There is no such thing as a good or true stereotype. A stereotype is “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” It is “an image perpetuated without change” that may or may not be based in an actual experience. It is a “solid impression,” which is derived from the Greek words, στερεός- stereos and τύπος- typos).
Stereotypes attempt to confine entire cultures to one image, behavior, ability, aspiration, action and/ or experience. The belief is that if we have seen one, met one, experienced one, then we have seen/ met and now know/ experienced all people. They all look, think, behave alike. They are all the same.
Stereotypes provide us with the false belief that we can know all that there is to know about a group of people. It is an attempt at godlike power. Strangely enough, we don’t seem to possess this same ability when it comes to knowing ourselves, our spouses or family members. There are parts of us and those we love that we do not understand despite our attempts. Still, we pretend that we know how they are.
The trouble with stereotypes lies in the word all. There is no person or people group that is all of anything. There is no cultural group that is all good or all bad, all powerful or all powerless. Only God knows all, possesses all and is in control of all. That word and ability is reserved for Him alone.
So, no, all Asians are not good in math and all do not own beauty stores or nail salons.
No, all Indians do not own grocery stores.
No, all socially colored black people are not good dancers or the best athletes.
No, all socially colored white people are not rich or successful.
No, not all “first people” (i.e. those indigenous to what is now the United States) are owners of casinos.
No, not all Hispanic persons are landscapers or housekeepers.
You may have seen one or two but you have not seen all people from every cultural group. Only God has done this because only God has made them all, fearfully, wonderfully and individually (Psalm 139.14).