Chapter 01: What is a Stereotype? – Excerpt 2

Chapter 01: What is a Stereotype?

I’ve started writing a book about Changing the Face of Christianity. I’ll post excerpts here as I go in order to get your feedback before the book is published. 

How are stereotypes formed in the first place?

The group or people being stereotyped exhibit some consistent behavior. Formal and informal leaders within a group exhibit the behavior and either teach or condone the behavior. Such role models make it safe to perpetuate the behavior within the group.

People within the stereotypical group feed off of one another. In other words, people within a group tend to become more like one another over time through socially reinforced behavior similar to peer pressure. And stereotypes within a group tend to develop and blossom. And over time, people outside the group notice the common behavior.

Once people outside the group notice a consistent trend in behavior by a group, it “goes viral”. Outsiders talk about the group’s idiosyncrasies and even people within the group acknowledge the common experience.

Then, awareness of the stereotype is passed on from one person to another. It’s taught and experienced by those outside the group.

If the stereotype wasn’t pretty accurate or predictive, it would never stick.

But a key to remember here is that the stereotype originates from the group or people being stereotyped. It’s not something that is manufactured without justification by people outside the group. If the stereotype wasn’t pretty accurate or predictive, it would never stick.

[…this chapter will be continued in the next post…]

Please share any comments or constructive feedback below. Thanks. It’s VERY APPRECIATED!

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About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White


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Comments

  1. says

    A good idea! But you must have been doing research day and night for a whole book! Good onya! Well, first chapter sounds very promising, that is a good starter. A stereotype, what I have heard, must be a kind of a mental picture we have of another group and its members. It can come in the shape of a simplified, negative image of the properties of these persons. I think it is also associated with ethnocentrism that involves an overestimation of the own group, combined with segregation, exclusion, discrimination and contempt for other groups. A deep topic. Best wishes and a good luck with your articles and your book.

  2. says

    EDITOR, i WILL NOT AIR MY THOUGHTS ON THIS QUESTION, BUT INSTEAD HOPE FOR YOUR REPLY. IF STEREOTYPING IS NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT, THEN CAN I ASSUME YOU ARE SAYING IT IS THE TRUTH? MANY, THOUGH NOT ALL, KNOW TRUTH AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS DO NOT MIX. IT IS A DECEPTIVE TACTIC USED TO MAKE THE INDIGESTION ,MORE PALATABLE. TUMS FOR THE MIND. SO, YOU ARE SAYING SOME STRAIGHTFORWARD THINGS HERE THEN?

    • says

      John, let me know if my reply doesn’t answer your question. I wasn’t quite sure. As far as this ministry is concerned, I don’t care about political correctness. We are concerned with the truth. The Truth is that Christianity has a negative stereotype…a negative perception in people’s minds. Is that perception correct or not? I believe the perception is more often than not, true. I’m suggesting with this part of my book that Christians created the stereotype/negative perception…based on how we act and what we say. It’s NOT a fabrication dreamed up by people who oppose Christianity or God or religion. And so, it is up to us…committed Christians, to reverse these negative perceptions in the world. We won’t do that by glossing over them. We will do it by addressing them head on, and working to represent a true and authentic expression of our faith by LIVING our faith. We must BE Christians…not just say we are Christians.

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