A few months ago my sister was in town with my eight year old niece. We were talking about the college experience, as this was weeks before my daughter set sail. The conversation went something like this:
Sister: As long as you don’t join a sorority you’ll be fine. Sorority girls are all two faced and nasty and will stab you in the back. My ex husband was in a frat and whenever we met up with his college friends those girls were always mean to me. Every sorority girl I ever met was horrible.To my niece she said You will never join a sorority.
To be clear, on a political scale, my sister is far left….you can’t get much farther left. So this particular statement sort of stopped me. When her daughter was off with my daughter I asked her:
Me: What happens if you replace sorority with Jew? Or black? Or Finnish? Are those the statements you ever want your daughter to make about an entire group?
We all make generalizations and stereotypes.
We. All. Do.
If we don’t want group A to be stereotyped, then we conversely can’t stereotype group B.
We have to be really careful about the messages that we send our children. They pick up our bad habits just as easily as they pick up our good ones.
Before you make a blanket statement using “never” or “all” consider what you’re grouping together- are they really all the same? I’d like to say that all chairs have four legs. but I’ve seen three legged chairs…