Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Friday, May 27, 2005

Ha! there is a stereotype

"Our class's philosopher" - This was how I was introduced very recently by a friend of mine. I just smiled sheepishly, and got going. I am not sure if I am one but then, that put me to thinking. The result? This post.

I've been learning to chat in chat rooms these days, and one of these days,I chatted with this lady from USA. During our conversation, the following things came up:

me: by the way, I am from india - you?
her: United states
her: are you hindu?? of buddhist.. sorry if i'm stereotyping
me: I;m a hindu
me: I like the word that you used "stereotyping"
her: yes i try not to stereotype but it's hard not to genralize
me: but I feel that living with stereotypes yet accepting the other aspects of it is what is important

And yesterday as I was going through The Pioneer online, I found the following quote by Shakira :

The worst thing artists can do is repeat themselves or try to fit an image people have of them
- Colombian pop singer Shakira

I wish to draw the attention to the use of the word "stereotyping" and the latter part of Shakira's quote - "try to fit an image people have of them"

As I brood over each of these, I wish to putforth an argument that in the whole world everyone tries to make a stereotypical image of every other person in the world. As has been pointed out by that lady from the US, it is hard not to generalize. And of course, that is one way of identifying someone too. As we look at the world around, at each and every walk of life, we try to make generalizations (what else can we do - cannot keep everything in one's memory) and especially when it comes to people, this happens more so often. But IMHO, any generalization pertaining to a human, can never give any indication as to what he/she happens to be like.

In the chat conversation, the lady was talking about a "Hindu" or a "Buddhist" - an image of which shall be superimposed on me, as she conversed. And this is one kind of stereotyping that occurs - at a very broad level. Then there is this other kind, like "describing" me as "Class's philosopher" - based on what we know of the person. In the process of such "stereotyping" and "generalization", there are two points that I notice:

a) From the angle of the person who is making a stereotype of someone :
I quote myself (:d) - "I feel that living with stereotypes yet accepting the other aspects of it is what is important"

That is - I would not be able to look and know more about the person, thanks to the stereotypical image I have of him/her - a definite problem.

b) From the angle of the person whose stereotype is made:
Shakira's quote: "...try to fit an image people have of them"

That is - I knowing that people look at me as "someone" try to fit into that image, and might as well forget what I am/ or what I can be.

So what? You may say - ... so much for a simple thought on the introduction given by my friend - and so much for the thought about being a philosopher myself - Ha! There I set myself into the stereotypical image set for me by my classmates - much to my own dismay!!


Blogger vamsee said...

Hey Pranav, can't help it but you remind me of this quote from Hamlet:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

Don't ask me why this particular quote.

Saturday, May 28, 2005 2:33:00 AM  
Blogger agastyabhrata said...

Hey Vamsee, not really sure of the context in which you quoted but sure do i agree with it.

Limited to the extent that we are, can we make efforts at all to overcome the limitations? is a point that I am trying to look at which cannot be done without an open mind.

Anything from Hamlet's mind cannot be left with just one meaning right :)

If you were reminded of the quote thanks to the first and last few lines of the post, then I am sure, I shall be writing/musing about many things that matter rather than those that really don't.

And I think if I keep writin, this comment shall as well become a post ;)

Sunday, May 29, 2005 9:06:00 PM  
Blogger mythalez said...

I stereotype u as 'my friendly sage' :D

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 1:55:00 AM  

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