Ask McFartnuggets: “Do Stereotypes Protect Us From Danger?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
Stereotypes are demonized in today’s politically correct culture, but isn’t it true that stereotypes actually help us survive? It’s a stereotype that certain colored mushrooms are poisonous so is it wrong to avoid eating those types of mushrooms to keep from dying? No, and that’s the same as with people. If I see a group of Venezuelan teenagers walking down the sidewalk, I’m gonna cross to the other side. Is that racist? Maybe, but I’d rather be a living racist than a politically correct corpse! Why are we so against stereotypes when they help us stay alive? -- Debra from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dear Debra:
You have to differentiate mushrooms and people. Mushrooms aren’t really individuals capable of their own thoughts with their own feelings. You can’t insult a mushroom by thinking it’s poisonous. People on the other hand are a little more complex. You never know, that group of Venezuelans might have left you alone, but when they see you cross the street they could get offended and then kill you because of that. There are no foolproof methods here. You can’t purposefully avoid Asian drivers for example. Even if you hail a taxi and there’s a Chinese cab driver you can’t be afraid to get in because he’s clearly survived to that point. Yes, stereotypes do help us survive sometimes, that’s why you see so many elderly racist people. Their racist beliefs have clearly steered them to safety over the years. The thing to notice is how unhappy they usually are. You can either be racist and survive while being miserable and not be able to enjoy the full spectrum of people there are out there in the world, or you can incorporate all cultures into your life and occasionally risk being shanked to death by a gang. There’s no perfect way to live. I think the best thing to do is treat people like individuals and let their actions inform your decisions on how to treat them.

If you want to live a nice long life, being racist helps a little. Plus, assholes tend to live longer for some reason.

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