Interstellar Adventures

February 18, 2007

Called Out

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 4:33 pm

My nice, sweet little bl*g recently received a comment on an old post. And the comment is one that ever-so-briefly steamed me. I do not set out to offend, but I’m sure that I can from time to time. It’s not intentional. I like to get along with people. Make friends, not enemies, that kind of thing. But when I am accused of (or given credit for) being the reason a stereotype exists, I’m going to have to correct that misconception.

ster·e·o·type [ster-ee-uh-tahyp] noun, verb, -typed, -typ·ing, noun Sociology.

– a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group: The cowboy and Indian are American stereotypes.

ar·che·type [ahr-ki-tahyp] –noun

– In Jungian psychology, an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic image that is derived from the past collective experience of humanity and is present in the unconscious of the individual.

Stereotypes exist because people of a collective culture exhibit them. They do not exist because I observe them. I did not define the stereotype of ‘Latino gang-banger’. But when I see tear-drop tattoos, shaved heads, white K-Swiss tennis shoes with knee-high white socks, a white sleeveless t-shirt (also known as a wife-beater), and long blue jean shorts, that is a ‘look’ associated with that stereotype. Add in a flannel shirt buttoned at the top button only, and the ensemble is complete.

In order to identify with a particular culture or group, people create signs, symbols, fashions, etc. to call their own. They want their appearance to signify “I belong to this group and you can tell by the way I wear my hair and the clothes and shoes and tattoos that I choose.” They create their owns archetypes. Black culture does the same thing through fashion and music. “Goth Kids” do the same thing through fasion and music. People feel the need to belong. Stereotypes and archetypes exist because people give them life. They create them on purpose. They promote them through fashion, music, and culture. They live them.

Adam, you give me entirely too much credit for having the power to create, promote, assign and maintain “Stereotypes” among people. People like you like you scream ‘stereotype’ and ‘hater’ because you have nothing better to do. You want to create an arguement, but you have no arguement. Introspection is too painful, so you turn it on others. “OH yeah, well you…” fill in the blank.

And the fact that Nick and I were the only white people in the place…is exactly that. A FACT. We were. And we got looks and stares and attention. It wasn’t said but it was implied: “Hey Whitey…what are you doing in OUR place.” Welcomed and accepted? No, tolerated is the word I would use. I wonder what stereotypes were associated with us by the other patrons of Chicos? Because you KNOW they did.

Had I said they were bad people because of their ‘stereotypical’ appearance, that would have been one thing. I didn’t make any judgements on their character. Instead I described the scene in which I found myself and assigned it to an archetype with which I had experience.

Stereotypes will exist until we all end up wearing beige pant suits, we have the same hair, eye, and skin color, we all speak with the same language in the same tone, we all live in the same kind of house, have the same kind of car and on and on and on…in other words, always.

So, Adam, please. If you want to have a debate that’s fine. But only with a statement that makes sense. You can’t use the Chewbacca defense on me.


  1. I’m with you, this one is a no brainer. I went back to read your original post and in it, you were simply describing the scene for us, and that’s all it was. It was a good description and I felt as if I could visualize the scene entirely.
    Plus, Adam also overlooked one of the best parts of the post, where you ran out of the car to try to buy the house numbers for Nick’s Dad… I still like that one. What a great moment!

    Comment by Laura — February 18, 2007 @ 9:41 pm |Reply

  2. Back in the day we called folks like this guy a “TROLL”. Just eggin you on, tryin to get something out of you.

    I hold you in the highest regard, and it is to your credit that, rather than shrug and write him off, you chose to address his comment in a post.

    There was nothing in your entry that sounded alarms for me, if that helps reassure you. Everyone has their own perspective.

    Comment by TSM-terrifically superiorily mediocre — February 18, 2007 @ 10:34 pm |Reply

  3. aww. don’t let this guy bother you. you should have dropped the “gringo” bomb in your entry. that would have been fun.

    Comment by crystal — February 18, 2007 @ 11:47 pm |Reply

  4. Please god no beige pantsuits!

    Comment by Jay — February 19, 2007 @ 12:17 am |Reply

  5. Rock on IL! The Chewbacca defense shall not be upheld in this court of law!

    Comment by carnealian — February 19, 2007 @ 7:20 am |Reply

  6. Nice response, Lass.

    Comment by Gypsy — February 19, 2007 @ 8:21 am |Reply

  7. Lass, I would have liked to see his comment. But you were totally right – and it is typical of the kind of people who do stereotype(didn’t he do that to you?) and then cry racism or some sort. It’s funny how those who insist we must tolerate them and all their bad behavior but when we ask for the same curtesy we are roundly rejected.

    I think ‘troll’ still applies here. He is.

    Comment by writerchick — February 19, 2007 @ 9:44 pm |Reply

  8. Lass, I agree with the comments that you should shrug off comment. Clearly you’re not the reason that stereotypes exist. In your post you did not appear to be stereotyping or making any judgments, and you appeared to be simply describing the scene. I guess one question I had was what was the significance of you stating that you were the only white people there? Was it simple to describe the other people as latino? Or, were you trying to convey a level of discomfort that you felt b/c you were the only white people there.

    Either way, I still don’t think you were stereotyping or promoting a stereotype, so let the comment wash off your back.

    Comment by buttercup — February 20, 2007 @ 5:42 pm |Reply

  9. I’ve always enjoyed your blog, but I must admit that I agree with Buttercup. When I read that entry, I was curious why you stated that you were the only “white” people there. I don’t think you were stereotyping, but it made me a bit … uncomfortable? Again, I’m not being critical — I love reading your blog! But I was a bit surprised that was pointed out. Were you uncomfortable being the only Anglo people in the room? (The majority of U.S. Hispanics are “white” by the way). Anyway, just my thoughts. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Paul — February 23, 2007 @ 3:52 pm |Reply

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    Comment by pupkarik — May 3, 2008 @ 1:26 am |Reply

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