To “Group and Label” Is Human; To See Similarities Divine

June 24th, 2011 | Categories: Stereotypes in General

I received my first comment to one of my blogs this week. Kim commented,

It’s not easy to point out to others that they may be dealing in stereotypical thinking…they know that stereotyping is not good, but they don’t recognize when they do it themselves. I’m pretty sure I don’t always catch myself! It is so easy to group and label.

In recent years, the issue of gay marriage provides an unfortunate example of Kim’s point. Gay marriage advocates and those opposed to gay marriage all use stereotypes to make their argument, often without realizing it.

Tonight, the passage of the Gay Marriage Bill in the New York Senate provides a fortunate example of how, although it is hard to realize when we stereotype, it is possible and important to do so.

At 10:50pm today, under an hour ago, I received the following CNN Breaking News E-mail Alert report:

Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York cleared the last major hurdle with a 33-to-29 vote in the state Senate, sending the bill to the governor’s desk for his expected approval.

Research shows that Kim is right when she states too often we don’t realize when we are stereotyping because it is easy to “group and label”. Research also shows that this can be changed. Kudos to New York State Senator Mark Grisanti representing Buffalo for seeing beyond the perceived differences between groups of people. In his speech, Sen. Grisanti demonstrates that if we remind ourselves of our similarities, rather than our differences, then we can more easily appreciate the logic of the information available to us and make better decisions as a result.

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