Stereotypes are a strange thing. We all do it whether on a racist level (not so great), belief in a brand name (not all designer fashion is high quality though outrageously expensive), categorizing people (labeling of people is so small minded) and uh ….. Can’t think of anything else at the moment without getting into the less than 100 word details.
Although I consider myself a global citizen, I stereotype too. It helps to sort the mess of this world as well as the virtual world. Label, tag and bag (well not literally). For example I stereotype Indians (no not the Native Americans – the Indians, you know – from India). They all have these red dots on their foreheads, speak with a funny accent (actually quite adorable), smell like a spice market and swing their heads while talking……
No seriously, I might have labeled you (if you’re an Indian) but you still have not been tagged and bagged. I have an open mind – I really do! If you (the Indian or person with an Indian name) come to me, I will see you primarily as a human, your gender (is that still relevant?), notice your accent and then I’ll ask you if you can teach me how to make the perfect roti prata. I have already completely forgotten that I had labeled you “Indian – smells like curry”.
I remember my high school in Singapore, United World College of SEA and how I once was told I could not be part of a group of fellow classmates because I had Chinese friends (that were in the same school). I did? I do? Who? I was stupefied, to say the least, and could not figure out, of all the people I knew, who was Chinese. That was my problem. I did not see people for their race or skin color, because (like me) it means absolutely nothing. I am blonde, light skinned and have green eyes. My name might indicate that I am a Westerner (what a strange title). But I was born in Taipei, Taiwan to a father who was born in Jombang, Java, Indonesia whose father was born in Padang Panjang, Sumatra, Indonesia. Yes we are one complicated family. I’ve been molded by generations of ancestors living outside of their native country and (myself) living outside my…. uh…. um….. native country? What native country?
So don’t label me Dutch (I never lived there), I don’t think the Dutch consider me Dutch. And don’t label me German (although my Mom is German and I did live in Germany), most Germans think me a very strange specimen of a German. And don’t label my friends Chinese!