Essay by JoshuacooleyHigh School, 11th gradeA, June 2003

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"Dumb jocks", "That person must belong to a gang, just look how he dresses". How often have we heard somebody mention these things, yet, how often have we said something similar? I believe our society is based on the superficial things, which we categorize people because of the actions of a small percentage. All of the above statements are prejudicial notions used to define members of a social or an ethnic group, and are called stereotypes. Unfortunately, stereotypes negatively affect our ability to understand members of a different group or ethnicity, and are we usually resistant to change because of them. We stereotype various groups of people, but none like professional athletes and different ethnic groups in our country. Professional Basketball, Football, and Baseball players have been the victims of many stereotypes. Hearing people call them dumb is common. A misconception by many people is that pro athletes aren't educated.

This is such a ridiculous situation since the vast majority of them have attended prestigious colleges and universities, and received degrees in different fields of study. A popular misconception is that the educations they did earn were in areas like Liberal Arts, or other general fields of study, which didn't challenge their mental capabilities. Another stereotype is that pro athletes received preferential treatment while in college. Many believe that if an athlete needs a certain grade to remain eligible to play sports, then the faculty would grade him or her lighter than the rest of the class. We have also stereotyped athletes as "above" the law. There have been, on occasion, incidents where a pro- athlete is treated better by the justice system than an average citizen would be in the same situation. We are satisfied to say it's because of the athletes' fame and wealth, but fail...