Stereotypes are complete bullshit. You are not your nationality, you are a person in the world with a different personality from everyone else, who happened to be born in and grow up in some place in the world.
Japanese are a super calm, tranquil people right? Well they also have 14 levels of expressing anger and ‘anger rooms’, a place to completely fuck all the shit up in a room, you want, by throwing shit and smashing stuff, originated in Japan.
Australians are laidback, relaxed and friendly people right? Oh, but they also do this:
Road rage – literally feeling rage, on a road, at how people (who you don’t know) steer their vehicles.
Stereotypes are also a fallback of the lazy
There are well-known stereotypes, but not only are they bullshit, they also hold the weaker people back. Say a Korean student in my class doesn’t want to speak up, are they doing it because they don’t want to, or is a part of them saying ‘Well, this was how I was brought up. And I’m Korean so what do you expect?
Your nationality is something you had no control over deciding, but you have complete control over deciding your own personality traits. None of them have been pre-set in you because of where you were born or grew up.
If someone tells you about someone and introduces them by their nationality, they are not their nationality, or traits associated with stereotypes of that nationality. Maybe instead of attaching stereotypical personality traits to someone when we are told their nationality, we should attach nothing to them. They are not this:
or even this:
A person. In the world. Go from there.
Same thing goes for names
How do you feel when someone forgets your name? Did you choose it? Is it the most important thing about you? Or are the things you like, some interesting quirks of your personality, or the way you think much more significant than some arbitrary arrangement of letters used for classifying you (your name.) This is why I don’t ask my students their name (or nationalities) until after I get to know who they are a bit.