On stereotypes I wish did not exist

Updated on May 5, 2022 for clarification and formatting.

RBHS students respond to the question “What is a stereotype you wish didn’t exist [for your race].

Photo by Sarah Mosteller.

Amya Carson, sophomore

“The biggest racial stereotype I’ve encountered and wish we could erase is that black people don’t care about school and that we have no work ethic. I’ve seen this stereotype in a lot of places where people underestimate our work ethic. This is especially visible with black students who come from low-income families because the students have to work so hard outside of school that it becomes hard to balance schoolwork. This stereotype has definitely impacted me because I’ve had people assume that I’m just dumb and that I don’t care about school. Yeah, I just wish our community could erase that negative stereotype.”

 

Riya Amin, freshman

“People assume I’m smart because of my race. Which I mean, I kind of am, but I holds me to unreachable standards. I’m the student who’s supposing to become “A doctor, or get a scholarship,” But that’s not where my life’s heading.”

Photo by Alma Jarbou.

Gram Coalier, freshman

“Probably the homophobic nature…not only a few certain people are, but they might think that white people are somewhat homophobic, we’re not. And it really annoys me whenever I see people stereotype that, even they are not. And it really annoys me when people are stereotyping and it’s really stupid and bias.”

Photo by Brandon Kim.

John Golzy, freshman

“One stereotype I wish never existed is the notion that all people from the Middle East are terrorists. I just get really angry when people make a terrorist joke and feel unhappy about how ignorant people are.”

Photo by Sarah Mosteller.

Bet Menen, sophomore

“There are two really big stereotypes that I think black people face. One of them being that we are aggressive or just some sort of violent creatures of nature. People think we are more likely to fight, argue, cause trouble, or fall into aggressive tendencies. The other stereotype black people face is that we aren’t smart enough and that isn’t always necessarily true. That isn’t true for all circumstances, and that can only be judged individually. We fall into titles of being aggressive and dumb and people think that we’re just gonna start fighting. When in reality these negative stereotypes are just inaccurate setbacks.”

Photo by Brandon Kim.

Daniel Kang, sophomore

“One stereotype about Asians that I don’t like is how people assume that we are all so smart. Not all Asians are smart. Not all Asians have A’s. Some cannot hold up to the high standard people place and I wish people understood that.”

Photo by Sarah Ding.

Madison Moller, sophomore

“People should stop assuming that all white people like country music. Each individual has a unique taste of music and that stereotype should be eliminated.”

Photo by Mariah Blackburn.

Piper Page, senior

“A big (stereotype) is that black women are aggressive and angry. Some people often think black women don’t have mental health issues and for that reason black women and children are more likely to be turned away by hospitals or not be offered assistance. So basically black women suffer from mental illnesses and then don’t do anything about it because they’re scared hospitals and clinics won’t help them anyways and that largely based on the idea that black people don’t suffer from mental illnesses to the same extreme that white people do which is untrue.”

Billah Harvey, junior

“That we’re all drug dealers, listen to rap music, kids should not go to our house because of safety reasons. It bothers me because it makes black people look bad or that we don’t work hard enough.”

Natalie Peng, junior

“One stereotype I would erase about my race would be squinty eyes that everyone identifies Asians as. This stereotype bothers me because people make fun of Asians because of their eyes and when people think about Asians they think about squinty eyes and they think Asians are all smart. Not all Asians are smart and so they need to stop thinking this.”

Photo by Liam Peck.

Isaac Aguero, sophomore

“In my life I’ve been asked multiple times ‘I thought you’re supposed to know Spanish’ both as a joke and almost seriously. It bothers me because you wouldn’t say that to anyone else because its inconsiderate.”

Photo by Ethan Vanderwert.

Bertie Binfield, freshman

“I think that there is a certain stereotype around white people that we are all very smart and successful and we know we all come from very good households. I kinda fit into that; I also feel that there is a lot of people that don’t come from that background and have life a lot harder than a lot of people think.”

Photo by Anjali Noel Ramesh.

 

Rebecca Perez, freshman

“One stereotype that I would want to erase is that all middle-eastern people are Muslim. I am from the middle-east, and I’m a Christian. My race shouldn’t have anything to do with my religion because that is what I believe in. This stereotype bothers me because when other Christians ask about my ethnicity, they give me a weird look when I say I’m from the middle-east. I don’t want people to judge me because I have a different religion from what people think I have. I get to choose what I believe in, but at the same time I don’t want to be looked at differently.”

Photo by Anjali Noel Ramesh.

Jannah Elkomy, freshman

“One stereotype I would want to change about is Arabs. Arab men are NOT aggressive and women are NOT abuse or overworked. This bothers me because the way someone acts is not by culture. Also I think it’s crazy to think that all Arab men are aggressive and that’s just a fact. They really aren’t and people need to stop thinking they act the same way that people think they act. One stereotype I would want to erase is that Asian does NOT mean Chinese. I am from Asia as a continent but that doesn’t mean I follow Chinese culture. I have different beliefs and values because I’m from a different country in Asia. I don’t want people to think “China” when I say I’m from Asia, because I want them to understand that I’m not Chinese.”

