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Beware Stereotyping in Politics

Discussion in 'North American Politics' started by Quintessence, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    This coming election cycle is likely to be among the most contentious the United States of America has seen in quite some time. Something common to both Democrats and Republicans is the tendency to stereotype the other side. For those of you who know a few things about human psychology, this should not come as a surprise to you. In-group/out-group biases are well-established in the literature and apply to more than just politics.

    In simple terms, we generally perceive groups we consider ourselves members of (in-group) more favorably and have a strong appreciation of the differences between members of our own group. However, for groups we do not consider ourselves members of (out-group) are disfavored and differences between members of that group are disregarded. In other words, we all tend to negatively stereotype anybody who isn't part of our particular club.
    When it comes to politics, we are especially prone to assuming
    extremes in others.

    If you would like to read up on some research related to this topic please check out this article posted by The Conversation today, which inspired this post:

    Something Democrats and Republicans have in common: Exaggerated stereotypes about both parties

    For those of you who aren't interested in reading the entire article, I'm going to quote what I feel is the most important takeaway from it:

    "....we conducted another experiment to see what would happen when we cleared up these misconceptions for a randomly selected subset of respondents. When we told Democrats, for example, that just a third of Republicans are evangelical, or Republicans that fewer than 10% of Democrats identify as atheist or agnostic, they reported less dislike toward the other side than did “uncorrected” respondents. Party stereotyping thus appears to be one source of fuel for incendiary partisanship."

    This year, take a moment to check your assumptions and your stereotypes, especially if you notice yourself making extreme assumptions about the other sides you don't affiliate with.
     
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  2. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    We've had almost 4 years of Trump, no need for stereotyping. But I remember a classic case of stereotyping when John McCain corrected the 'Arab' stereotype against Obama. But I'm afraid that kind honesty is becoming less and less.
     
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  3. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Stereotyping is a must for the person looking for an ‘enemy’.
    Or a person who wants to control others.
    For instance: Mexicans are rapists. Therefore, we need a wall to keep them out.
     
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  4. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Stereotyping is everyone else's problem, not mine...

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Yes, current political discourse is full of over-the-top stereotypes. It is unfortunate that our own head of state is promoting this, and this is part of why they are such a divisive president. Now more than ever, active listening is critical. And wanting to understand is a crucial step that becomes much more difficult in polarized times.


    [​IMG]
     
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  6. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    Stereotyping is easy to fall in to especially considering confirmation bias. I know I do it from time to time.

    But it's very hard to deal with people who are happy to use stereotypes and to use them to slander people. I tend to "counter punch" with stereotypes when that happens and I'm sufficiently irked.

    But given what is going on in the USA right now, I don't see any way out. The most I hope for is to find a few people who can avoid that even in the midst of policy differences.
     
  7. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member
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    Yes, all Democrats are Socialists or Communists and all Republicans are Fascists or demagogues if you ask. It has gotten ridiculous.
     
  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Stereotyping is related to the broader phenomena of heuristics rather than just confirmation bias. All humans use cognitive shorthands (heuristics) when processing information or making decisions. These shorthands are tremendously useful in our day-to-day lives in spite of their propensity for being error-prone. Only if these errors are frequent enough or maladaptive enough is it worthwhile to alter our shorthands. We latch onto stereotypes because they are good enough for the job, require little effort, and don't cause us that many problems. By sticking a cognitive shorthand on them, it means we can just stop thinking about them or trying to really communicate with them. No big loss, in many cases, but that can come back to bite us later. If it does, that's when most of us can actually be bothered to reconsider our stereotypes.

    Stereotyping gets in the way of us all getting along. Whether we like it or not, Republicans and Democrats currently happen to occupy the same country and living spaces. It's not good enough to go "that's just some schmuckity shmuck whatzahoozit" and turn our brains off. No, you probably had your groceries packed by one of "those people" this week, or work with one of "those people" in your office or classroom... they're just everywhere. Consider that before bandying about hurtful political slogans this season. I've seen some already this season that I refuse to repeat lest I grant them more power than they deserve. This is your neighbors you're talking about. Be a good neighbor, not a jerk.
     
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  9. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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    Stereotypes, generalizations, etc. are kind of like weapons. You know they're BS, but you don't want to lay yours down while they "enemy" still has theirs.
     
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  10. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Have you done much study about heuristics (see here for what is meant by this term)? This observation is not consistent with contemporary psychology.
     
  11. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    I'm a huge fan of active listening. However, I cannot honestly say that electioneering is the place that it's going to prove of any use at all. Candidates already have their "talking points" lined up and memorized, and listen only enough to the other side to enable them to select the best, pre-canned answer.

    (I remember in Canada's 1993 election, Kim Campbell, running for the Conservatives, said that "an election is no time to discuss serious issues." She was mightily taken to task for this, but I think that she was quite right. A Canadian election is usually only about a month long, maybe 6 weeks. And you can't do justice to serious issues in noisy town halls and stump speeches in that amount of time.)

    But this I am now sure that I do know, from what I've observed so far:
    • The Democrats and Republicans now cannot talk to one another in public (though I suspect they still manage in back rooms)
    • Within the Democratic party, during these primaries, those who "feel the Bern" aren't listening to anybody but Sanders -- and seemingly won't
    And I most sinceriously wish that they would...and respond in kind. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, would be better off.
     
  12. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I'd keep in mind that loud, obnoxious voices get a lot of attention and drown out the rest of us. Sanders supporters aren't nearly so heterogenous. Remember, check your stereotypes. :D

    (To add - I caucused for Sanders; I'm definitely not ignoring everybody else).
     
  13. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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  14. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    What about those who believe that Democrats and Republicans are both evil?
     
  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I am the one who naps.
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    Someone will always wield the weapon.
    This means that you'll always do the same.
    I see more choice in the matter.
     
  16. ecco

    ecco Well-Known Member

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    Recognizing and understanding that Donald Trump is a narcissistic pathological liar is not stereotyping.

    Knowing the nature of the people who support Donald Trump is not stereotyping.
     
  17. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Then you'd most likely be engaging in stereotyping of roughly two-thirds of the population of the United States. Considering how maladaptive that would be for your life, color me skeptical that your belief translates into meaningful day-to-day action.

    Brings up another point, actually - don't worry too much about what people believe. If ideology doesn't translate into meaningful behaviors, what people believe is pretty irrelevant.


    Of course it isn't, unless you are concluding that this person is a "narcissistic pathological liar" based on their membership in a particular group or category of people.


    Now, this *is* an example of stereotyping. For everyone's benefit, let's remember what stereotyping is.

    Stereotyping involves over-generalizations about entire groups or categories of people, then applying those over-generalizations to all individuals we perceive to be within that category. It is typically a trivial matter to find counterexamples of stereotypes. People who supported Trump or Hillary in the last election cycle don't have some homogenous "nature." Asserting that they do is a stereotype.
     
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  18. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    You forgot to include Evangelicals.

    Thought I might help you out a bit. ;0)
     
  19. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    So what happens if the stereotype can be backed up by evidence?

    Is it still stereotyping?
     
  20. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member
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    Not all stereotypes are bad, and some can be accurate.
    Why Not All Stereotypes Are Bad
     
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