What is the most eye-rolling stereotype you have ever encountered?
by Joey Chung and Hiba Kanj
There is a famous saying among some international students that the Australian accent is the hardest English they have ever heard. It is because Australians say “ay” as “ie”, so in Australia we say, “Today is a good day” as “To die is a good die.” Ask yourself, as a fellow Australian, do you speak like that? There is a high chance that you do not.
This is a stereotype.
Stereotypes are everywhere and can be about any people or anything. This is something we cannot avoid in our daily life. No one can guarantee they do not have any stereotypes in their life, maybe it is just that they are not aware of it.
Did you know stereotypes can also lead to unconscious bias?
Take the example above: when a person living overseas hears about that Australian stereotype, they might just think that is hilarious and not have any other response to it. However, when they are considering studying aboard, the above stereotype might turn into unconscious bias. They might think the Australian accent is really that bad, they cannot hope to understand it, so it is better for them to study in the UK or US instead of Australia.
How can we tackle this?
First, we need to be aware of the stereotypes we have in our own mind, but: how do we know what the stereotypes are? We do not know what we do not know!
To understand more about different stereotypes, join the ALIA Multicultural Webinar on 30 June. We will discuss stereotypes both positive and negative and consider how unconscious bias might affect our professional life.
This webinar is organised by Joey Chung and Hiba Kanj who will facilitate the discussion. Registration details for the webinar are coming.
Joey Chung, Website and Systems Librarian from Holmesglen Institute. Joey has beaten a few Asian stereotypes personally, loves flying under the radar and breaking stereotypes in the sector since joining academic libraries in 2011
Hiba Kanj– Customer Experience Manager from City of Parramatta Libraries, NSW