Can’t we all just get along?

Ster-e-o-type (ster-ee-uh-tahyp, steer) – noun – 1. Sociology. a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group: The cowboy and Indian are American stereotypes. – verb – 1. to characterize or regard as a stereotype: The actor has been stereotyped as a villain.

Everyone uses stereotypes. Everyone thinks of a group of people as a specific personality, not as many people who are different and unique. What I feel is one of the worst kinds of stereotyping is the stereotyping of people from a certain place. One of the oldest country rivalries is that between America and Canada.

I’m born and raised in Canada, but I’ve never appreciated stereotypes – especially about Americans. I’ve always thought that stereotypes are ridiculous, and that people should know better – especially the smart people. Apparently, I’m wrong, and stereotypes have infected the minds of pretty much the entire world and we can’t escape from it.

Living in Canada, I’ve seen my fair share of people who absolutely hate Americans for no good reason. I’ve always tried to convince the people I knew to stop and think about what they were saying, but they just wouldn’t let go of what was driven into their heads.

This year, I moved to America to do my last year of high school. I made a lot of friends pretty quickly, and I thought they were the kind of people who wouldn’t give in to stereotypes. As I am in many cases, I was wrong.

A couple of times I’ve found myself in situations where my friend introduces the fact that they hate Canada. I ask them why, and they say “It’s freezing, and the people there are obnoxious assholes.” I always point out to them that they’re stereotyping, and that it’s unfair to label an entire country based on a few people they met, but they refused to relent and they went on about how everyone they talked to was bitchy, no matter where they went. I still didn’t believe her, and so she goes on to say that Canada is a totalitarianist society that doesn’t help people with special needs or special illnesses and that she knows so many people who birthed their babies in America because they would get better health care.

Now, from experience, I’ve always had a lot more help healthcare wise in Canada than in America (one time I broke my toe and they got me in emergency right away, and I’ve also had pneumonia twice and am still alive). As a reply, I told her “Canada will have some things America doesn’t, and America will have some things Canada doesn’t. You shouldn’t just focus on the few things that went wrong and base your view of an entire country on it.”

Here, she started to completely bitch me out, and I decided I had enough of the conversation and left.

Stereotypes are the worst kind of harassment, in my opinion, as they don’t only target one person, but a large group of people. I just want to escape it, and get my friends to understand that stereotyping is a really bad thing to do, and these are good people I’m talking about.

Until then, I’ll just have to keep taking the blows for Canada. See full size image

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~ by linzy on January 13, 2009.

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