Did People Rely on Stereotypes?

Interesting observations about stereotyping in the Wall Street Journal:

“For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see. In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.”

This precis of Gestalt psychology was written by Walter Lippmann in his classic book “Public Opinion” back in 1922. He was explaining how the press thinks — how an editor or reporter decides what to put in his newspaper every morning. You can’t print everything that happened yesterday, and the pressure of deadlines prohibits any serious reflection. The editor operates — can only operate — by applying to the day’s events ideas and categories he already carries around in his head. By applying what Lippmann called “stereotypes.”

Source: The Press Pack: News by Stereotype 

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