Stereotyping is human nature. As an education major I am influentially trained to treat all students the same, and all teachers are molded into politically correct individuals. But all the education in the world cannot stop the involuntary and compulsive need to judge, to stereotype, and to treat others like dirt for no reason.
I am not only talking about race. I want to focus on something more personal than the way a person looks, acts, or dresses. There is an even greater, more dangerous stereotype that does not come from strangers. It comes from your friends, your family, and all those who are close to you.
When you become friendly with another person the dynamic you share changes. It’s as if the sun has set on that awkward ‘getting to know each other’ phase and now the general way you feel most comfortable presenting yourself to that human being is brought forth. Although I never try to be “fake,” I admit that I act differently around dissimilar groups of friends. It is not something I consciously control, but I do find myself playing the class clown as well as the advice giver, depending on what others expect of me.
But God forbid I try to give advice to a friend who knows me as the joker, or have a political conversation with someone who knows me as a smoker. (Yeah that was a Steve Miller Band reference).
They just won’t take you seriously. I’ll admit, I’m usually the joker, but when I want to talk about real issues it’s as if everyone’s waiting for the punch line.
I am always myself, but I am more than one person. I am a serious intellectual, I am a goofy college kid, and I am the Martha Stewart of knitting and pillow making. These are all me, and I never wanted to be stereotyped as the friend who will never spit out anything thought provoking because my character is too hilarious.
Whether we like it or not, we stereotype our own friends because we expect certain behaviors out of them. We get weird when Justin starts yapping about the economy, because wait… Justin’s got like a 2.5 GPA right? Why is he saying smart shit?
Or how about when Betty, your rock who’s always super chill, comes home crying for the first time because something really hurt her. “Just get over it… I mean you get over everything else quickly, don’t you?”
This is merely an observation, and I can’t back this theory with anything but my own experiences. But from what I’ve seen, from what I’ve experienced, friends like to have their friends categorized. One who will comfort you, one who will fight for you, and one who will make you laugh. While I may not be onto anything… I’ve decided to label Friend-typing as my most hated prejudice of the week. You know, until something else comes along and pisses me off even more.
Journal Entry #26