The 4-Way Test by Sheila Barcenas

The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Sheila Barcenas, Third Place
Grade 8, Judkins Middle School
Teacher: Christina Dwyer Principal: Ian Penton

A stereotype is an idea that many people have about a thing or group which may often be untrue or only partly true. In our daily lives we are being labeled because of our race, gender, sexuality, interests, etc. The Four Way Test may allow society to evaluate others by asking themselves, is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Not only is being stereotypical bullying, it’s also harmful and harassment of innocent people.

Is it the truth? Stereotypes make an individual fall under a false image. One word cannot define a person. An action cannot determine whether a person is good or bad. Society is caught up in judgements. They’re given and received. Stereotypes are followed by racism and hate. The constant labeling at schools doesn’t have an end. Kids are being treated and looked upon differently due too what others have said. School becomes a negative environment because of the tags their own peers have placed on one another.

Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Once again, no. For those who wish harm, it constructs a lack of empathy and puts down the person who is being labeled. Those who care about individuals being hurt won’t know they’re being emotionally harmed because they won’t speak up. Labeling can lead to severe damage either physically or emotionally. Bullying by labeling drives students who it’s majority affected to suicide or cutting. There isn’t a benefit for anyone for verbally harassing the innocent.

Will it build goodwill and better friendships? No. Stereotypes set unrealistic qualities of an individual who can be affecting the perspective of their actions on others. For example, at schools students are afraid of the “emos” for not being like them. The “nerds” are pathetic losers. “Jocks” and “preps” are the “cool” kids. In society the homeless are hopeless until someone rich comes around helps them and makes them seem like a hero. There’s a difference between wanting to help and wanting to improve your reputation. It’d create false publicity and relationships. You have the poor, middle class, and the rich. The word equality disappears. Someone wealthy wouldn’t want to see a poor person where they don’t belong. There’s a lack of friendship when people aren’t similar to each other. There isn’t any good in changing to appeal others.

Is it fair to all concerned? Once more, no. Words and incorrect interpretation can affect the overview towards a person. Not only can there be losses of friendships, but also loss of individuality. It’s not fair for the innocent people living peacefully while others are placing labels on them “defining” who they are. It’s unfair to the person who’s hurting others to create a negative ambiance. No one deserves to be judged upon being unique. Those who have a desire to be popular or wealthy by putting down others or faking a worthy action makes them petty. The feeling of being placed with a crowd that someone thinks you’d fit with isn’t fair. It reduces the probability of being able to cooperate with those who you feel comfortable with. Finally, stereotypes isn’t a matter f placing, it’s a matter of verbal harm that affects people of all ages.

The definition of stereotype can be phrased in many way’s. It is destructive of a person’s true personality. Society is based off of judging and comparing each other to make one look better. Instead of lowering each other’s self esteem, the world should fill itself with love, happiness and equality for all in different communities.

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