Have you ever been defined by a stereotype? We can all admit that there have been times when we have been judged or have judged other people based on their preconceived attitudes. We live in a world of stereotypes that are used to define how people live. Every time we meet someone for the first time, we are most likely to come up with stereotypes because we think that’s the only way of understanding them better. Many of us hardly make effort to really get to know the person’s story because they belong to a certain group.
Well, here’s a story about one of my friends who was interning in Egypt. One day a fellow intern from the UK found her applying sunscreen and she asked her why she was applying sunscreen if she’s from Africa. This lady’s perception was that African’s do not need sunscreen because oh well first of all you are already dark and secondly you are used to the sun burning your skin.
Stereotypes are used to define people all over the world. In Namibia, for instance, if you are Damara you are perceived as someone who is careless and likes fighting. If you are Herero you like meat and if you are Kavango you are more likely to be a security guard. But this is not always the case, people are not always the way we perceive them to be and that is why we need to redefine these stereotypes.
We need to redefine stereotypes because being an African child doesn’t mean that I should be starving and emaciated. Living in a continent known as Africa, of course it’s a continent, not a country should not be seen as something that Africans need to hold back, that they are seen as illiterate and poor because people who seem to be governing these people’s futures, are governing the amount of money in their pockets.
When someone initiates biblical conversations with you it doesn’t mean they want to engrain their beliefs on you and it certainly does not mean that they belong to a particular church. Why can’t people initiate biblical conversations without having any connotations attached? After all it’s all about a powerful God who created you and I.
What comes to your mind when you hear about an orphan? Well, being an orphan is not a misfortune in one’s life. It does not give anyone cues to pity an orphan because their loss does not define who they are, they are not losers. Besides life goes on and being an orphan is not something that one would look upon and think they will never be enough, because they will.
Also, being a woman should not make us lesser beings. Before you think that women were created to get married, listen to the well-laid rules by men, try their possible best to abide by the rules and then over-compensate when they fail, remember that they are human beings who have the right to express themselves.
After all we are all human beings who have arms that swing, hearts that beat and brains that think. Let’s do away with these stereotypes, they are a distraction and they block us from the realities of others. We really need to look past these stereotypes, to look past these limitations that we call upon each other and be ourselves.