LISTEN: What Are Stereotypes? (The Man in the Mirror #15 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

This podcast is directed to all young people, but primarily to young black men, young black women, and their parents. We are thankful for all the people who are standing up for justice and racial equality. But this podcast is about the man in the mirror. What are you doing for the glory of God, to make life better for others, for your family, and for yourself? This podcast is about living life in such a way that it cuts back on the chance of being harassed or killed by the authorities or anyone else and helps you to live the good life of peace and joy.

Psalm 119:9 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Today, we are beginning a new discussion on the topic of stereotypes. You have probably heard the word many times. Many have blamed the racial issues in this country on the persistent racial stereotypes that are prevalent in our society.

So, what are stereotypes? According to The Dictionary of Psychology, a stereotype is “a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” Some popular stereotypes include the beliefs that women are more talkative than men, that blacks are naturally better at athletics than whites, that Jews are shrewd, that Indians and Asians (or people who wear glasses) are smarter than others, or that the kid who will win the next National Spelling Bee will be Indian.

If you examine your own beliefs, you will find that you hold a variety of stereotypes about others that are not based on any proof that you have examined for yourself. You simply adopted those beliefs from your parents or other family members, and many of those beliefs are reinforced by movies and television.

Stereotypes can be a double-edged sword; they can be good or bad.

According to research psychologist Saul McLeod one advantage of a stereotype is that it enables us to respond rapidly to situations because of past experience or knowledge that we have gained from others. For example, if you are walking home at night and you happen to look behind you and find that a man wearing a ski mask is following you, a stereotype kicks in. Your mind will automatically begin to think that the man will try to rob you, rape you, or kill you, and you need to act accordingly — run away, call the police, or get to a well-lighted area where a lot of other people are. That is an example of a stereotype working to your advantage. The stereotype tells you that men who follow people around at night while wearing a ski mask are up to no good.

However, stereotypes can also work to your disadvantage. For example, imagine a young black man who is a Christian, who has a college education, and who is doing the right things with his life is walking home from work one day. As he passes parked cars on the street, he repeatedly hears the click of the vehicles’ occupants locking their car doors as he passes by. Now, this young man has no intention on robbing anyone or engaging in any type of criminal activity. He knows that people are simply reacting to their stereotype of who a young black man is. This is an example of a stereotype working negatively.

The first thing you must realize about stereotypes is that they are a normal and natural part of human existence. You must also realize that you have them just as everyone else does. And, if you are honest, you will realize that you probably harbor negative stereotypes about others in your heart. This basic understanding of stereotype will inform our next discussion on this matter: how should you respond to stereotypes?

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Now, in closing, in order to be saved — in order to get right with God — you cannot look at the man in the mirror, but the Man Christ Jesus. First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can have a home in Heaven. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless you.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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