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Phi-210 Final Paper- Fact or Fiction

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By 574391Sr
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Fact or Fiction : Are People Judged Equally?
Critical Thinking- PHI 210
Instructor: Dr. Carla E. Thompson
Ronald McCall Sr.
May 20, 2013

Many opinions made by society and individuals are based on pre-conceived ideas that generalize a group of people and place certain characteristics based on these ideas to every individual of that group. These pre-conceived ideas are stereotypes and by definition is a thought or image about a group of people based on little evidence (Moore &Parker, pg 122). Stereotypes are created based on some idea of abstract familiarity. A stereotype can be deemed 'positive', or 'negative'. Concepts of stereotype are rarely invoked in instances of positive stereotypes. This paper will explore the stereotypes and rhetoric that are associated with four groups of people: politicians, tattooed persons, feminists, and senior citizens.
When looking at the one stereotype politicians is the ad hominem fallacy. The ad hominem fallacy is “the confusion between the qualities of the person making a claim and the qualities in the claim itself” (Moore & Parker, pg 173). Politicians are thought of as self-serving, hypocritical and dishonest con-artist. During a political campaign we see on the news how one attacks their opponents. The personal attack ad hominem fallacy is attacking another with negative comment. During campaigning it is bad because of the personal attacks on each other in order to discredit the other person. This is how they want to get voters on their side to vote for them. Politicians are a very unique group of people to explore stereotyping because they are probably the only group who uses stereotyping against each other, lease of which is positive (Green, 2009 ). In many ways, politicians create their own stereotype by announcing on national TV that their opponent possess every negative stereotype given to a politician. Although one will never hear the work “Democrat” without the words “tax and spend” attached (Green, 2009), American politics is based on stereotypes and Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, and Conservatives alike all have an identity within those stereotypes (McNaughton, 2007). “Arguments about "wasteful spending" and "pork barrel politics" are prime examples of slanted, hyperbolic, rhetorical devices” (Green, 2009) used by politicians to get the vote they are seeking, without such stereotypes a large, political group would not have a voice with the American public.
Stereotypes associated with tattooed persons are types of dysphemisms. They are either affiliated with gangs and or the military or urban mainstream. People get tattoos for various reasons but due stereotyping that the world has of them personnel with tattoos are categorized as criminals, bikers, gang members or people who are just stupid and disrespect there body. Tattoo stereotypes focus on the negative character of the tattooed person, focusing on their wild and reckless behavior or that he or she has loose morals. Women with tattoos also bear the rhetoric of the “tramp stamp”, which is a tattoo placed on the lower back; just above the waistline (Ford, 2008). A positive look at tattoos is that they have been around since ancient Egypt and have also been discovered on "the iceman" from millions of years ago. The art of tattooing was brought to the Americas by sailors traveling through Polynesia. A tattoo can commemorate a death of a family member, friend, or even a pet. Many times while doing memorial tattoos, artists will see the tears of the living flow under the buzz of the needle. The tattoo gives closure and security in knowing the memorial is permanently a part of the grieving person's body (Wells-Landry, 2009). Those with tattoos have a stereotype of being tough, scary, and delinquent. Many people who choose to cover their bodies with tattoos do so with a creative edge and it does not represent any delinquency per se. However, it is obvious that many criminals and gangs have tattoos as standards, and this realization seems to bleed into the mainstream population of those with tattoos. It is unfortunate that society deems those with tattoos as estranged wrongdoers as it certainly impinges on the ability to gain employment or be generally respected and greeted appropriately by others.
The next stereotype is the feminist and they are known for being man-haters, tree hugging and bra less lesbians. The misconception of feminist is the same as politicians. Learning this feminist wanted the same rights as men. In my view, feminism has been on a roller-coaster path, similar, but not quite parallel path to the Civil Rights Movement of Martin Luther King along with issues of Affirmative Action. They began with a tremendous struggle for equal rights and fairness under the law and over time, fracture into groups whose interests extend beyond equal rights. The text states, “likening one thing to another thing in order to convey a negative-or positive-feeling about it is a rhetorical analogy (Moore, Parker, 2007).The feminist stereotype has evolved from the “bra-burning” rhetoric of the 1970’s to the “man-hating”, “lesbian” rhetoric of today. Like with the other stereotypes previously discussed, there are some bra-burning, man-hating, lesbians amongst their ranks but the negative stereotype simply is not common place. Feminists are simply those who believe the rights of men and women should be equal and although the stereotype that men cannot be feminists is debate-able, according to this definition it is untrue. Per Liesbet van Zoonen; one encounters correspondingly limited expectations of cultural and media critique in discussions with students and colleagues. According to their logics, a feminist viewpoint on the media implies a univocal, confident and unswerving denunciation of popular culture, both for its sexist and oppressive portrayal of women and for the devastating effects it is supposed to have on women and men. Students, colleagues and journalists alike will then argue against such a position claiming that feminism draws a narrow picture of media and cultural practice. To make matters more complicated, it is not only non-feminist that construct feminist cultural critique as rigid and austere (Zoonen, 1998).

