the cycle] begins when a person is born into a society. This person is then exposed to a systematic training where they are taught by myths, stereotypes, misinformation, missing information and a biased history. These thoughts only continue to be taught and reinforced by family and friends, religious institutions, the media, the government and cultural ‘Ëœstandards.’
Eventually, these thoughts are internalized by a person and they begin to believe that the stereotypes and lies are the truth, seeing differences among humans as a negative thing. The reason why this cycle is rarely broken is because of the societal message that most are raised with is ‘do not make waves and do not challenge the status quo’Â Jackson wrote.
The bottom line is that when a person immediately jumps to a conclusion about another, they are robbed of the opportunity to expand their comfort zones when meeting someone new. Our DNA makeup and human nature makes it essential that we group people into categories and make assumptions about them. People depend on stereotypes to make it through the day. By placing people in their own classes, such as the freaks, geeks, and the popular kids, our minds are put to ease thinking we understand that person’s general personality.
What stereotypes do outsiders have of STA? The most common ones heard are that we are preppy, pretentious, feminists and promiscuous girls. Ã‚Â Usually comments about being spoon-fed are made, but I wonder if these outsiders know just how many students that attend STA are here on scholarships or who pay for their tuition themselves. STA provides over $400,000 yearly in financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Another common theme that arises from stereotypes about STA and most private schools is that the students are sheltered. It begs the question: are we missing out on real lessons in our life because we do not attend a school with a high diversity level? This is not to say that we do not have an ethnically diverse student body, rather we are not as exposed than if our school had been publicly run.Ã‚Â
As a single-sex school, the STA student body is constantly faced with being labeled as a bunch of feminists. Although STA has the staple of empowering young women and minds, it is a little radical to label a whole student body as being feminist. This title may be true for some, but not for all.Ã‚Â
Stereotypes are a common part of everyday life. Yet, the mere existence of them damages our view of people, places, and communities. They blind us from real life and the opportunity to grow together, as classmates and sisters. So think twice, STA, before we allow stereotypes to guide our judgment.