Conscious or not, we are receiving tons of information right now. With internet, searching for information is extremely easy – I can say this because I’ve lived in the era where I relied on hard-copy textbooks and teachers. But now, with the appearance of internet in my house, everything changed. I am able to say hi to my cousins in America easily, studying scientific papers, learning new technology, as well as junk information such as false gossips and bumping people’s business.

If you are internet lurkers, you will meet these kind of comments: “Asian” (post/ comment when there is an East Asian boy/girl achieves something impossible). “Americans” (comment I often saw about how a person doesn’t know about trivial things). “Chuck Norris” (overdrive badassness?). “Made in China” (fake goods or everything you get from random store). “Japan” (a country full of otaku). Too bad no “Indonesian” – I’d like to know what other people from other countries see my country. But what are these? Stereotype, isn’t it.

It is a very powerful statement that describe something, often exaggerating it. We all know that not all “Asian” are supermen/women and the statement of “If you achieved something, there are 7 year old Asians achieved more than you” is so… well, can’t be applied to everyone. But people do it anyway, and it spreads and people think it is true to the point they don’t bother to check the information. For example, at first I don’t know John Terry with all people talking about him, I begin to think he’s all about some kind of pervert football player who steals other’s girlfriends–oops. Later I knew he was into ‘accident’ that people start spreading the word in many ways possible.

I found this a bit disturbing. It’s not only in the internet, I found this stereotyping happens in the real life too. It is often included in sarcasm, but there are people (like I write before) take the information as sole truth that they’ll jump in surprise once they found something different about the said subject. Let me give you some example: “We cannot compete; let the ‘BPK Penabur Chinese’ do the job (math/ science olympiade)”. BPK Penabur is a Christian high school (that I studied) in my country who is said to produce intelligent students that win the olympiads. It is mainly attended by Indonesian Chinese descents. They undirectly said that “Chinese descent from BPK high school are intelligent in science”. Well, not wrong, but not true as well. I’m a Chinese descent and graduated from BPK but is average student. Or, “Indonesian Politicians” are dirty rich and corrupt, takes people’s money into their bank accounts and never to look deeper into the society. One may surprise when they see a honest politician as they see a rare unicorn walking in the street. Oh my, not to mention these kind of negative stereotypes are abused for mockery and racism issues.

To change this outward perception and to fight stereotype is very hard, but not impossible. Remember there are ‘outlayers’ and each people are different. The stereotype is not the main thing to be blamed for; it is just a form of people’s first impression toward something – that is often a mistake. If that’s the case, the fault lies either to us doing those kind of things that makes people think that way or people are too short minded to the point they would brand anyone they met with stereotypes. All we can do is open our mind and use the ‘stereotype’ only for fun/ joke/ sarcasm, not more than that. For the sake of our better world.

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