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Stereotypes have and will always continue to exist in this world. It’s human nature (or is it?). The threateningly faithful, ever-present thoughts that run through the minds of us humans that make us so vulnerable are the ones that often land us in so much trouble. And why should these words and thoughts hurt as much as they do? It seems to be a societal push towards ignoring the way others think and view you; everyone needs to be accepting of everyone else, after all. Nonetheless, we have these thoughts, these poisonous wisps of vapor that slowly trickle out through our language. And we try to justify them, these thoughts of ours, as if we can’t control our mouths, as if it’s something as small as spilling the milk. The difference? Milk can be cleaned up with a paper towel or a rag; stereotypical thoughts revealed to people take time to heal, if they can be cleaned up at all. The scars left by words leave bigger marks and larger, longer trails of scar tissue than most physical accidents.  And yet, we still excuse these thoughts because “everybody experiences them.” Suddenly puberty isn’t the only thing that every human experiences the same nowadays.

Along with these stereotypes, people are expected to fit in, to conform to the puzzle that society has formed (be fit and formed, in the midst of being accepting). Society tells us we need to be accepting of everyone, then gets upset at us if we don’t like being told how to act (“Accept her, but only if she makes an attempt to fit in.” That’s all society asks for, an attempt. But be aware of failing, as the mercy of the world has begin to run low…) We, as citizens of the world, are expected to fit into the puzzle as if our piece was made to go in a specific place. It’s as if the alternative, the one that decides to have a corner that’s bent out of shape, the one that stands up and doesn’t mold to the social pressure of fitting in, gets thrown out the window or into the garbage. Or, heaven forbid, the puzzle piece gets jammed into place, bent even more, unhappily fitting in its place. However, those that don’t fit seem to be replaceable, as though the maker of the puzzle has extra pieces to use in case one doesn’t fit exactly like he wants, like wild cards to be used at will. And where do the unused, abused, refused pieces go? A mental hospital, a jail or prison, or somewhere else; but NEVER into society. That would be completely unacceptable. Those that have been deemed “outcasts” or that have a “history” have become as deadly as the plague. They are to be avoided at all costs, as if their evil will spread to the rest of us “normal” people.

But not everyone uses their stereotypical thoughts so harshly (because everyone uses these thoughts to some degree, right?). There are those who refuse to be molded, who refuse to listen to the distracting, yelling voices in their heads. They don’t let society tell them who to be friends with. They talk to the criminal as if he was their best friend. (“Hey buddy! Let’s chill later!”) These “friend-whores” seem to know everybody in every social class. Even worse, they seem to be best friends with each and every person they talk to. As if one wasn’t enough, these people need everybody to be their friend (it’s an insecurity, really). And the hypocritical person, the perfect puzzle piece, tells society, “This is who we should try to be like! Try to be like HIM!” Then, to nobody’s surprise, he judges the book by its cover. He stands back, astounded by the accepting attitude of society.

Now, to be completely honest and open (and remember, you must accept me no matter what you read next!), sometimes stereotyping can be a good thing. Used in moderation, in the right time, when the stars are aligned, the weather is perfect, the timing is accurate, and the machines are primed, a stereotypical thought can be a good thing (safety issues, mainly). For instance, if there’s ever a bunch of murders going on around you, don’t ever say “I’ll be right back,” because we all know you won’t be (Thank you, Scream.) With every exception comes a rule: use the common sense that was given to you (and, for those of you who don’t think we were given anything, use the common sense you evolved with). But the instances in which you must use this common sense come far too little in everyday life. Only in scary movies or in New York would you ever need to apply these safe-guards and scapegoats on a regular basis (Things to avoid include: dark alleys, dimly lit rooms, being alone, night, any kitchen knife, your loved ones and closer friends, and dogs—they always seem to attract the killer monsters.). However, the time for these, as has been stated, is rare among the average person in this world.

