It is said that people are very easily influenced of who they are when they are at a young age. Myself, I was raised into a family that only let you do anything if you were getting good grades and being active outside of school with sports. My whole life I was brought up that I had to go to college, there was no other option for me. But in fact, both my parents did not go to college when they left high school and waited over 15 years to finally get their college degree. I was drilled throughout my entire child hood on being good at school and graduating from college, don’t get me wrong I really think college is the right choice, but I never explored any other option at all. I had a giant bias in me that if I don’t graduate from college I’m going to end up as some homeless person or a 40 year old man who lives in his parent’s basement. Family environments can be like a blind fold to a new born baby. Babies are born knowing nothing, virtually blind to the world, and then family environments take their blindfold, in this case strong biases, and just cover up their eyes before they can even start to see.
I was raised in gilbert Arizona where the majority of people you would find are Mormon. Because of this I developed a lot of bias and stereotypes for the Mormon community. It got to the point before I could even realize it that when I saw a person I would label him/her as Mormon or non-Mormon as if they were restricted to only a certain attire or attitude. I was in choir for 4 years in high school and I really saw that as a big family to me, but in my school about 75% of the entire choir was Mormon so I had such strong ideals in my head about them. One day I was talking to my friend Mellissa, who was a Mormon, and it really shed light upon me. We were always hanging out together and had a fun time but I had it in my mind that Mormons only date other Mormons so I never asked her out on dates and she was finally frustrated enough to talk to me about it. In our conversation she told me, “Not every Mormon is the same, we all have different views.” I was just so use to the stereotypes that I built up that I started to think that she was just a Mormon named Mellissa; instead of seeing it as Mellissa my friend who is a Mormon.
Relating this to the Asian culture, my best friend Ngoc that I have been friends with since I was in 2nd grade came from Vietnam. His family moved over here for business and to start a new. He didn’t speak very well English at the time he was transferred into my class but we still ended up becoming friends. We hung out a lot and did almost everything together; even today we are friends and see each other at least once a week. I also see us in a family sense because we would eat at each other’s house, spend the night, and have the same classes throughout high school. I never really held as strong a stereotype against Asians as I did other ethnicities because I was around them and understood how diverse they could really be.
I strongly agree that Families can create biases and stereotypes for you, but at the same time it can help you completely remove a bias or a stereotype; in that sense I think you can describe it as a double edged sword. Groups that people are exposed to because of their family have not been labeled with the normal stereo types that usually come with people. It also can hurt you where you can build a certain bias or stereotype because of your family for not being exposed to a certain group. It is a way of thinking that will always happen in my opinion. Families won’t share ideals that they don’t hold themselves so it will always happen. Hopefully people will go out and explore other cultures for themselves and realize it is not as different as it might seem.