Our brains are hardwired to categorize things. It is a function for survival, but human beings and society has evolved and this disposition to stereotype and pigeonhole things can be a disservice to our modern-day human interactions. Commercials do it, TV shows and movies do it too. Stereotypes have gotten less hurtful over the years as people speak up, voice their opinion, and educate others on the negative consequences that such stereotypes can have.
So once you acknowledge and understand that we all have some kind of stereotypes ingrained in our mind due to the bombardment of stereotypical media since our childhoods, what can you do about it? Well, here are four easy action steps you can begin with:
1). Instead of just focusing on the differences between cultures, find the similarities too. For example, most cultures have a form of martial art, but they all vary in style and technique depending on the culture. Appreciate both the similarities & differences. We all have weaknesses & strengths; it is only through teamwork and solidarity that we go further as a global society.
2). Remind yourself that you would not want people stereotyping you as a way to check yourself when you find yourself stereotyping someone.
3). Learn about the cross-cultural solidarity movements throughout history. The United States has a vibrant and rich history of cultures coming together and supporting one another to fight for all of their rights.
4). Learning does not have to be boring! You can learn about all this stuff through movies, documentaries, music, art, dance, traveling, etc. Get up, get off of your computer, and go explore & enjoy our diverse world firsthand!