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Back Generalizations & Stereotypes 

This site has a great graph to help understand generalizations and stereotypes. In academic writing, it is not acceptable to state opinions as fact in most circumstances.  An example of this:” Everyone who drives a pick-up truck is from the country.” First point is that the writer CANNOT possible know every driver of every pick-up truck. Second point is that an obvious conclusion can be drawn from this statement that not everyone can be from the country as it is known that people live in city areas.  Such generalizations can cause a thesis to lose strength and validity. To be more accurate and appropriate, this statement would be better said as this, ” Some of the people who drive pick-up trucks may be from the country.” Stereotypes are similar, “Everyone who drives a pick -up truck is a redneck.” can not be stated with any accuracy for the same reasons; one can not speak for everyone as they do not know everyone. Generalizations/stereotypes can be used if the context in which they are used is referencing them or as examples in a broader argument; ” Pick-up drivers as rednecks is an opinion that has reached  international acknowledgement.”  For academic writing, it is advisable to avoid using generalizations/stereotypes whenever possible. If their use can not be avoided, then it is suggested that the writer phrase these in terms that are non-committal; “ possibly, can be, may, etc.”

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