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Throughout human history societies have divided members into varying groups based on stereotypes-- using simplified images to bring special meaning to traits held in common by members of each group These stereotypes are usually learned behavior and are spoon-fed to families and communities as they are passed down from one generation to the next However each individual must make the personal choice whether or not to incorporate these impressions into their own belief system Stereotypes are more often negative than positive and are not always based on fact but rather on perceptions and illusions Illusions on the other hand are a form of deception seen as something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature As a result illusions can generate a sense of mystery excitement and anticipation for the people who harbor them Unlike stereotypes illusions are created or interpreted by the limits of our own imagination and we choose whether or not to become swayed by our fantasies Stereotyping can in some cases create illusions as is the case in M Butterfly where Gallimard was blinded by his Western male fantasies about the submissive nature and tendencies of Asian womenStratton Pg1 Most people probably like to think of themselves as being impartial unaffected by the conventionalized ideas that make up many of the stereotypes they see around Fleck 2 them However stereotypical thinking plays a very powerful role in our perceptions and dealings with people of other cultures--even more so perhaps than we care to admit Maybe stereotypes are so persistent because they prove useful providing shortcuts to our thinking in areas where we are unsure of ourselves or skeptical about how we should think concerning a given situation Stereotypes occasionally creep into our lives in unexpected ways and are even perpetuated in our literature paintings films music and other art forms We see examples of this in movies and television programming which throughout the years
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