As a member of one race or ethnicity you may sometimes think there’s no harm in perpetuating stereotypes of other races or ethnicities besides your own. That’s where you may be surprised to find out you’d be wrong. A recent study led by psychologist Chu Kim-Prieto of The College of New Jersey examined the way our brains react to seeing or reading about a Native American sports team mascot. His team conducted two experiments using Chief Illiniwek, a mythical figure who served as the official symbol of University of Illinois athletics from the 1920s until 2007. Two studies done by Chu’s team found that when presented with either depictions or stories about the Native American mascot, study recipients were much more likely to assign and believe in stereotypes about Asians (stereotypes which were unrelated to Native Americans).
These recent studies show why it’s important to denigrate stereotypes no matter which group they are applied to. A recent article of mine on the spate of violence against Asians, brought on a comment asking me to stand up and say that African-Americans were the ones responsible for the latest round of violence. While African-Americans may have been responsible for the specific examples discussed, it would have been wrong to put a blanket stereotype on African-Americans saying they were targeting Asians. It may be true of some specific African-American individuals, but definitely not the group as a whole. As a minority group, it’s important we stop perpetuating stereotypes no matter which group they are applied to, especially since perpetuating someone else’s stereotype will only come back to hurt ourselves in the end.