Hard on the heels of the ACSC lesson on stereotypes, deftly tucked in to the lesson on cultural awareness and sensitivity, came a glimmer of intelligence:
GENERALIZATIONS VS. STEREOTYPES
When discussing domains and dimensions, keep in mind that the focus is on generalizations and tendencies, not stereotypes. The dominant behaviors and values of a culture will never be shared by all of its members. Factors such as age and generation, gender, socio-economic and educational level, occupation, and life experience can lead to significant differences from individual to individual. Please see the illustration below for a graphic depiction of stereotypes and generalizations.
Reading that paragraph I recalled my thoughts on reading bird-watching handbooks. (My in-laws are relatively serious bird-watchers.) As I looked through the colorful illustrations, drawn to highlight the distinctive features of each breed (species, whatever), I remarked, "How come I never see any birds that look like this? All I see are darkish blobs tearing through the sky." But apparently people much more observant than I am find these guides useful.
Of course, I would caution any freshly-scrubbed ACSC graduate hoping to take refuge in, "But it's not a stereotype, it's a generalization!" to, um, proceed cautiously. I'm sure Jason Richwine would concur.