WOLVES ARE THOUGHT OF AS MEAN AND EVIL.
BECAUSE THEY ARE STEREOTYPED!
Imagine if a wolf and a boy could have a conversation. It might go something like this:
Wolf: What do you think of wolves?
Boy: They are “Big and Bad.”
Wolf: Well you are wrong! Movies and other media portray wolves as bad and evil, but in real life they are creatures that are necessary to the environment.
Boy: Why does everybody think of wolves as bad?
Wolf: Because they are stereotyped. A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. Stereotyping is a normal part of human behavior; forming stereotypes helps us deal with a complicated world, compete for resources, and allows us to belong to a group.
Boy: It sounds like stereotypes are useful. Why are they bad?
Wolf: In short, they are bad because they lead to bullying and discrimination. When we start to act on generalizations without knowing both sides of the story, we may wrongly or unfairly discriminate against other people or things. This hurts other people’s feelings. Research shows that we cannot completely eliminate stereotypes, but we can be aware of our actions and learn to consider whether our actions are unfair or hurting another.
Boy: Are there ways to learn to be aware of stereotypes?
Wolf: Yes! There is a fun way to learn! First, we need to understand what stereotypes are. Then, we need to realize that we are stereotyping others. Finally, we need to evaluate how this affects our lives. To help with these steps, we can play “The Other Side of the Wolf,” a fun educational game.