Knowledge of Stereotypes

Is it useful to understand various stereotype about specific people and cultures? Can this knowledge potentially save your life?  Some interesting comments from Thomas Sowell:

When you are walking down a dark street at night and you see a shadowy figure in an alley up ahead, do you judge him as an individual—or do you cross the street and pass on the opposite side? Judging him as an individual could cost you your life….Recently, a black, middle-class professional wrote of his resentment when he was asked to pay for his meal in advance in an Asian-owned restaurant—especially after he noted that a white couple that came in was not asked to do the same. Was this arbitrary racism or self-protection based on experience in this neighborhood?

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