Mushrooms come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and live in many kinds of environments from under trees, the fields, to your basement. But somehow most people tend to think of mushrooms as though they all live in dank, dark, damp places and have a pungent, almost musty smell and slimy texture. Although this is stereotyping it really may not be all bad. With these stereotypical thoughts in the back of a person’s mind, stumbling across a beautiful red mushroom with white dots, in the park – we may not try to eat it. Which is a good thing since Amanita muscaria is poisonous. admittedly there are many mushrooms that are perfectly edible, but without specialized knowledge and study, it’s difficult to know which are and aren’t and make an informed decision. Better to be safe than sorry – as far as mushrooms are concerned.
There are times when stereotyping can be a negative thing as when, among humans, assumptions are made and beliefs held about an entire race or culture. Especially when those assumptions and beliefs go viral. Stereotypes should be developed by each individual (thus ridding the language of the need for the word) for use to ensure safety and comfort; they should not be used to revile, defame, and demoralize others. Though I see nothing wrong with warning children not to talk with strangers. It is helpful for individuals who are developing their own individualized identifications and preferences to divide those preferences and identifiactions into discrete, defined groups.
So I say go ahead and stereotype everything – but make sure that you do not compromise your own beliefs in doing so. Discretion is ultimately the best tool to use when handling your own stereotyping behavior. Would you really want to see someone else’s stereotyping structure?