It was a Chinese woman who phoned into ABC 702’s Richard Glover and said: “I’m bad at math and can’t play chess.”
A New Zealand man phoned in and said he had a job and wasn’t on welfare. Ouch.
Groundbreaking, I know. This was part of a little social experiment Richard was playing with listeners: what stereotype should you be, and how have you busted it?
The conversation started after a group of librarians complained about the fact that they were stereotyped “as dragons in cardigans, derided by colleagues who think they do little more than check books in and out, and are starved of the resources to do their jobs properly”.
We thought it would make a fun post for today.
There’s a reason humans stereotype to begin with. There’s only so much information our brains can handle, so rather than processing things individually we package it all up in bundles that save our stressed brain cells on processing time. We don’t always have time to assess every individual we meet on their specific merits, in other words.
That’s how Australians become ‘laid back’ collectively, English people become ‘stuffy’ and Queenslanders (ahem, me) become ‘backward’. There may be a grain of truth to the collective (maybe), but the stereotypes are not always true for the individual.
So, let’s talk about breaking the mould.
Shall we start?
I’m a gay man who can’t dress himself and who has no sense of rhythm. I dance like a cyclone. At all times on the dance floor I enforce a 10m exclusion zone for safety reasons. I tell people I dance ironically (it’s a social commentary on organic movement) but really, I just can’t dance without looking like I’ve been electrocuted.
I also really like sport, like cricket and the State of Origin. I will be tuned in tonight cheering for Queensland really flamboyantly.
Now it’s your turn. What pigeon-hole have you escaped from? What stereotype are you busting?