#4 Personal Understanding

         This week I have broadened my topic to better suit the field of research: how are people creating change to deal with stereotypes? Unsurprisingly, I discovered that many successful efforts toward change in the area of stereotypes agree with the ideas of Simon Sinek in his TED talk: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” There are several specific elements that I think are extremely important in this talk. Firstly, he said that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” To understand why people act the way they do on a personal level, it is necessary to obtain the perspective of that specific person. For example, you can say that a black person commits a crime because the educational system is underfunded, providing few opportunities for success in poverty-stricken black communities. The more powerful way to understand why this person commited a crime is to contextualize this action with a backstory. This could appear as something like: their father was stabbed to death when they were three, their mother is an opiate addict, and they need money for drugs and food to keep their family alive. This is important because it gives us a way to communicate with people about things that they are fixated on and to alter their mindset about a topic. We can accomplish this by not just learning the facts about stereotypes, but by bringing people together (preferably face to face) to help them understand each other and see past misguided stereotypes. This will help people understand why people act in a way that may result in generalizations or derogatory stereotypes. Sinek also said that the goal is to work with people who believe what you believe. This is very important because to truly influence someone’s way of mind, they have to believe in the change you are trying to make. They have to have an open mind and be willing to alter their views, or else the overcoming of stereotypes will be impossible.


          As I said, many of the attempts to overcome stereotypes are making sure that Sinek’s ideas are incorporated into their program. For example, there is site called ex-Change which is dedicated to supporting Muslim students who are subjected to unfair judgment because of stereotypes based on their religion. This social website is a way for people to understand each other through personal interaction and work towards common goal, just like Simon Sinek said. There is also a non-profit organization called One Nation (founded by George Russell) that has given 3.5 million dollars to fund anti-stereotypical efforts in many of the biggest cities in the U.S. More specifically, they provided money for these cities to bring people of different religions together with Muslims from the area. These meetings will help people of different religions to understand each other better as people, as neighbors, and as equals. When people understand more about each other, and why others do what they do,  they are shown (according to One Nation CEO Henry Izumizaki) to be more likely to see past ignorant stereotypes and regard each other more personally.


          I believe that all people should view each other as equals, and not be biased by stereotypes. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as some people cannot see past the stereotypes they have been taught by our society. We need to change this, but the real question is: how?  Before I conducted this research, I thought that education was the way to change people’s mind about stereotypes, but in the light of the success that One Nation has had with bringing people face to face in order to attain greater understanding on a personal level, I conclude that this would be the most effective way to overcome these hateful stereotypes. This method complies with the recommendations of Simon Sinek, an expert in the field of change and leadership, which is further proof of its soundness. If we overcome these stereotypes, it will make life better and more fair for everyone involved.

"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it" -Simon Sinek

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”
-Simon Sinek

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”

-Simon Sinek



“~ex:Change – Overcoming Stereotypes in America.” Kickstarter. Mario Mattei, 15 July 2012. Web. 01 Oct. 2016.

“How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Simon Sinek:. Ted.com, Sept. 2009. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

DeAngelis, Tori. “Forging Bonds, Overcoming Stereotypes.” Apa.org. American Psychological Association, 2011. Web. 01 Oct. 2016.


Theo Wells-Spackman

One Response to “#4 Personal Understanding

  • Theo,
    I really liked how you added additional visual aspects to your post. I think this really stands out because visual aids help explain your information and keeps the reader engaged. I also like how you wove Sinek’s ideas in with your ideas really blending the two and it works very well. Is your topic more broadly stereotypes or are you still focusing in on Gender?
    Thank you for the interesting post!

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