Obviously the big story in social change this week is the Google Manifesto, where an engineer was fired for “perpetuating stereotypes” against women.
Enough people are talking about whether the Manifesto was valid or not, and whether the engineer deserved to get fired, so I instead am thinking about stereotypes themselves.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when a woman lamented about how people felt almost affronted when they found out her partner was female, as if she was somehow hiding something from them, or that they should have known.
Stereotypes aren’t inherently bad. The brain uses stereotypes as a shortcut to help us understand a situation quickly, so as to free our brain power for new information. It’s like when you walk into a room. You don’t need to relearn each time what a floor is, or a wall, or a window. From our memories and our learning, we can spend as little brain power as possible on these items and instead focus on other things. Continue reading “Stereotypes are Natural, but Important to Counter”