October 19, 2012 by rosaf15
Although I have grown up in a diverse community, I still have stereotypes and prejudices about homeless people that may have a negative impact on the kind of leader I become. By engaging with my stereotypes and bias beliefs about these people, I will become an open minded leader that is willing to engage and accept the culture and ideas of others.
Before understanding the impact society can have on individuals, I would stereotype homeless people or people living in poverty as being lazy and irresponsible. Every time I saw a person living on the streets or begging for money, I would feel pity for them but at the same time I would grow angry at those people. I could not understand why so many Americans lived in these conditions and I could not understand why these people did not take advantage of the many opportunities America has to offer them. Although I always felt some sort of responsibility for helping these underprivileged people, my stereotypes and prejudice thoughts deterred me from getting to know the necessities of these people.
I eventually began to expose myself to these people and my stereotypes have drastically changed. After volunteering at an organization where most of the children were exposed to violence and poverty and after addressing the problem of homeless people in my sociology class, my stereotypes were soon eliminated. By exposing myself to my imperfections, I began to understand that before I make a judgment about a group I must consider each individual case or situation. I also began to evaluate and analyze the potential factors that have affected or have caused many people to go homeless or to live in poverty. Essentially, after exposing myself to my stereotypes, I was able to acknowledge my misbeliefs and reevaluate my judgments.
In order to be the effective leader I aspire to be, I must become aware of my surroundings and the possible impact societal factors can have on a group or on an individual. It is unfair and not logical for me to give someone a label simply because I have a misunderstanding of an individuals’ way of living. Also, if I do not expose myself to my stereotypes, I will have a hard time eliminating my judgments and eventually accepting each individual.