The Typecasts That We Create

You’ll have to forgive me for generalising with this one. The problem is, for most of my life the past two years, I have been existing in this microcosm of a school, SOS-HGIC, thus my current general idea of “humans” is of the humans around me. So, though it is unhealthy, to avoid unnecessary dissent, let us henceforth assume that whenever I say “people” or “humans” or “they” or anything of the sort, I am referring to those within this microcosm. 

(On a side note, my diction is beginning to sound too academic for my own liking.) 

I was initially going to put the word “stereotype” in the title, but I realised that again, it was goo general. A stereotype refers to many, but a typecast refers to an individual. Typecast: to cast (a performer) repeatedly in a kind of role closely patterned after that of the actor’s previous successes. (Source: dictionary.com) For the purpose of this post, let us replace the word “performer” with “individual”. Note that typecasting is not always a bad thing. It can, in fact, be quite helpful…until it is taken too far. 

Never before admission into HGIC had I realised how important first impressions are. Not just the first impression one makes on another, but also, it is a matter of who makes the greatest first impression first. To illustrate this, let me use a hypothetical scenario. 

Lady is a girl who can dance. She performed one night on stage in the first month of he academic year. Hence, the whole school knows she can dance. Whenever there’s any sort of issue about dancing, she is the one they call. 

Ewura is another girl who can dance. She didn’t perform on stage, but she dances on every occasion, and people know she’s very good at it. However, when they think of dance, the first thing they remember is Lady’s performance, and the knowledge that Ewura can also dance is pushed far off to the back of their brains. So, if there is an issue, they will automatically go for Lady and leave Ewura out. 

What happened here is that Lady has been typecasted. Now she’s the first and best on anybody’s mind in a particular aspect, which is great for her, but what happens when she’s in high demand and pressure gets to her? And maybe Ewura would have volunteered, but those who picked Lady for whatever position never even bothered to ask of there was anybody else able or willing; they picked Lady even without conferring, and it was final. 

Now, if Ewura’s already-existing skill is being callously ignored, how much worse will another person who developed this skill to a good level over time be treated?

What I’m trying to say is that a lot of the time, when people typecast like this, they are, maybe unintentionally, denying other people the chance or right to showcase what they can actually do. Think about the implications. Maybe, somebody who is staying silent could be destroying their own self-esteem internally. I don’t think it’s right.

And such is the banana-ness (in my world, being a banana is an insult, because I don’t like using real insults) of humans that, in the event of the primarily typecasted individual’s absence or incapacitation, they throw themselves into despair as if there is no more hope in the world. 

People. The world doesn’t match only one person to one skill. One tree does not make an entire forest, even if it is the tallest tree. It’s still just ONE tree. Who knows? Other trees may have greener leaves, or longer branches. But how are you ever going to find out, if you never bother to look? 

-Ivana Akoto

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6 thoughts on “The Typecasts That We Create

      1. I think you should also tackle this person whose first impression is as though they are not capable yet in actual sense it could just have not been the right time.

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