Chapter 02: How Are Stereotypes Changed? – Excerpt 4

Chapter 02: How are Stereotypes Changed?

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.

I’m going to repeat something I mentioned earlier. Stereotypes CAN change over time. Stereotypes are impacted daily by people who reinforce the stereotype or who often unconsciously work to shape it in a different direction.

So, here is what I believe about stereotypes and the nature of their changeability.

When culture, what you’ve been taught, and what you have learned indirectly, agrees with your own personal experience with a group, that stereotype will be like an unmovable glacier in the middle of an ice age.

No one could convince you to change your mind about a group. You might hear reports of people who are different, but you will dismiss such reports as urban legend. You might even report such exceptions to for investigation.

But, take the case where everything you have been taught does NOT match up with your direct, personal experience. Which side wins? I will testify here that you will always trust your own experience over what you’ve been taught.

But, take the case where everything you have been taught does NOT match up with your direct, personal experience. Which side wins? I will testify here that you will always trust your own experience over what you’ve been taught.

You may second guess yourself. You might not have firm convictions yet. But, if your personal experience consistently defies the stereotype you have been taught, you will shake up and erase your former stereotypical image like an Etch A Sketch, and replace it with your own evolving picture. And for those of you in a younger generation, it’s like editing a picture with a drawing app where you tap the erase button to start over.

When your experience is different than what you’ve been taught, instead of a glacier in the middle of an ice age, the stereotypical image in your mind will melt away like mountain snow at the beginning of spring.

 […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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  1. Chris Eggert-Rosenthal says

    I will disagree a bit. I grew up past WWII and there was a definite Asian issue it as I grew up I did change my opinion before I actually ever saw a real person of that descent. This was largely due to the teachings of a very astute teacher that applied logic to his teaching I did however form a negative stereotype of my own after an extremely negative experience with an ethnic group in a work setting This experience has stayed with me for decades forcing me to be very vigilant in my professional interactions This self learned stereotype is definitely strongest

  2. Ron Neeley says

    Brad, a thought about your last paragraph, “when your experience is different than what you’ve been taught…” As with everything in the Christian life, Jesus gives us the example we are to follow. I’ve often taught in Bible studies that Jesus most definitely had a sense of humor; look at the guys He picked as apostles! But that’s the point…..fishermen, tax collector, terrorist against Rome; guys that normally would never be seen in each other’s company. Can you imagine how Matthew (Roman collaborator) and Simon the Zealot (Roman enemy) got along in the beginning? Yet as they traveled and were taught by the Master, their experience was different from what they’d been taught all their lives. Probably doesn’t mean there weren’t some “macho” moments occasionally! So, how are stereotypes changed? Christ showed us what we are to do; if we insist on our own agendas, it won’t work. But if we are His disciples & love Him, we will do what John 14:15 says.

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