My company has a mandatory fair housing training yearly. My previous company did too. The trainers look different but the subject matter is always pretty much the same. One of the things that is almost *always* said is "everyone stereotypes; it is human nature."
I see a lot of stereotyping in my life and I have always felt that I don't fall into that messy tar pit. I really try to see people for who they are, not for where they come from or what they drive, where they worship or the color of their skin etc. Which is probably why I went a bit mental when my well meaning neighbor told me he called the cops a few nights back. He was sitting on his deck and three kids in hoodies were sitting on his stone wall. There have allegedly been a few breakins in our area. I have not personally heard of it but Mr. Neighbor allegedly had. Break ins plus teens in hoodies equal a call to the P.D. Really? He also thought I would be happy he did this because supposedly at least one of them ran through my yard to evade the law.Well that happens all.the.time. The cutting through my yard thing I mean. I don't think it is usually specifically to avoid the law and is more about the fact that cutting cross lots can get someone 1/2 a block into their travel in a shorter and easier amount of time.
My handsome, smart and gentle teen aged son wears a hoodie. So did a young black man in Florida and he wound up dead. It is a preconception that a young male wearing a hoodie is planning something nefarious, and while I want to be safe, I want to be open to life. To live it bravely and well and by doing so to see the good that is out there and in most of the people I meet. And there really is a lot of good. The bad just gets the press.
And yet, the trainers are probably right. To some extent, we probably all are influenced by stereotypes and preconceptions. When I was watching beach volleyball last night I was stunned when I saw the US women playing China. The Chinese women were 6 foot and 6 foot 2 respectively. I stared because I had this mental image of diminutive Chinese women. In other words, a stereotype. It brought me up short and reminds me that self checking is a very good thing!