diversity and overcoming stereotypes with critical thinking consider how thinking critically and embracing diversity helps us to overcome stereotypes.

The word stereotype originally referred to a method used by printers to produce duplicate pages of text. This usage still rings true. When we stereotype, we gloss over individual differences and assume that every member of a group is a “duplicate.” These assumptions are learned, and they can be changed.” (Ellis, 2015).

Our text further states, “A stereotype is an assumption that all members of a group are the same. Stereotypes ignore the differences among people.” (Ellis, 2015).

To discover how stereotypes can enter your mind, take a moment to do a short thinking experiment. List the first words that come to mind when you see or hear the following terms. Write quickly and do not stop to think about your responses.

  • Musician
  • Eskimo
  • Homeless people
  • Mathematicians
  • Football players
  • Computer programmers

Let’s reflect and discuss:

  • Reflect on your responses. Do you see any evidence of stereotypes? Explain and discuss your results.
    • Based on your results of this exercise 
    • how can we use critical thinking to help embrace diversity and overcome stereotyping?
      • How might these concepts be applied here in class or to the workplace?


Ellis, D. (2015). Becoming a master student (15th ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.