Die Hard Fans Or Stereotypes That Die Hard

July 20th, 2011 | Categories: Stereotypes in General

It has been 70 years, 7 months, and 12 days since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Over 3,500 people were either killed or wounded. Americans have not forgotten.

That is seemingly why Americans have expressed their vehement outrage and fervent uproar over their painful loss on July 17th, only a few days ago, at the hands of the Japanese Women’s National Soccer team at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany. Die hard fans of the American Women’s National Soccer team, nay of America, expressed their overwhelming emotions on the game.

Click above image to see all the reactions...
Via Reddit

I applaud the desire of Americans to commemorate a tragic event (the loss at Pearl Harbor in 1941 not the loss at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in 2011).

I admire die hard fans who go the extra mile for their team.

I am embarrassed by these antiquated anti-Japanese stereotypes communicated in the guise of enthusiastic support of a team or chauvinistic support of America.

It makes a person wonder, why can’t these stereotypes just die already?

Stereotype researchers know the answer to this question. A very very depressing answer. It is because, as Walter Lippmann stated in his 1922 book Public Opinion, stereotypes are “pictures in our heads” (p. 3).

Like pictures, stereotypes provide a one-dimensional description of groups. Stereotypes are one-dimensional, like a picture or photograph, because once a characteristic is associated with a group, this association is perpetual and does not permit exception. Imagine your own photographs. The image in the photographs is captured for all time and with only the slightest possibility of change as the photo gets old, yellows, creases. Digital photos don’t change at all.

Lippmann (1922/1965) eloquently explained this component of stereotypes when he said, “Real space, real time, real numbers, real connections, real weights are lost. The perspective and the background and the dimensions of action are clipped and frozen in the stereotype” (p. 100).

It’s been 70 years, 7 months, and 12 days, and the anti-Japanese stereotypes still won’t die.

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  1. Quadropus
    July 26th, 2011 at 21:09

    What an awful overreaction to a game. Could you imagine team USA beating another country and the response of some of their people make references to 9/11?

  2. 6wings
    June 11th, 2012 at 00:11

    Harsh… I suppose it is instinctual for people to form groups and there are various societal factors that encourage the us versus them mentality but this is too much. Whether it is just supporters of a sports team or nationalists or the propagators of ethnocentrism, we humans have to keep these kinds of vicious urges in check.

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