Do Not Stereotype When Writing an Academic Paper
There are a lot of things to avoid when writing for academics. Common things such as avoiding contractions and over punctuating are easy to spot and correct. There are other things we do on a subconscious level that are not so easy to spot and correct, but just the same should be avoided in academic writing. A good example of this is stereotypes.
Nothing puts a person on the defensive more when reading your academic written work than a general stereotype. Stereotypes of people especially make your work seem un-academic, judgemental, and insensitive. The last thing you want to do is have a professor or teacher be put on the defensive when reading your paper because of a stereotype.
One type of stereotype that is often overlooked is sexist writing. If you constantly use the terms he or him you may put off female readers. Terms such as businessman or stewardess can easily be changed to business person and flight attendant respectively. We do writing like this almost on a subconscious level but if you are aware of it you can avoid it.
Be sensitive. If you are writing about an African American person do not show them on the back porch eating a watermelon, give them an apple instead. Simple things like this may mean the difference between someone continuing to read your work passionately or throw it in the trash.
Another type of stereotype to avoid is the sweeping generalization. Things such as saying ‘All Japanese like Sushi’ and ‘All Mexicans like Tacos’ can be misperceived. In academic writing it is just best to not use them and avoid potential misconceptions of your paper.
Make your statements age appropriate. Kids and children are generally perceived as being under eighteen so to call someone a ‘college kid’ may be offensive to some. The words senior citizen and elderly do not always do justice to someone who has worked a lifetime to create their own identity.
Slip ups in these writing areas are easy to do but you must avoid them or catch them with proof reading. Having a friend read your paper is a good idea to see if anything in there comes across as offensive to them. Maybe it is not fair, but in academia you are expected to perform at a higher standard and not offending your reader is part of that. Simply avoid stereotypes whenever possible in your academic writing.