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Stereotypes are a collection of prejudiced beliefs held about members of a given group
which is defined by gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. Proponents of any form
of stereotype tend to justify their thoughts or statements on their belief that the members of any
given group are more predisposed to present certain behaviors or attributes (Burgess et al, 2011).
One of the most prevalent types of stereotypes is the racial kind. Examples are often made about
virtually all races. African-Americans for instance are said to achieve success through
professional sports as well as hip-hop music. Whites or Caucasians are also seen to be better at
blue-collar jobs and not sports or the entertainment industry. Mexicans on the other hand are
often prejudiced against as illegal immigrants who make it through odd jobs (Weber et al, 2014;
Owens and Lynch, 2012).
These stereotypes are often very harsh and highly controversial. While there will always
exist select individuals from these groups who present the characteristics conveyed in
stereotypes, there are also those who defy these and reach the highest levels of success in society.
This exercise will entail the highlighting of five individuals drawn from these different groups
and the way that they defy common stereotypes that could be held against them. The five
individuals are well-known and they include President Barack Obama, Eminem, Danny Trejo
and also Larry Bird.
Barrack Obama- African-American
He is the current president of the United States and one of the most striking aspects of
this man is the fact that he is of African-American descent. His biological father came from
Kenya, a country in Eastern Africa. He defied the typical stereotype about blacks long before he

became president. He was first an accomplished lawyer and later rose through political ranks
eventually being elected to the senate, winning the democrat presidential ticket and eventually
becoming the president of the United States in 2008. He is also an accomplished author with two
books to his name, namely “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams of my Father”. If he didn’t
achieve these it would be very hard for anybody to believe it was possible and this is the reason
many termed him as America’s first black president. The 42 men who held that position before
him were all white and the American political system is dominated by whites.
Larry Bird-White
Larry Bird is one of the most prominent figures on the NBA hall of fame. What is most
striking about him is the fact that he made such a great impact to the National Basketball scene
despite being white in a sport dominated by African-American professional players. He was
drafted to the Boston Celtics and won the title of “Most Valuable Player”, MVP several times in
his career. He was also a key member of one of America’s most formidable Olympic Basketball
Teams. Currently he is the president of the Indiana Pacers and many continue to revere him for
his defiance of the stereotype. The issue of his race and his ability to cope in professional
basketball was a subject of many a press-conference during his prime as well as later on
following his retirement in 1992 due to back problems.
Danny Trejo- Mexican
Danny Trejo has graced the silver screen on several occasions playing different
characters in block-buster films. His story is unique because he is an ex-convict and this, added
to his ethnicity would have spelled doom for any chances of his success. Despite this he has
proved himself time and time again that he is a good actor and this has led him to work with

some of the most influential directors in international Showbiz including Quentin Tartantino who
cast him as the main character in the cult-movie “Machete.”
Eminem- White
He goes by different names such as Marshall Mathers III which is his real name as well
as his stage name ‘eminem.’ He is a household name when it comes to do with all matters related
to hip-hop and more specifically rap music. Rap from its very inception has been dominated by
African-Americans with Acts such as Run DMC pioneering the industry. For the past three
decades it has always been seen as a preserve of people of this ethnicity. Eminem has not only
managed to make music but also to win awards and a huge following of fans despite his being a
white person.
Russel Peters, Comedian
This is a Canadian comedian of Indian descent. It is often thought that Indians who
migrate to America engage in different types of retail business or cab driving. He however defies
this by getting into the entertainment industry which has a limited number of people with Indian
roots. Despite this he has managed to curve a niche for himself in the international entertainment
industry through the satire he uses when pointing out the humorous side of cultural differences.
If he had not done it it would be close to impossible to convince anyone that there exists a
comedian with Indian roots commanding such a huge audience.


Burgess, M. C., Dill, K. E., Stermer, S. P., Burgess, S. R., & Brown, B. P. (2011). Playing with
prejudice: The prevalence and consequences of racial stereotypes in video games. Media
Psychology, 14(3), 289-311.
Owens, J., & Lynch, S. M. (2012). Black and Hispanic immigrants’ resilience against negative-
ability racial stereotypes at selective colleges and universities in the United States.
Sociology of education, 85(4), 303-325.
Weber, C. R., Lavine, H., Huddy, L., & Federico, C. M. (2014). Placing Racial Stereotypes in
Context: Social Desirability and

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