STEREOTYPICALLY CHALLENGING

Do you ever get a song that you simply cannot get out of your head? You know, like a fly that keeps buzzing around your head, no matter how much shaking or flapping you do, the annoyance will not go away. Now the one thats been flying around my mind this week has been Stereotypes by Blurr, a product of Brit pop and the creative mid-90s. Why such a song? Well, there is a fair reason to it, because I’ve been wondering why there is so much comfort in people clinging to a stereotype.

As I walked home one day last week, a couple of people came past me and commented that how well behaved my dog was and wasn’t it amazing how well trained they are to be that way. A discussion ensued and when I gently commented that as an owner, we need to ensure that this is maintained, they couldn’t understand that I had an input into this. They had an image and they felt discomforted by having this partially altered by something that challenge a pre-conceived belief. The exchange was friendly enough, but the result was concerning in the sense that a formed stereotype was too comforting to be broken by fair reality.

Saying this, it takes me back to my days at college and some interesting exchanges with my sighted peers. On the whole, we all got along okay, but there were times when they couldn’t necessarily understand why I was studying with them. I remember in one group exerices, trying to answer a a general question from a fellow student, who after picking themselves up from the shock of me actually speaking, proceeded to repeat the question to others in the group who would answer the same way. When I asked them why they did this, they struggled to tell me that they thought I wouldn’t know because I couldn’t see. Tough to challenge such a stereotype.

There are many examples I’m sure that many could relate along similar lines. How do you really challenge the stereotype though when they are comforting, safe and secure for many individuals to hold. However, by not finding a way to challenge them, it will be extremely difficult to get a better and more realistic understanding of what each of us as individuals do each day.

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