Astereotype is a kind or’generalization, linking a
group to one or more general traits (Blacks as lazy, etc.). By and large,
the literature on’ stereotypes (both social psychological and cultural)
agrees that the generalizations ih question are false or misleading, and I
think ,this view generally accords with popular usage. 7 It is false, or at
least misleading to say, that Jews an:: cheap, Blacks lazy, Asi~ms good at
math, women emotional, and so on. The falseness of stereotype is part
of, and is a. necessary condition of, what is objectionable about
stereotypes in general. I will use the term stereotype only in regard to
false or misleading generalizations.
Do Stereotypes Have a ‘Kernel a/TrUth’?
While not necessarily wholly rejecting the idea that stereotypes are false
or misleading, it is nevertheless sometimes said that stereotypes have a
‘kernel (or grain) of truth’. I think this expression muddies the waters
about the bad of stereotypes,’ and the matter deserves some attention.
Some say that the stereotype jews are cheap’ has a kernel of truth
because some J.ews are cheap. But on that reasoning, every ethnic group
could be stereotyped as cheap, since some members of every ethnic
group are cheap. But stereotypes imply that, if XS are Y (e.g., Jews are
cheap), this is something distinctive about XS (there being Y, e.g., Jews
being cheap). If there is to be a kernel of truth in the stereotype, it will
have to preserve this distinctiveness

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