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Racial Justice Resources for Activists, Advocates & Allies

This guide serves as a resource for the UC community to learn about activism and allyship as it pertains to racial justice and anti-racism.


What Are Racial Stereotypes?

Racial stereotypes are automatic and exaggerated mental pictures that we hold about all members of a particular racial group. When we stereotype people based on race, we don’t take into account individual differences. Because our racial stereotypes are so rigid, we tend to ignore or discard any information that is not consistent with the stereotype that we have developed about the racial group. (UND)

How Stereotypes Are Formed 

When you encounter someone, you make split-second judgments based on that individual’s appearance. Within an instant, your brain is trying to help you determine whether an individual is trustworthy and safe, or whether they likely pose some sort of emotional, social, or physical risk. And these judgments will affect how you feel and how you act.

Many of your stereotypes were developed when you were a child. Here’s how some generalizations about race can likely be formed:

  • When your teachers showed you famous scientists and historical figures, what race were most of the examples? 
  • When you watched crime stories on the news, what race did you see most often?
  • How did your parents talk and interact with people of other races?
  • How did your family treat people who were the same race as them?
  • Who were your childhood heroes? 
  • What race were most of your favorite sports figures?  
  • Were the entrepreneurs, celebrities, and musicians you liked mostly a certain race?
  • How do advertisers portray certain races? 
  • Who tends to appear in magazines or advertisements as the ideal standard of beauty? 
  • Do you see certain types of people being portrayed as smart? Wealthy? Healthy? 

How Stereotypes Influence Your Behavior

Your stereotypes affect how you behave as well. Here are some examples:

  • When you’re reviewing resumes, the candidates’ names may influence whether you contact them. Names that make you think someone is part of a certain group or race may attract you while other names may deter you.
  • You might walk to the other side of the street when you see individuals from a certain group approaching you.
  • You might choose a seat in class or when using public transportation based on what people look like. 

(very well mind)


While stereotypes may refer to a specific gender, race, religion, or country, often they link various aspects of identity together. This is known as intersectionality. A stereotype about Black gay men, for example, would involve race, gender, and sexual orientation. Although such a stereotype targets a specific group rather than Black people as a whole, it’s still problematic to insinuate that Black gay men are all the same. Too many other factors make up any one person's identity to ascribe a fixed list of characteristics to him.

Differing stereotypes can also be present within larger groups, resulting in things like gender-based stereotypes within the same race. Certain stereotypes apply to Asian Americans generally, but when the Asian American population is broken down by gender, one finds that stereotypes of Asian American men and Asian American women differ. For example, the women of a racial group may be deemed attractive due to fetishization and the men in that same racial group may be viewed as the exact opposite.


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