One of the things I’ve been doing with Max Borders’s book The Social Singularity is trying to identify the people who would be most likely to be interested in the book. This, as one can imagine involves a lot of targeting based on demographics, interests and other identifiers.
One of the things I am essentially doing, and which I find hilarious to think about in this way, is stereotyping. Sure, I’m not saying that a black man or a white man would have any greater incentive to read the book, but I am fidgeting in order to find out who would be most susceptible to the ideas of the novel.
Certainly, there are the (sometimes culty) bitcoin and blockchain enthusiasts who would love to sink their teeth into this book, as well as college kids who are identifying different political theories to tech nerds who can’t stop reading about digital and computing innovations and how said innovations will inspire change in their lives.
We’ve all met those people, or at least we know those people exist. We can all make stereotypical jokes about someone who’s a little extra techy, or is trying to find an identity, or is a little extra hyped about blockchain technology (and I say this as someone who’s hyped).
As uncouth as it is to say it, there is a value in stereotyping. Perhaps not stereotyping on the basis of race, or more specifically on factors that are outside of people’s control, but when stereotyping about the way people chose to identify is all fair game in my book.
It would not be far-fetched to assume someone with an exceptional interest in grunge metal and fashion on such a thing as tattoos and piercings. Certainly, not everyone with piercings and tattoos is interested in grunge metal and fashion, or vice versa, but there are often parallels. Perhaps it’s the way people maintain their styles that gives them a sense of inclusion within a greater social cohort, perhaps it’s genuinely that they are interested in both. Most likely it’s a combination of the two.
In either sense stereotyping can actually help understand someone’s identity. It can help you to try and provide topics of interest, and serve their identity should you choose to. If someone seems to me as a “man’s man” I might be more likely to bring up sports with him, than if he is really into feminism. Taking a bit and a piece of any characters identity, or any groups’ share identity, is useful in serving or making assumptions to assist those groups.
Certainly, the conviction you carry can be wrong, and it can be both hilarious and embarrassing when wrong, but so long as you approach people with a good and embracing motive, they will usually be more willing to hear you out.
Here’s to stereotyping (the good kind).