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Monday, 13 June 2016

The Indian Stereotype Conundrum

If there is anything that bothers me more than bad grammar, then it is the delusional phenomenon that many people believe. I am referring to the habit of stereotyping Indians. In fact, stereotyping any person seems like a stupid thing to do. People tend to get bothered because of being stereotyped. Obviously, this is because no one likes to be judged. Now since the article is based on the Indian perspective, there are two ways in which we Indians face this issue.

STEREOTYPED BY ALIENS:

I know your reaction after reading that heading. Stereotyped by aliens? What’s he on about? Well, when you look at the definition of Aliens you’d be reassured that I am not referring to the ones who don’t live on Earth, but the ones who don’t live in our country. Stereotyped by those who don’t know much about our country but yet pass judgements on us as if they are one of us! Irritates the hell out of you, right? Fair enough.

Contrary to the popular beliefs:

  1. We don’t eat curry and spicy food all the time.
  2. We don’t wobble our heads like Bobbleheads just for the sake of it.
  3. We definitely are not a country of snake charmers.
  4. Our country isn’t smelly! (Debatable)
  5. Not all Indian men are Rapists.
The list is a bit lengthy. But I just pointed out some of the very obvious and nagging ones.



STEREOTYPED BY INDIANS:

The hypocrisy is high with this one. You may try denying this but every Indian does it (exceptions exist of course). We tend to stereotype people from our own country. It is not something we learn separately but it is what we notice in our environment and incorporate it senselessly in our thinking and perceptions.

Again contrary to popular beliefs:

  1. Not every Punjabi person is loud, not every Punjabi is all about booze.
  2. Not every Tamilian eats Idli and Sambhar daily. NOT EVERY SOUTH INDIAN IS MADRASI.
  3. Not every Maharashtrian hates North Indians.
  4. Not every Gujju is all about Dhoklas!
  5. Not every Bengali guy is a ‘Scholar’ and fish lover.

Again, the list is endless. But you get the point, right?

Stereotyping is a much broader concept than what I just mentioned above. It’s not only restricted to your nationality, it goes beyond that. A person is stereotyped on the basis of his/her religion, caste, gender as well. Stereotyping a person is much more harmful to society than we may fathom. It creates an illusion, a fake judgement of a person whom we don’t even know properly. A study shows that whenever a person is stereotyped in his/her workplace, it may affect that person’s performance as a result of the prejudice that is created. It affects more aspects of our life than we can imagine. A person confessed that he didn’t choose a profession of his liking only because of the fear of being stereotyped in the society. What we may laugh off as a joke, some people tend to take it seriously and rightly so. No one has the right to judge you based on what some other person belonging to your caste or gender or religion did in the past.

It is very important to combat this situation. And the good thing is that it can be done. The very first thing we can do is admitting the fact that we do stereotype. Solving the problem starts with its identification. Having an open mind about people and situations and discussing these situations may help raise the seriousness of the issue. While it is pretty difficult to imagine a world where stereotyping doesn’t exist, it is possible to considerably reduce the application of these stereotypes in our day to day life. This will not only help in reducing the unjustified evaluation of individuals but also will give us a broader perspective of the world and life.


Written by Anand JC
Reader. Writer. Teacher. Preacher. Occasional Exerciser. Master Procrastinator ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

 
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