Stereotype-Fu: Bring Them Along

Well I guess I wasn't done with my stereotype-fu columns was I?

If you're dealing with geek stereotyping on the job or career-wise (and I will go on about related issues Friday), there's many strategies I've detailed.

Another one I'd like to suggest is this – invite your stereotyper to experience just how neat what you're a fan or geek of IS.  In short, find a way to invite them along.

Take them to a film, lend them a DVD or a game or a book, invite them to have lunch with you at a local convention.  Get an appropriate "crossover" gift (give a baseball fan a DVD of "Princess 9" to show them anime, or a mystery fan a "Surrogates" graphic novel to introduce them to comics and sci-fi).  Show them how neat it is.

I think people are often afraid to be inclusive when the stereotypes come out – they don't want to be judged, they don't want to be humiliated, and they probably worry the stereotyper MIGHT be right.

Well forget that.  You've got enough common sense to know what they may or may not understand.

This has two advantages:
* First, you do something FOR the person.  This helps you connect with them and develops a bond period.
* Second, you get a chance to show them things are different and help them understand and appreciate you and what you care about.
* Third, the deliberate inviting-of people can help break many stereotypes applied to fans and geeks (which are often images of fans being antisocial).

Next time you're stereotyped in your career, invite people along for the ride.  Build some bridges and show people just how interesting what care about is – and make some friends!

– Steven Savage

Stereotype-Fu: Stereotype Evolved

This is the wrap-up to my original "run" of Stereotype-fu columns.  I'm sure there will be more, but I've covered most of my intended materials. 

I'm going to close with a piece of advice near and dear to my heart: Being Stereotype Evolved.

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