Full Service Westside

Wednesday, April 10th, students gathered at Muscatine Community College (MCC) Student Center to see Barbara Dunn Swanson from Iowa State University present her, “Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts” presentation, created by Leslie C. Aguilar, author of the book OUCH! That Stereotype Hurts – Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World. Swanson defines stereotypes as, “an oversimplified image or statement applied to a whole group of people without regard for the individual. Here’s what I hope we can do, is explore some communication skills for speaking out when you feel like you have been misheard, misunderstood, or when someone says something inappropriate.”
She then went around the room asking the handful of students and staff in attendance who they were and if there has ever been a time where they heard a stereotype mentioned or they’ve seen it happen to someone else.
Jasmine Mejia, a sophomore at MCC said, “One of the stereotypes I’ve heard was during high school soccer. We were going against a team and beating them, and they said, ‘Oh it’s because you guys are Mexican,’ and called us names, it’s just stupid.” From across the room, Cassandra Soto, who used to be on the same soccer team said, “I remember that.”
Another student, Yasmin Cruz, a member of the Calumet newspaper added, “One of the times I’ve been stereotyped is, I wear a lot of black and I always had headphones on in high school and people said, ‘Oh since you wear a lot of black and listen to headphones all the time you must be emo or some type of goth.”
Swanson went on to explain just how much speaking up can make a difference, acknowledging that there is a right and wrong way to do it. She says not to participate in “Silent Collusion,” to not go along with the crowd and not to wait for an “ally,” someone who speaks up for someone else, because speaking up yourself makes the most effect. Suggestions to counteract stereotyping would be assuming good intent by the person or person and explain the negative impact. Another way is to ask a question such as, “what did you mean by that?” In the event that someone might not know how to explain the impact, or they are shy, there is one more method, to say “Ouch” or “Ouch, that stereotype hurts.”
Along with combating stereotypes from other people, Swanson also explained stereotypes can incidentally come from one’s self sayings and that we also have to take responsibility. “Well ouch is when someone steps on your toes, but you usually say oops if you’ve stepped on somebody else’s.”

Full Service Westside