All the curricular materials are organized around seven core questions.
For each of them there is at least one lesson plan. Lesson
plans are linked, whenever appropriate, to the resources page.
CORE QUESTION 1: What are stereotypes?
The goal is to familiarize students with the concept of stereotype.
Students are asked to give their own definitions of stereotypes
and important related concepts such as prejudice and discrimination.
Their definitions are then compared with dictionary definitions
(see GLOSSARY/DEFINITIONS) and
differences are discussed. Teachers help students to demonstrate
that stereotypes are widely used in various social contexts.
This unit offers four lesson plans. A teacher can use any or all of
them, depending on need and time.
1.1: Define stereotypes and related concepts of prejudice and discrimination.
Jan Kubik, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University
Martha Kubik, West Amwell Elementary School
1.2: "You Kids Are All Alike" introductory exercise on stereotyping.
Jan Kubik, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University
1.3: "Beware the Polarized Stereotypes."
Jan Kubik, Department of Political Science,, Rutgers University
1.4: "Why Is The Middle East So Stereotyped In The West?"
Eric Davis, Department of Political Science and Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University
Michael Rossi, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University
1.5: Origins of Ethnic Stereotypes
Cristina Arnese, South Brunswick (NJ) High School
Additional lesson plans are available from: An
Integrated Unit on Cultural Stereotyping (From Teaching Units
on Individual and Society in East Asia, Oregon International
Council, pp.39-48). See Resources for a brief description.
CORE QUESTION 2: Where do stereotypes come from? Why are they so difficult to challenge, modify, and abandon?
Several lesson plans related to this core question deal with the omnipresence
of stereotypes and demonstrate that they are very difficult
to challenge and modify because we find them to be such useful
"short-cuts" for our thinking. Moreover, they are
often produced and propagated by powerful institutions (governments,
churches) or influential individuals or groups and can be
thus pervasive in popular culture.
Where do they come from? Browse the archives
at an excellent site for asking questions regarding stereotypes,
or browse the questions and responses already posted.
2.1. Cartoon - Truth or Tale.
2.2. How to identify stereotypes? How to explain their pervasiveness
2.3. Demonstration of pervasiveness of stereotypes.
CORE QUESTION 3: How to define and deal with religious stereotypes?
In a world of increasing diversity, the world's religions reflect the
geographic, social, racial, linguistic, and ethnic differences
of the Earth's population. For some groups, religion represents
a major dividing line between "Us and Them" and
plays a critical role in how individuals and groups define
themselves. Religion has been a source of both great good
and great conflict. By examining the role of stereotypes in
religion, we can gain a better sense how people define themselves
and the "others" and how many social and cultural
3.1. Stereotypes and religion (plan for several class periods).
CORE QUESTION 4: How are stereotypes connected to the achievement and maintenance
of political power and social inequality?
Stereotypes are closely linked to power and inequality. The powerful employ
them as yet another tool of subjugation and dominance; the
powerless may rely on them in their struggle for power. Stereotypes
are also closely linked to social stratification: each class
or group tends to develop a series of simplified images of
other groups or classes. Such stereotypical images not only
help to place one's group on the social map; they often serve
to define and justify the group's dominant or subordinate
4.1. Stereotypes and colonialism: "Tribe" as a negative stereotype. The Zambian case.
4.2. Gender stereotypes: Ethnic/Gender Stereotypes in children's programming
Suffrage Movement PowerPoint Station Activity (Microsoft Word Document)
Women's Suffrage Movement PowerPoint
4.3. Class stereotypes:
4.4. Race stereotypes:
4.5. Ethnic stereotypes: Arabs.
4.6. Ethnic stereotypes: Asian Americans.
4.7. Ethnic stereotypes: American Indians.
CORE QUESTION 5: Why are stereotypes particularly dangerous in inter-group conflicts?
Stereotypes have been employed in almost all known violent conflicts.
They are useful tools of mobilizing the troops and dehumanizing
the enemy. Since stereotypes can invoke very powerful emotions,
once they are employed to degrade and dehumanize another group
of people, they contribute to the intractability and viciousness
of many conflicts. Their effects can be lasting and difficult to reverse.
5.1. Stereotypes in war and revolutionary propaganda (Power Point presentation)
5.2. Self-stereotypes and conflict.
CORE QUESTION 6: Why are stereotypes harmful, ethically, socially, and economically?
The ethical impropriety of religious, ethnic, gender or racial stereotypes
is beyond dispute: by dehumanizing other human beings we debase
our own humanity. It is, however, important to realize that
stereotypes also impede effective communication in business,
politics, or even everyday contacts. It has been demonstrated
over and over again that by avoiding stereotypes and treating
our partners as individual human beings we can improve economic
effectiveness and prevent many conflicts from developing or escalating.
6.1. The Deimler-Chrysler deal: a comedy of errors.
6.2. Stereotypes, business and free market.
6.3. The Polish Round Table of 1989: overcoming the stereotypes of communism and anti-communism.
The authors of an article that may serve as a background material for
all lessons in this unit, make an interesting attempt to demonstrate
that holding stereotypes actually hurts academic performance
of those who ... hold stereotypes. See: http://mentalhealth.about.com/library/sci/0401/blrace401.htm?rnk=r3&terms=stereotypes
CORE QUESTION 7: How can stereotypes be overcome?
Over the last 20-30 years research on stereotypes has gone through
a period of rapid expansion. In particular, very interesting
and useful work has been done on various strategies and methods
of overcoming stereotypes. This unit should help students
to learn how to overcome or, at least minimize reliance on
stereotypes. Such a skill this seems necessary if we are to
improve both our personal lives as well as our collective
life in the globalizing world. Several useful links to comprehensive
web sites dealing with overcoming stereotypes are provided.
any of the materials found in the Internet
Resources section 2.5 found at the link on the Resources
page of this module will provide educational materials on
studying and combating stereotypes design various class activities.
7.2. Overcoming stereotypes and peaceful resolution of conflict: the end of
communism in Poland.
A very useful description and analysis of stereotype braking
actions can be found a at a University
of Colorado website. Materials available on this site
can be used as a background readings (particularly for teachers)
for any of the lesson plans in this unit.