Sample Essay on Myths and Stereotypes Compare and Contrast

Myths are stories or collective beliefs that have no natural explanation or factual determinable basis. On the other hand, a stereotype is a type of fixed thinking about an object or a specific set of individuals about certain conduct. There is possibility that stereotypes have some sense of reality since most of them are outcomes of oversimplification, exaggeration, or generalization. For instance, there are certain myths about the Indian Americans as well as stereotypes associated with this set of the American population. Myths and stereotypes exist for all races and tribes worldwide. Therefore, they are not just limited to the Indian race. This is evident in the mentality that even Germans must dress in a certain manner.

There are myths about American Indians. For example, since they are natives, they prefer being called natives (Fleming 2). They receive special treatment from the government, and their race is nearing extinction. That an individual can easily identify an Indian, and that all Indians live in reserves, that natives intuitively have knowledge of their culture and historical backgrounds; and that Indian Americas are pleased with the Indian mascots is a myth (Fleming 3). Similarly, stereotypes also have the thinking that race and tribe of a person is normally identifiable from the physical traits and popular culture of various groups. For example, “Long black hair, braids, feathers, beads“, are racial stereotypes for American Indians, and “lederhosen and Tyrolean hats” are for German men (Rita par 6 & 8).

Native as identity is a non-conception of inhabitants but rather a making of academic trends. In-depth analysis of aboriginals’ history dictated native as their description. What others view as a privilege is a price already paid for by the Indian ancestors, and natives still do such things as payment of federal taxes just as non-natives. The natives not only live in the reserve but also in towns, most natives have no knowledge about the historical facts and culture, and they need knowledge about the same just as others do. Most natives are against mascots as they view them as invasive and disparaging.

Even though myths may contain certain elements of truth, a large proportion portray overstatements. Stereotypes borrow from myths in that once people have believed in certain baseless aspects of some people’s culture and history, these believes evolve into kind of a fixed mentality that things are really the way such beliefs insinuate. Myths and stereotypes may be constructive and undesirable, though most of them are harmful. Stereotypes have a picture of how things ought to be, and appear and any deviation from such mentality becomes fiction. On the other hand, myths make the line between reality and fiction to be very thin that a person cannot distinguish between truth and lies.

A close link subsists between myths and stereotypes. Stereotypes are harmful in that they tend to apply the attributes of a group to an individual. Stereotypes override facts making it very difficult to establish where the truth lies. Myths on the other hand depict exaggeration of certain aspects of a people’s culture and historical facts. Myths base on stories that people tell about cultures and other life aspect; while stereotypes are generalizations about what a particular group has been doing or known to be doing overtime. Therefore, the possibility that a stereotype is invalid in its application is higher in comparison to the likelihood that a myth is actually void of any true elements.