Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Stereotypes are fun in groups: Act I

One thing which almost everyone can agree on is that stereotypes and judging people swiftly without knowing how they are as people is fun and enjoyable. Why bother learning about people when you can makeup much more interesting "facts" about them? The remarkable thing as we've all learned from empirical evidence is that more often than not our stereotypes are true. Germans really do not have feelings. Asians really cannot drive. All desis really do have an inclination to keep the original manufacturer stickers on all their electronic products. This is my opinion and a fact.

As such the following conversation at work should further elucidate the matter. The characters are me played by "me," my "Boss," and "Polish guy."

[stage directions: three characters are speaking to one another from their desks]
Boss: Hey "Polish Guy," you're really smart, why do people make so much fun of Polish people?
Polish Guy: Why they make fun of Polish? I do not know this. All the Polish people I know are rather smart.
Boss: So why do they make fun of Poles?
Polish Guy: I do not know this. It makes no sense
Me: So what you're saying is that Polish submarines don't have screen doors?
Polish Guy: What? No. I do not even know what our submarines are like
Boss: snicker
Me: So what you're saying is that Polish firing squads do not form a circle?
Polish Guy: Wait, what? Why would they stand in a circle? Would they not just shoot each other?
Boss: snicker
Me: Well I think every culture has a group they make fun of for no logical reason.
Boss: Who do Indians use?
Me: Well I guess it's Sardarji's. People who like wear turbans from northern India.
Boss: Whoa
Polish Guy: Are they like Polish people?
Me: Yes and no.
Boss: What do they say?
Me: Well all sorts of things. Along with the typical dumb jokes, people also say that they go crazy at midnight. Once they see stars they go bonkers.
Boss: Is it true?
Me: Well judging from how I've seen them at late night parties and whatnot, I would say the midnight-part is pretty accurate actually.
Polish Guy: Whoa.
[stage directions: all characters exit stage right]

See in this "fictionalized" conversation, we can see that stereotypes helped bring three different types of people closer together and enhance their understanding of other people. I think the results pretty much speak for themselves.

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