As long as we have fiction, we will continue to have stereotypes.
I know. That’s a pretty bold statement to start off a Monday. I’m basically saying that we will never stop judging and assuming one’s character based on certain traits and characteristics and mannerisms. Well, as long as we keep writing books anyway.
X drove a Mercedes. When you read that sentence, what does the word Mercedes bring to the story that car doesn’t? Wealth, privilege, debt, flash?
If I said X drove a Mercedes, wore a pinky ring and Italian leather loafers what do you see in your mind?
I I said X drove a Mercedes, wore a Swiss watch and donned bright white tennis sneakers, what do you picture in your mind?
If I said that X drove a 1972 Mercedes, wore birkenstocks and no jewelry, what would that tell you?
If you thought gangster, WASP and hippie are you stereotyping? Are you assuming the final tally based on the digits, even though I never used the words gangster, WASP or hippie?
Are you an old fashioned stereotyper? Or are you just deciphering clues?
Is the whole process of show not tell an exercise in how to stereotype?
I watched a medical drama last night. The character in the hospital bed said “Girl, you have to see the Doctor, He fly.” If you read that line of dialogue in a book, would you make any assumptions about the character? Would it be stereotyping if you made an assumption about the speaker of that dialogue?
When we read fiction do we make assumptions based on description? I wrote in one of my passages last week “couch with welcoming back support”. I was, as someone said, trying to denote that the speaker was at least in middle age. Young people never look at a piece of furniture and wonder about it’s comfort, or how easy it will be to get in or out of it…but some older people do. Not every person of a certain age thinks about the comfort of a chair…but some do… Is it wrong to guess the character I was describing was oldish?
So, do we rid our lives of fiction so that we can lead a life with no judging others based on characteristics?
Or do we just learn to deal with the fact that humans stereotype, always have stereotyped and always will?