So, a policeman, a blond, and a vegan walk into a bar…
Now, this could end as a tasteless joke, and you’d probably enjoy that, but let’s consider what images this phrase conjures. What does the policeman look like? What ethnicity is he? How tall is he? Is he in full uniform? Does he have a crew cut?
And what about the blond? Is she tan? Is she beautiful? Is she scantily clad?
And finally, the vegan. Do they have dreadlocks? Are they eating granola? Are they wearing flip flops?
Just by giving the barest description of a person, you already seem to know something about them. Don’t you?
Except you don’t. And it’s not right to pin stereotypes on people before you get to know them, even if they seem to fit sometimes. Even when the policeman loves donuts, or the blond occasionally says something dumb, or the vegan chooses to preach their lifestyle to everyone in hearing distance.
So, why is it that even when you’re not fulfilling a stereotype you’re retroactively assigned one?
I mean, let’s say I love yoga. I love to practice yoga and meditation. This doesn’t mean that I also refrain from eating animals. This doesn’t mean that I am not interested in any other kind of exercise. This also doesn’t mean I solely wear yoga pants. (Okay, okay. The last one is true.) It just means I love yoga. That’s it. Fin. And do you know what it also doesn’t mean? That just because I don’t do any of the above that I’m not a true yoga “fan.” It’s like I don’t have the yoga street cred.
Because we all just need to remind everyone that when you know one thing about someone, well, that’s all you can know for certain…until you get to know them for real.
But also, if a person doesnt fulfill a certain stereotype, or even if they fill half of one or even all of one, you simply can’t assume. In the end, the time that it takes you to judge someone is the time it would take to ask them about themselves. You should try it sometime.