My daughter and I play the stereotype game. We call something out and then the other person describes in rapid fire the stereotype. Together we have covered New Yorker, doctor, lawyer (this one she describes as me), astronaut, politician, scientist, teacher (elementary/HS), American, author, person from Florida, pilot, Democrat, Republican, teenager, one who drinks soy milk, body builder, football player, feminist, librarian, ballet dancer, the list goes on and on. Sometimes we howl in laughter and sometimes we are confused by the other’s stereotype (where did you get THAT?!) And because we have been playing the game for years, we note when a type has evolved. Of course we acknowledge stereotypes have nothing to do with what we know to be true (all lawyers are not like me and she definitely does not fit the stereotype for a teenager). Perhaps as you scrolled through this list you experienced your own parade of images. You got a taste of the game.

At work, stereotypes, especially if unconsciously held, can affect advancement, and one’s entire experience professionally. The stereotypes we hold even about our own group may limit us. In some cases stereotypes may mean life or death.

I don’t suggest you play the stereotype with just anyone. But I suggest you do.