Sunday, 10 October 2010

A Stereotype for Sunday!

While it's still Sunday, let's pick up a theme from last week.

In an item on the fatal errors of the interview process, one of the clangers that we highlighted was:
The stereotyping effect: Assuming that particular characteristics are typical of members of a particular group. In the case of sex, race, disability, etc. decisions made on this basis are often illegal 
The problem for all of us - not just the interviewer - is that much of our stereotyping is so ingrained in us that we're not even aware when it kicks in.

Here's an example that's been exercising the editor of this esteemed blog over the last week or so:

What sort of person do you think of when you think of the phrase American Evangelical Christian?

Something along the lines of a happy-clappy, mindless, anti-feminist and prejudiced right wing member of the moral majority who sees natural disasters as a manifestation of divine judgement upon those who don't adhere to their particular creed?

I suspect that you wouldn't expect a book written by someone who would describe himself as an American Evangelical Christian to contain an in-depth and non-judgemental coverage of philosophers, writers and artists such as Camus, Derrida, Kant, Kierkegaard, Bernstein, Nietzsche, Pascal, Weber and Marx (Karl not Groucho!)

But that's the sort of content that Tim Keller, founder minister of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan (six thousand attendees spread over five services each weekend) seamlessly weaves into his writing.

Does that say anything to you about your stereotyping and prejudices?

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