By: Noor Amira Md Akhir
“Do not judge the book by its cover”. Do not easy and simple to judge others by what we see and hear. It is so unfair.
We live in a world filled with prejudice, bias, and stereotypes, and these are a part of our everyday life. We hear stereotypes every day and everywhere. In fact, most people have experienced it and will not miss doing this either realizing it or not. Unfortunately, sometimes we also often judge people without we really know them, and what we do and said can lead to stereotypes directly or indirectly.
What is stereotyping? According to psychologists, they defined that “a stereotype is a cognitive structure containing the perceiver’s knowledge, beliefs, and expectancies about some human social groups”. Stereotypes can be positive or negative and it tends to overgeneralize.
As we are well aware, stereotyping is very dangerous and always occur in our life. People can be stereotyped in ways that sometimes are correct or incorrect, and every person, young or old, is labeled with either positive or negative stereotypes. Sometimes we can find ourselves in a situation where we make stereotypes for a group of people or individually person. For instance, we know that we get criticized about what we wear every single day and sometimes we also criticize others! We are criticized in how we look like, how we act and vice versa.
Besides that, all stereotypes can be taken as challenges or just ignoring it. Do not let our life become messy and do not think too much about what people want to criticize and say about us. If we keep ending up with what the people said, our lives will unhappy and we will get dizzy or sick. What is good, we can accept and improve, but what is bad and wrong, just let it go. Thus, live with happiness and peace with our own style.
Instead of focusing on all the mistakes of each person, we should start paying more attention of how unique each person is. All of us are different and we are complete each other.
Stereotypes can affect people’s social lives, emotions, how people interact with their environment and create a dark side of identity and problems towards ourselves directly or indirectly. It also causes people to feel lonely, depressed and harmful to our environment and social life. Therefore, let’s keep stereotype out of the picture. Stop judging people, but do more reflect and ponder (muhasabah) toward ourselves.
“O Believers, Fear Allah. Let every soul look to what (provision) it has forwarded for the future, and fear Allah, for Allah is Aware (well-acquainted) of the things you do.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Hashr 59:18)
***Writing Exercise on 9 March 2016