Stereotypes

The Underlying Issue

The Basics of Human Rights

"Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible." - Ohchr.org


Human rights have many issues related to it, many of which are serious problems that need to be addressed. Yet there is one thing most, if not all, of these issues share in common. When human rights are brought up, it is claimed that we are all equal, yet stereotypes are always what degrade each and every one of is in some way into being something we aren't.


Stereotypes are traits, physical or personality wise, claimed to be had by specific people. This is where a lot of people have been mistreated on false speculation. For example, I'm sure you've heard this saying multiple times in some form or another: "You can't hit a girl." While this is true, there is an underlying issue with the claim that can cause abuse of human rights. You are not allowed to hit anyone under most laws, not just women. This saying assumes women either need extra protection or are somehow above others, both of which are not true. These things can be seen for males too. Men are often paid more for doing the same job as a woman, this is implying the men are doing a better job which yet again is not true.


Every person with equal is capable of doing great things, the fact that we attribute specific things based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and etcetera is something that needs to be fixed. While it is not the most obvious abuse of another's human rights, it does lead to unnecessary conflicts. Most other forms of human rights abuse can be linked to some form of stereotype or assumption that one type of person is better than another or worth something else compared to another human life.

Stereotypes and the Correlation to Human Rights

Many times, people can say a stereotype is formed from the abuse of one's human rights too. Women, african americans, and gay/lesbian/bisexual people all have several stereotypes attributed to them that all of us have seen in some place or another. These groups have fought to gain the rights they should have had in the first place. However I believe that these stereotypes helped enforce the infringement of these people. In a way, these stereotypes helped spread the ideas of what these people were and tried to justify the beliefs against these people. It tries to demoralize them as something less than what they are.


Stereotypes are not just an image, they are a message. They are a constant poison making us have irrational thoughts about a person before we even meet them. It makes us view others differently for no reason other than the fact that it is "all that we have to go by". Even positive stereotypes are bad for people as it puts higher expectations on these people. It makes us disappointed when these normal people can't do or aren't what we expected.

Why it's Important

Stereotypes, while seeming like one of the least problematic human rights issue, is one of the easier issues for each of to fix on an individual level. Instead of judging someone by their appearance or any other thing other than his or her personality, we could take the time to actually hear what that person has to say before we decide how we view that person or how highly we respect their opinions.


Stereotypes promote and justify other human rights violations and can cause more just by existing. They are simple, but effective and we all know them. It's a scary thought to think about how many stereotypes a person knows yet we don't know the truth. We choose to lazily let stereotypes slide or accept them as fact.


If you wish to help give everyone an equal chance, it starts with you. There is no organization for this problem as it's so integrated into our society, we don't recognize it as an underlying issue in human rights. To combat this problem, we simply have to think more about why we believe certain things. We have to better ourselves by seeking the truth.