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Identifying Race-Based Stereotypes and Myths

Race-based stereotypes and myths pose a great threat to racial equality. That’s because they can lead to prejudice and hatred, which, in turn, lead to discrimination against entire ethnic groups. The people who make up any given racial group are so unique that no generalization can capture who they are. In short, race-based stereotypes are dehumanizing.

To deconstruct stereotypes, it’s important to know how they work, identify the most common ones and understand which behaviors contribute to ethnic stereotyping. Racism won’t go away until the racial myths that fuel it do. 

What is a stereotype? Stereotypes are qualities assigned to groups of people related to their race, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, to name a few. There are negative race-based stereotypes and positive race-based stereotypes. But because they generalize groups of people in manners that lead to discrimination and ignore the diversity within groups, stereotypes should be avoided.

Instead, judge individuals based on your personal experiences with them and not on how you believe people from their ethnic group behave. Giving in to stereotypes can lead to people being treated poorly in stores, turned down for loans, overlooked in school and a host of other problems. More »

Want to know what some of the oldest race-based stereotypes in the U.S. are? Take a look at some of the products in your kitchen. Racial stereotypes and myths have long been used in food advertising to market everything from rice, pancakes and bananas. 

Do any of the items in your cupboards promote racial stereotypes? The items on this list may change your mind about what constitutes a racist food product. On the other hand, many advertisers have updated their packaging over the years to reflect more contemporary times. More »

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