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Cultural stereotypes still exist

Everyone knows that stereotypes are wrong. We know that we should look at people as individuals and that we should not judge others.

But, refraining from stereotyping is a lot easier said than done. Stereotypes are reinforced in entertainment every day.

Most of us grew up watching cartoons. We loved watching characters like Pocahontas because she seemed exotic and magical.

Only that stereotype is not the real image of Native American women. This image becomes something that Native American women sometimes feel that they should fulfill because it is how society portrays them.

These broad generalizations of certain characters appear in TV and movies everywhere.

When we stop and think about the stereotypical roles that women and minorities often take on in films, the inaccuracies become very apparent.

However, when you sit down and watch a cartoon like Pocahontas, you are probably just taking in the music and the story, without a second thought of the underlying inaccurate portrayals of the characters.

If we do not even take the time to think about the problem of stereotypes, how can we expect to hold Hollywood responsible for continuing to promote them?

Children are especially sensitive to the media that they take in. Although cartoons may appear harmless, these stereotypes inevitably become a part of their psyche.

Just take a look at the little girls who dress up like “Indian Princesses,” or the boys who are ninjas on Halloween.

The problem is the mind-set that one acquires after repeatedly being exposed to these inaccurate stereotypes.

Often times, there are complaints about the “stupid, white father stereotype.” The difference between that stereotype and the ones that affect minorities and women is that we see white men take on a lot of other roles besides the “dumb father.”

Although we are seeing progress for minorities in more central and dynamic roles, there is still much progress to be made.

Halle Berry may have made headlines when she became the first black woman to win a best actress Oscar, but we should not be satisfied with simply reaching that milestone.

Awareness of stereotypes in entertainment is the first step. Now, real change is the next.

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