Archive for oversimplification

What Purpose Do Stereotypes Serve?

Posted in Salon Episodes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2008 by Rick Vanderslice

This salon was recorded Sunday, August 31, 2008, in the Library Nook at Dallas’ Buli Cafe on the Cedar Springs Strip. Today we consider stereotypes, and stereotyping. My dictionary defines stereotype as a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. Gays are flamboyant. Liberals are naive. Blonds are dumb. Bisexuals just can’t make up their minds. This is the age of shorthand language, bumper sticker philosophy, and texting communication over cell phones. With an ever growing torrent of information available to anyone, anytime, anyplace, can we deal with it all? If not, can we organize enough of it to make some sense of our lives and civilization? Are brands and stereotypes devices we use to help us organize and make some sense of the vastness and diversity of civilization today? What are the dangers in oversimplification, in not having correct or enough information? How is our politics defined by the use of stereotypes? To consider what purpose stereotypes serve and what effects they have on society are salon host RICK VANDERSLICE; writer/blogger/poet RJ JACKSON; social/political observer ROY CALHOUN; writer/podcaster JOHN SELIG.

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