Thinking about incidents in the news… actually thought about writing something about it… but what I had to say really just boils down to this and it doesn’t apply only to one particular incident or people.
Like it or not you are a representative of your group. We all belong to groups: your race, your religion, your political party, your home state. And even if you’re not religious or don’t support any particular political party those are groups too. You don’t necessarily put yourself in these groups. It also can be what other people see you as. Whatever group or category other people identify you with, you are a representative of that group. What you do affects how people who are not in your group think about people like you. If you are a religious person and you support candidates who say they will pass laws that will take away the rights of some citizens, people may think that members of your religion are closed-minded and don’t care about other people. If you are an atheist and you swear a lot and generally break the rules of decent society, people may think that all atheists are immoral. If you happen to be a cop and you shoot an unarmed person several times, people who are not cops may fear and hate cops because of what you did. If a member of your group suffers an injustice and you and a few other members of your group riot and loot, people who are not members of your group may think that people in your group are more likely to be thugs and criminals. If you threaten, intimidate, and kill people and you talk about your religion a lot people who are not of your religion will think that believers in your religion are more likely to be terrorists.
That’s stereotyping. It’s not fair and it’s not right but you can’t end it by just saying, “Stereotyping is wrong. Don’t do it,” because that’s just how people are made. Even people who know it’s wrong are affected by what they observe in the world. They may know most cops are not murderers, most black people are not thugs, most white people are not racists, most Muslims are not terrorists but still notice these behaviors and be affected by them. Whoever you are, you are a representative of your group. Be, at all times, the kind of person you want other people to consider “typical” of your group.