Summary: In this clip from Up in the Air, George Clooney rattles off several stereotypes of people in an airport (including Asians, people with infants, and the elderly). When his co-star (Anna Kendrick) replies "That's racist," Clooney responds with "I'm like my mother. I stereotype. It's faster." This short clip demonstrates stereotyping, which begins in the physical world, and is used to simplify and control judgments about everyday situations. Students can be encouraged to think about how individuals belong to a wide range of group memberships, ethnic and cultural groups, large-scale social categories (sex, gender, race, age, social class, religion, etc.), occupational and other groups, but as shown by this video, stereotyped groups are reduced to a single physically-apparent status. This can then be linked to the broader social structure, noting that when there is a history of conflict or social inequality between two groups, people tend to rationalize discriminatory behavior through stereotypes; people then use stereotypes to change or maintain the status quo. Suggested readings to pair with video: (1) Taylor, D. and McKirnan, D. 1984. "A Five-Stage Model of Intergroup Relations ." British Journal of Social Psychology. 23: 291-300. (2) Turner, J., Hogg, M., Oakes, P., Reicher, S. and Wetherell, M. 1987. Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorisation Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
Submitted By: Simone Belli