Ben Xu, freshman

“My least favorite stereotype about my race is that we are all really good at math. It bothers me because it makes it seem like if you’re bad at math you’re a bad Asian.”

Akhil Elangovan, freshman

“My least favorite stereotype about my race is the expectation that we are all going to be doctors or something. It bothers me because it gives me a label before I’ve even decided what I want to be.”

Abbie Sivaraman, freshman

“I’m going to answer for Asians in general; we aren’t all smart…we aren’t all good at math, we aren’t all good at science. It just like frustrates me that people always expect me to be good at everything and be smart just because I’m Asian. It’s hard when you’re not always good, I’m not good at math. It stresses me out and I don’t like that stereotype, because it just adds more pressure to myself.”

Photo by Liam Peck.

Cameron Thompson, senior

“I think people should be more aware about how they condemn black people for exhibiting the same behaviors that they celebrate in non-black people. People hear black people talking in AAVE and call it ‘ghetto’, but when white people do it, its a trend. People see black people dressing a certain way and automatically assume that they are poorer or less educated, until white people start dressing the same way and it makes all the headlines. Rap music is ‘the devil’s music’ until white people start listening to it, and they decide it’s not. Anything that is uniquely ‘black’ has a negative connotation until other cultures adopt it and suddenly decide it’s acceptable. I think it all comes down to the stereotype that black people are less educated and less respectable. Whitewashing culture is a real problem, but an even bigger problem is condemning black cultures on black people, then celebrating white people when they do the same thing.”

Jocelyn Ash, junior

“The stereotype I get most criticized about isn’t the common, ‘Oh, you’re Asian, you must be a genius’ or, ‘since you’re Asian you must only be good at academics and everything else in the academic area’ but instead, I get criticized about how I look. Due to the fact that I wear more western clothing instead of traditional Asian clothing, they assume I’m a whitewashed Asian who rejected my culture. It is a false statement that needs to be relooked at when coming up with stereotypes about Asians who are dealing with this problem. Many of the people who assume this stereotype about me have no idea about my background, they don’t know my story and they have no information about me except for the clothes I wear which doesn’t justify the stereotype of me rejecting my culture. It’s a hurtful assumption to make about me because it makes it seem like I’m a terrible human being who has rejected who I am and ashamed of what my people have accomplished which is not true and indeed a false stereotype. I believe that people should be more cautious when categorizing Asians into stereotypes, for it’s not always true. There is a motto that we all learn from a young age about treating others with respect: ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated.’ I believe this motto can not only be applied to our actions toward one another but also the stereotypes we imply toward one another. Stereotypes are never going to disappear, but if we as people look past the color of skin and the assumptions applied to it, our world would be less broken.”

Jessica Payne, junior

“A pervasive stereotype about Afro-Americans, specifically Afro-American males, that people should be aware of is that they are a threat. A threat to one’s safety, a threat to society, a threat to your children, you name it. This stereotype is killing our young men, literally. They are being shot, murdered, by “authority” figures who supposedly feel intimidated by their presence, simply because of their melanated skin. Or because a white woman makes a call that is not investigated. Or because they are wearing a hoodie. Who knew a stereotype could have so much power?”

Nate Peat, senior

“The stereotype that certain types of people or races belong in one area of the school, it segregates the school and limits people’s communication with different people and cultures.”

Jenny Yoo, sophomore

“The one stereotype people have is that all Koreans are good at math, but some people are actually good at math, but some are not. Adding to that, […when] some people asked me what math class I was in, I told them I was in Algebra 2, and they had a surprised face, and they were like, ‘I thought you were in pre-calc’. That kind of annoyed me a lot.[/pullquote]

Photo by Elliot Bachrach.

 

Martez Manuel, senior

“One stereotype I would erase about my race is the stereotype that all African American people are dangerous and to be feared because it is the reason behind many blacks losing their lives today. Officers are feeling ‘in danger’ just because we are black men and all they have to say is that they felt in danger and they are off free, it’s sad.”

Photo by Snowy Li.

Genney Zheng, sophomore

“I am a Chinese person, and there is a stereotype that Chinese people are bad tourists when they go to different countries, and it’s true, there are some cases where there are a lot of Chinese tour groups where they are disrespectful to a different culture – sometimes they’re too loud, or they’re messing up a monument or something. It kind of bothers me because I’ve had an experience where I traveled to Korea […] and I was speaking Chinese to my mom, and we went to a restaurant, and there was this Korean waiter [who] said that he wouldn’t serve us because he thought we would make a mess. Actually we’re not sure if he said that or not, but then he said that you have to pay first, which is kind of weird because you first eat and then pay, so we had to pay first because he knew that we were Chinese people, and we have this reputation of being messy in different places so I feel like people should be more aware of that; not every Chinese person is like that. The restaurant wasn’t that good either.”

What is a stereotype you wish did not exist? Let us know in the comments below.