In today’s society, stereotyping is very looked down upon. It’s a social taboo to judge someone before you know them. Acceptance seems to be the theme of society’s propaganda. If you aren’t accepting EVERYONE, then something must be wrong with you. Of course, hypocrites, those nasty liars, lurk about in innocent manners, pretending to be the accepting person everybody wants to be, pretending to be friendly, to be willing to put up with any social class or background. Sometimes they sit in the dark corners, waiting for their time to point their fingers in accusational innuendos. Other times, these liars glide around in public display, in the spotlight of everyone. And no one sees it coming, the hidden hypocrite waiting to make his appearance. They don’t see it coming because they were too busy accepting everyone and being nonjudgmental. They were too busy trying to make themselves look good, too focused on their own uplifting to notice the signs of the liar. Of course, everyone acts shocked and surprised by this impostor, startled that he was able to live among them so long without anyone noticing. Secretly, though, they’re all just glad this guy exploded and revealed himself before they lost their cool.

That’s when the rumors start, when the stereotypical thoughts become real. The monsters caged in the minds of the caring break out, stronger during this blood-red moon, wreathed in flame and shadow, carrying destruction everywhere they go. Fingers point, threats are thrown, personal attacks are shot like a bow, and all hell breaks loose. The nightmares of the outcasts become the livelihood of the normal people. And suddenly, the roles are switched. The ones who were once stereotyped in the past are now loyally and faithfully accepting every person left and right, ignoring all the accusations. Those throwing the axes and wielding the sword are slapped in the face by the care exhibited by them and their incredibly ability to accept them despite the rumors. The damage done by a simple sentence, by a simple assumption spreads like wildfire, destroying all in its path, betraying its creator and fighting for a never-ending reign. Then, as quickly as it started, the smoky rumors are stomped out. Everything fades back to normal.

Friendships are formed and broken during this hectic time. Society becomes extremely forgiving and accepting of everybody. The mythical utopia the puzzle was meant to be sets itself into motion, spinning slowly at first, then rapidly gaining speed. The picture starts to take form, color filling in, shading in just the right spots, and society begins to grow lazy, unaware of the building rage. But the circling object begins to wobble. In the early process, it wiggles slightly, like a small twitch, hardly noticeable. But it becomes rhythmic and steady, slowly decreasing the amount of time in between each uneasy shake. The hypocrites start to show themselves again, confident in their hiding abilities. The judges start showing their unhappy attitudes towards the “lower” classes. The wildly shaking object loses its balance, tumbling down at the base, falling into the very depths from which it just crawled out. The frame, now broken, tips the focus of society, and the process repeats itself, the war waging again. (Stupid rumors!)

A question arises with this endless process, an important question: where do these stereotypical thoughts form? Does it start young, in the children and adolescents? Or do the parents somehow feed their kids poisoned food, tainted with cruel thoughts? Or is the desire to put down others and rise up selfishly on our own a built in factor, an incurable disease that runs through the blood of the human race? The blood of generations and generations of judgmental, critical ancestors is the blood that runs through the veins of society today. Look to history for examples: America was able to stand against the strongest military force in the world (at the time) because England stereotyped the people of the United States of America. England assumed we were all mentally lower, inferior to them. They didn’t expect the uprising of another culture, so strong in the foundations and beliefs that a new country had to form immediately. The desire, then, to be superior is just a part of being human; it’s just in our blood to stereotype others. Just like the evil monsters, the desire to dominate is something that connects all things, intricate and delicate in its form, fragile and dangerous all the same. That makes two MORE things besides puberty that all of mankind experiences! (Maybe we’re more alike with the creatures of the world than we first thought…)

The sad truth about stereotypes is that they affect everything. No person can escape the clawing thoughts against others. We do what we can, certainly. But it’s in our blood. And it challenges everything. It engrains itself into every single aspect of the human life. Jobs, friends, spouses, and anybody we trust are all decided by stereotypes. They rule our lives, in silent, still dominion. They demand our attention, our love. And they don’t even return the favor! They create feelings in us that we don’t necessarily need or desire. Do we even have control over our thoughts? The human race seems to be run by the thoughts in our minds, and if we can’t control our mind, how came control anything else? Stereotypes are just a stepping stone, just something we need to step on and get over in order to understand. Undermining the power of the stereotype may be a difficult process. But I believe it can be done. Let us throw a third party into the battle, a new group with different views. Not views toward or against stereotypes, no, but a group where stereotypes and the act of stereotyping are nonexistent. That way, the poison can be drained from the bloodstream, the object can spin without falter, and society can be successful.

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