Social stereotypes are dangerous because people follow them. An African American student who is a superb basketball player cannot be good at math or other academics. A pretty girl who takes care of her looks cannot be smart because she seems to spend all the time on beauty routine. The saddest thing is that people affected by stereotypes are the first to believe in them. They do not attempt to break the shell of social belief that is not supported by any evidence. Stereotyping is just the way we classify strangers judging on the little facts we know.
Stereotypes affect the American society in many ways, but the biggest problem is that they change our own perception of who we are. We do not strive to learn more if we feel incapable of doing tests but can successfully play sports. It looks like we are not designed for academics, which is certainly untrue. A human is supposed to learn different skills over the life. There is no scientific study that proves it is impossible to be smart, athletic, beautiful, black, female etc. at a time. But many people still think that there is no point developing digital awareness or analytical thinking if they are not a “nerd” type of person. Besides, many people find it comfortable to fit stereotypes. Pretty girls, for example, do not go in for engineering because it is not what society expects from them.
Though stereotypes hardly bring any benefits, they are essential for us to classify people. It would be unbearable not to build any expectations or suggestions about the new acquaintance before we get to know the person better. Stereotyping is an essential part of social perception, whether we like it or not.