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The Importance of Checking Informational Books

Stereotypes are as old as humans themselves and they are here stay as long as humans stay. They refer to ideas/generalizations that people hold about others who are different from them. (e.g. Women thinking that men are bad drivers (Gender), blacks thinking whites are poor in sports (racial) and Asians thinking that Europeans are inferior (ethnic).

Information or misinformation- An understanding that generalizations are not to be taken as rigid rules is important to any holistic learning. If an informational book indulges in stereotyping and the reader out of faith or ignorance does not question the validity of such generalizations rather accepts them straight forward, the informational book turns out to be a ‘misinformation’ book. This does more harm than good to the learning process.

Ego trip for similar readers- Most of misgivings/ generalizations (especially negative stereotyping) give a boost to the ego of the person stereotyping (citing some one as inferior thus hinting at ones superiority). An informational article written by an author on such an ego trip, when read by a reader on the same side of the fence (say same gender or same race or same ethnicity) also tends to feel superior or at least inclined to the biases. This is especially true if he is a susceptible reader.  (Page 161-165, Stereotypes and stereotyping’

Assault on self respect of readers being stereotyped – any stereotypical remark in an information booklet when read by the member of group being stereotyped could result in either a reactionary rejection or a hit at the self worth. For e.g. Many men reading a statement that ‘men are bad drivers’ may either reject it outright in anguish and may exhibit reactions by striking back or may actually start believing in it. Both of the situations are undesirable outcomes of any informational article.    (Page 254-255, Stereotypes and stereotyping’

Promoting vested interests: Stereotypes are sometimes intentionally used by vested interest groups to promote one set of ideas with a gullible group. And if that is not the intention, stereotypes need to be weeded out of any informative article that is meant to give a holistic picture. (Page 369, Stereotypes and stereotyping’

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