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THE LABELING GAME This is Jeopardy Lets take a look at todays categories shall we Blacks in Sports Italian cooking Japanese in Business famous wives Jewish Bankers and finally Arab terrorists Wait a minute Whats wrong with these categories If you havent guessed already each of these categories represents a racial or gender stereotype This may not be a realistic Jeopardy game but its a game we play everyday - its the game of labeling Like Jeopardy in the Labeling Game we have the answers or think we do before we ask the question In our society we constantly classify people in to broad groups merely by their looks The problem is not the categories themselves but the acceptance of stereotypes which leads to negative self-images We are all aware of these stereotypical roles but what most of us do not realize is that these stereotypes hurts us the most When we stereotype our own groups or accept the labels others give us we create negative self-labels As psychology professor Robert Feldman wrote in the book Adjustment The self-image we create in childhood causes us to continue in our adult lives to fit whatever labels we have accepted We learn stereotypical roles at a very young age We all remember those fairy tales we read as children Snow White cooks and cleans for the seven dwarfs Even the dwarfs names are stereotypes Sleepy Sneezy Grumpy Happy Dopey Bashful and Doc In Lady and the Tramp Lady is innocent shy and dainty whereas the tramp is bold confident and daring By the time we get to high school we have become well accustomed to the labels our peers our teachers and the media put on us Labels become more important in junior high when we become aware of the labels on our clothes We want Abercrombie and Fitch shirts Levis jeans anything Gap and never the uncool imitations Once
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