Stereotypes are still a dangerous problem in America because ageism, racism and sexism are often at the root of many of them, Rabbi Shmuley says. He talks about these three common "-isms" and why they're detrimental to our society.
- Ageism: "[This] is a new form of prejudice that we never thought we'd see in the United States," Rabbi Shmuley says. "The result is that now people dread getting older." More people are turning to plastic surgery to erase the effects of aging, and birthdays are not something to look forward to, Rabbi Shmuley says. "We see aging as slowly dying. It's almost like as we grow older, we're afraid of getting more old. And in such a superficial culture, we are worried that we don't look as good as we used to," he says.
- Racism: There are a lot of people who think that America has progressed beyond racial bigotry, but Rabbi Shmuley says that is not true. According to a 2003 University of Chicago/MIT study, job candidates with ethnic names who sent résumés out didn't get calls back, Rabbi Shmuley says. "But when they had 'white-sounding' names, they did," he says.
- Sexism: "A lot of men today think women are materialistic or will like them if they buy them nice things," Rabbi Shmuley says. "That's a form of misogyny. That reduces women as a group to being shallow materialists." Rabbi Shmuley points to reality TV shows such as The Bachelor and Joe Millionaire, which pair often seemingly wealthy and successful men with single women. He says these shows make it seem as though women would do anything for financial security, and portray women as materialistic.
"Very often we push ourselves up by putting other people down. This is the very basis of racism, sexism and bigotry. People who are unhappy with themselves need to denigrate perfectly innocent people in order to justify their bitterness. The fact is, as we know, that we are all equally G-d's children, which makes bigotry a sin against not just man but G-d."