I don't like it when people say, "All men are stupid." or "All women are backstabbers who take advantage of men."
These are the types of statements I hear when people are talking about the opposite sex and romantic relationships in general. I understand there are differences between the sexes, but I think that holding these opinions hold people back from truly understanding those they're in a relationship with. This happens with anyone, just as much as that random person you generalize off the street as your ex who is obviously the most horrible person in the universe and makes all men/women untrustworthy.
People are different, that isn't a secret. When something is different, people see it as odd and frightening to interact with it. After all, most people would be pretty paranoid if they were dropped in some random alleyway in an unknown city. However, when it comes to other humans, you can't just expect to completely ignore them. Sometimes there are places you've never seen, cultures you've never experienced, and if you become open to them, the world becomes a little bit bigger and beautiful.
I find that when it comes to conversations about race, that in my family, it can prevent productive discussion about issues in the real world. I know when people I know make off comments about other Hispanic people and other races, it isn't exactly the most unbiased viewpoint in the world. It's so easy to chalk people up to a stereotype, I know I definitely do it. It makes people look less important than they actually are when I really don't understand them or the world they come from. When they talk to me, I've already turned off my ability to hear everything they've said.
I know a peer of mine who easily stereotypes and is overall pretty arrogant to his fellow students. When it comes to dealing with those who are minorities in the class, he will have less patience while conversing with them. He won't listen to their viewpoints and will get angrier much faster than with others. He can be kind, but he has obvious biases that keep people away. This is surprisingly common, but just because it is normal, does not mean that it is healthy or good.
Imagine a world where we didn't stereotype or assume people based on their appearances. This is idealistic, I know, but an ideal world should be considered. It would be much easier to communicate with people from different cultures, and a healthier understanding of other people which leads to a unified society with individuality at its core. This approach works in diverse communities to a certain extent. After all, it is typically assumed that a more diverse community leads to a highly tolerant community. While race relations may be better in these areas, diversity will not cure this issue on its own.
Biases still exist, and racism, sexism and all other "isms" will never be solved if the definition is so broad, but that's the way it needs to be. Even if there's the small minority fighting for discrimination, if most people can resist the urge to categorize others, then a productive discussion about controversial issues can occur. When we boil ourselves down to the most basic category, we are all humans, but as we expand, we realize we are products of our environments in many ways. This lays the seeds of hate in our hearts when in other circumstances, you could have been born a different religion, race, orientation or gender. If you were in their shoes, how would you react, how would you argue?
You may never know unless you get out there and talk to those people, knowledge enriches lives socially, compassion makes you a kinder person. Your arguments will also improve and maybe even change if you listen to people from all walks of life. I haven't gotten enough of this yet, but I know I will try.