Are Stereotypes Damaging ~ Rhetoric and Stereotypes

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Are Stereotypes Damaging? Peggy Renee Pounds PHI 103 – Informal Logic Instructor Tara LaCasta-Revell November 29, 2010 Are Stereotypes Damaging? Stereotypes are used to describe people every day. The rhetorical languages used to describe groups of people are found as early as childhood. As children grow some become linked to having certain characteristics and are stereotyped with those who they associate themselves with or how their home life is. Groups like politicians, those with tattoos, feminists, and senior citizens are among the most stereotyped people known. The stereotypes that go with these particular groups can be especially damaging. Through analyzing the stereotypes and the rhetorical language used to reinforce them, it is quite obvious to see the substantial negative effects from those stereotypes. “Language that reduces people or things to categories can induce an audience to accept a claim unthinkingly or to make snap judgments concerning groups of individuals about whom they know little” (Moore, 2007, p.122). Snap judgments are what uninformed people make about groups and these judgments become prejudice and bias. The words used to describe certain groups can certainly influence the thoughts other people have on those same groups, thus, damaging the group being stereotyped. Politicians seem to be high on the list of those stereotyped. Often politicians are seen as “self-serving, hypocritical, dishonest con artists” (Smith, 2009). Politicians are more often than not seen in a negative light. If you have ever watched Glenn Beck, Shawn Hannity, Dick Morris, or most the political analysts you can see on television or listen to on news radio, you have heard the rhetorical language used to describe the political leaders. We have also seen this done in a humorous notion. Those who have watched Bill Maher or Jon Stewart has been witness to the

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