There are several interesting stereotypes spoken to me, as below:
– “You’re asian, so how can you be curly?”
Background stereotype: All asians have long black straight hair.
Any extreme statement with “all, always, never, etc” is very prone to be wrong. If only one of the people in Asia has curly hair then the stereotype already breaks. The fact that I (an asian curly haired girl) exist, without even seeing other people already break the statement.
I am naturally curly, and so does many Indonesians from Java and Eastern Indonesia (Ambon, Moluccas, Papuans, etc). Maybe curly is not a majority in Asia, but again it depends in which part of Asia are you in.
– You’re a girl, why did you choose engineering?
Stereotype: Engineering is not for girls.
I was inspired by a book called “What Einstein didn’t know” which was written by a chemical engineer. I like Math, Chemistry and Physics, so Chemical Engineering kind of came naturally to me. Also, because engineers are cool, right?
I understand that engineering is not popular for girls maybe because it deals with a non-living object, not related directly with people. Engineering branch like environmental, chemical and biomedical engineering has more girls than mechanical engineering because those engineering branch is more social and directly helping people. There is a project to emphasize socially beneficial aspects of engineering to make engineering more interesting for girls.
Right now I am working in process simulator software to design and optimize chemical process. Am I helping people? Maybe not :P, but I like to think yes, at least I am solving problem of the the engineers using our software, and also pointing problem for the developers to improve the software from the user (engineers) view point. Either way the chemical and physical process modeling in the software is really interesting, and I am happy to be part of it.
– I thought asian never cheat in an exam.
Background stereotype: Asians never cheat/do bad things.
Well, thank you for that :), it means when I cheat people will not suspect because I am asian. Unfortunately I must say, Asians are not saints, just like any other race/ethnicity are not saints. Besides, cheating without getting caught up IS a skill 😛
To be fair, before coming to Girona, I also had stereotypes about Spanish people in general:
– People would be wearing matador clothes for man and flamenco dresses for woman, in the street as normal daily clothing, LOL 😛
– The boys would be playing guitar, the women dance flamenco.
– The man will be with big moustache like Salvador Dali, every men look like Antonio Banderas.
– The woman will be with long black wavy hair, red lipstick, and every woman look like Penelope Cruz.
A huge dissapointment for me when people just look, well, normal. 😛
Stereotype is annoying when it is wrong because it leaves people without/with less option. We cannot avoid to not have stereotypes though, our brain is limited and naturally it uses stereotype and generalization on things we don’t know much about. Just realizing that we are prone to mistakes and so we need to remain open on new information. Think of stereotypes as a hypothesis that with an addition of better data, the stereotype hypothesis can be proved right or wrong.
I’d like to end the post with one the best moments in Lord of The Rings. 🙂