There does not seem to be an outstanding stereotype for senior citizens. The movie "Grumpy Old Men" could be used as a symbol of a stereotype. A shuffling gait and a dislike of kids are stereotypes but those who abuse their bodies may shuffle about, have gray hair and wrinkles, especially those who sun too much and smoke and dislike kids. I believe no one knows exactly where one begins to be a senior citizen. Another look can be the commercials on AARP, when you reach the age of fifty you automatically qualify. Gray hairs and wrinkles could support a stereotype and be true. Many of the physical and some psychological attributes can be attributable to any age group. In Congress, using the situation of many elderly regarding Medicare and social security in their arguments could stereotype and it would be true.
In the United States and other industrialized nations aging has not been associated with the increased status and respect. Rather, as a social group, the elderly have been subject to traditional negative assumptions about the aging process that focus on decline and disability (Perry, 1995). As a result, many elderly individuals have experienced a loss of status, reduction in personal contacts, and decreased income (Robin & Langer, 1980). Moreover, young and elderly individuals tend to rely on such negative assumptions instead of seeking out facts about the elderly and the aging process. (Hale, 1998). As with all stereotypes discussed, there are certainly those who fit the bill but many who do not. Unlike the other three categories, becoming a senior citizen is not a choice for those who are lucky enough to reach that age and as society ages, so do the stereotypes of a senior citizen.
I have heard that a good story or a good lie has a foundation of truth; stereotypes bring to mind the same thing. Individuals bring their own beliefs, hobbies, and interests to the group they are associated and stereotyping usually only applies to a small minority of that group. Although I did not have a great revelation, I have learned generalizations regarding some groups that I had not heard before, namely politics. Since I am not really into politics and have little time for CSPAN, I didn’t realize how much damage they do to themselves but also how much politics relies on such stereotypes for a group to be heard by the American people.

References

Ford, A. M. (2008). Tattoo Stereotypes. Retrieved on November 28, 2010 from, http://ezinearticles.com/?Tattoo-Stereotypes&id=1817072
Green, W. D. (2009). Politicians, Tattooed People, Feminists and the Elderly: A Rhetorical and
Stereotypical Essay. Retrieved on November 27, 2010 from, WIlliam D Green http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1810522/politicians_tattooed_people_feminists_pg2_pg2.html?cat=47 Hale, N. M. (1998). Effects of age and interpersonal contact on stereotyping on the elderly.
Retrieved on November 27, 2010 from, http://www.springerlink.com/content/t50872q6n3065296
McNaughton, G. (2007). The Importance of Stereotypes in American Politics. Retrieved on
November 26, 2010 from, http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474976962569
Van Zoonen L. (1994)Feminist media studies. Retrieved on November 26, 2010 from, http://books.google.com/books?id=-lllyn2gnaAC&lpg=PP9&ots=gyH2l5jF2U&lr&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false Wells-Landry B. (2009). The positive and negative effects of getting tattooed. Retrieved on November 27,
2010 from, http://www.examiner.com/tattoo-in-peoria/the-positive-and-negative-effects-of-getting-tattooed

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