Diversity and Stereotypes

Diversity

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Length: 10 minutes

Four young men are walking in an outdoor area. They are wearing shorts and brightly coloured T shirts.

Statistics are often used to segment the population into particular groups

Four generations. A baby, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Multigenerational.

It’s assumed people in these age groups all have something in common or behave in a similar way.

It is also assumed that each group is different from the others and share little in common.

This is stereotyping.

People can also be stereotyped by race, religion, level of wealth, sexual orientation and intellectual and physical ability.

A mosaic of many different faces and nationalities

Stereotyping is often used in negative ways and can lead to prejudice. It is also part of culture and social perception. This is why stereotyping behaviour is hard to overcome.

But when we think about all the people in our stereotypical grouping, whether we are, say, a Millennial or Baby Boomer, we know that people in our cohort are individuals. We are not all the same.

Sesame Street characters dancing in the street.

We have different needs and aspirations and come from all walks of life. We have different abilities and contribute to society in many different ways.

Despite this, we often get drawn back into using stereotypes.

So where do “ordinary average” Australians live?

The Average Australian

A man and a woman stand either side of a farm gate with a sign that says Baking Board.

The highest percentage of average Australians is hanging out in a town called Baking Board in Queensland. The town got its name after a piece of bark was used to mix some damper.

Baking Board is 300 km north-west of Brisbane and has the largest percentage of ‘average’ Australians in its population.

How many ‘true-blue’ Aussies live in Baking Board?

Three.

Yes, that’s three people out of the 97 who matched at least 10 of the most common demographic characteristics. Stereotypes just don’t work for our diverse population. The full Baking Board article can be found on the ABC news website.

The video below explains how designing for averages can end up designing for no-one.