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Stigma is a term that emanated from the Greek society. It is based on the perception of an individual as based on their outward appearance. The concept was used in dealing with slaves and individuals who were described as immoral. The paper evaluates the concept of stigma in society and how various stigmatizations impact the treatment of others.

The adoption of the concept of stigma in the modern society relates to the labeling of individuals based on their physical characteristics. Beautiful people, for example, are believed to have a better personality than those considered ugly. A typical example is the concept of race, sex and classism, where individuals are identified based on their degree of belonging. In the presentation of stigma in society, an individual is defined based on possession of the desired traits. Objectification, which is the perception of people as mere objects, is a major impetus for stigmatization. Categories are established models which define the behavior of the subjects and proponents of stigmatization.

 
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An illustration of stigmatized statuses is the issues of race in society among the black and white communities. The white people segregate the black people based on their skin color since they perceive them as less valuable. The objectification of black people results in stereotyping them as incompetent. The view on blacks as inferior beings is based on the idea that they are not members of white community. Despite the psychological research depicting black people as equals, any attempts by the blacks to assert equality are highly resented.

Furthermore, the initiatives to lobby and advocate the representational equity through affirmative action are usually opposed and considered trivial. Therefore, in the context of racism, physical features, such as skin color, influence the way black people are treated. Degradation and objectification of blacks as lesser, incompetent being leads to inequality in accessing opportunities. This basis also influences the interaction of these different races of people.

Gender stigmatization is a common phenomenon women face in our society. Women are objectified by the other “superior” gender and perceived as less valuable. Their ideologies and what they stand for is not considered credible. The sociologist Edwin Schur asserts that women are easily trivialized and considered as objects which can be traded in substitute for another. In addition, they are objects of victimization who are susceptible to violence and different forms of discrimination. He further argues that a woman’s opinion is considered generic and consulting one woman is the same as consulting all women.

 Sexuality among women plays a crucial role in the stigmatization through sexual objectifications. For example, assumptions are made that all young women with large breasts have engaged in promiscuity. By association, this implies that the breast size is used to superficially label a woman’s sexual behavior. This form of sexual objectification results in hate crimes against the female gender, which implicitly leads to violence and discrimination against women. Generalization of women as the same and easily substitutable is a major hindrance to gender equality.

Another stigmatized group is represented by people with disabilities. They are often considered to be a burden to the society since they lack normal motor or mental competence. Neglect of people with disability by families throughout the American society is an indication of this trend. The government avoids responsibility while citizens also fault the disabled for their tough economic situation.

The social status of women as being contingent to association with men curtails their perception as independent thinkers. Another dimension of stigmatization of women is where they adapt to the societal stereotypes to avoid discrimination. Evidently, women deliberately try to make themselves look attractive to change the society’s perspective on them. They become cautious on how society sees them and begin looking at themselves in the context of social stereotypes.

Sexual orientation of people can also influence the way they are treated in society. Stigmatization of sexual minorities is a self-evident phenomenon in the American society. Gay people are often perceived as promiscuous and immoral. AIDS is frequently described as punishment for their “sins”. Individuals who possess characteristics perceived to be gay-like are usually assaulted.

 Asian, African American and Latino communities are also among the main victims of violence and discrimination. The inability to distinguish these ethnic groups from each other results in a blanket enforcement of hate violence.  The stereotype in this case is that these people are ignorant, rude and with criminal minds. The result of these beliefs is animosity and intolerance.

Stigmatization of poverty shapes how the disadvantaged are treated by others in society. Needy people are always considered to be a problem for society despite numerous differences that they may possess. The description of poor people implies that all of them share similar traits. The nature of language used to address them includes symbols of objectifications such as “them”, “those people”, generally perceived as lacking societally accepted cultural attributes. A lot of sympathy and is usually directed towards them with the view that they are people who need help. Their inferiority elicits a need to   address the problem of the poor. This is based on the idea that they do not belong to the conventional social class.

Evidently, the biases that people have towards others in society greatly define how they treat them. Stigmatized individuals are perceived as lacking conventional societal values. They are expected to be generally incompetent and lack the acumen to act as other non-stigmatized ones. In addition, they are treated as a problem to society. Stigmatized people, especially those of different social classes or races, face unfair attitude on a daily basis. Those with disability are ignored or treated as burdens to both their families and government. As a result, issues pertaining stigmatized people are always considered non-issues or trivial ones. Affirmative action initiatives by the stigmatized groups only offer ceremonial attention but nothing is usually done. In addition, stigmatization results in the treatment of people as such that lack self-control. Perception and discrimination of women of color as being promiscuous due to their race is a clear example as wells as gay men.

In the context of their intellectual capacity, stigmatized people are described to possess low intelligence and therefore mostly affiliated to crime and deviance. These individuals are also believed to be either too brutal and savage or   behaving as young children. Violence and assaults are inflicted on stigmatized groups, for example, due to common perception of them as deviants.The situation with black people in America who experience violent crimes is usually the result of their   racial discrimination. Moreover, stereotyping of women as either virgins or prostitutes clearly shows the magnitude of the problem.

In the case of racial stigmatization, I would be very untrusting to the society as a whole. My perception and treatment of others would dynamically shift to more passive advocacy for equality. In case of racial discrimination, I would feel emotional isolation and always try to prove myself as a worthy equal human being. In extreme cases, this form of stigmatization would push the individual towards violence and deviance to overcome all these feelings. However, being in the situation, I would employ deliberate efforts to mitigate the hate imposed by seeking avenue of dialogue.

In conclusion, stigmatization in society should be analyzed objectively and social stereotypes should be rejected. The above-mentioned issues s should be addressed to find a constructive way to avert the suffering in society. In addition, further empowerment initiatives should be supported in society to enhance people’s capacity to cope with the stigma. Equality can only be achieved through challenging the blatant manifestation of stigmatization in society. 

 

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