Not all stereotyping is bad. Stereotyping arises out of the need to generalize in order to make sense out of a very complicated environment. It allows people to easily categorize new things into comfortable spaces already defined by their experiences. This process was described in by Walter Lippmann, who first coined the term "stereotyping. Societies construct hierarchies of value and power so that some races are perceived to be more dominant and others are subordinate. We sort people into different races based on genetic traits: skin color, hair color and texture, and facial features.
Race-based stereotypes and myths pose a great threat to racial equality. The people who make up any given racial group are so unique that no generalization can capture who they are. In short, race-based stereotypes are dehumanizing. What is a stereotype?
Throughout the 20th Century, minorities have made significant strides towards autonomy and equality in American society. From the right to own land to the right to vote, and further still, the squelching of Jim Crow era segregation in the South. These advances are part of who we are as Americans, yet it seems they have not fully infiltrated the collective whole of American society. Despite the political rights and power that minorities have obtained, the supremacist ideologies and racist beliefs that were indoctrinated into the American psyche are just recently being reversed.
Some prejudices share cross-cultural patterns, but others are more variable and culture specific. Those sharing cross-cultural patterns sexism, ageism each combine societal status differences and intimate interdependence. For example, in stereotypes of sex and age, lower-status groups— women and elders—gain stereotypic warmth from their cooperative interdependence but lose stereotypic competence from their lower status ; men and middle-aged adults show the opposite tradeoff, stereotypically more competent than warm. Meta-analyses support these widespread ambivalent mixed stereotypes for gender and age across cultures. Social class stereotypes often share some similarities cold but competent rich v warm but incompetent poor.