A Steve Urkel-esque teenager walks into a school cafeteria with large books in hand, pants too high on his hips and eye-magnifying glasses slightly askew. A burly male teenager sporting a letterman jacket swaggers with arrogance up to our Urkel character, closely followed by a band of other jacket-clad young men. The burly letterman lifts his hand above our Urkel’s stack of books with a laughing sneer. Everyone can guess what happens next. Our Urkel character is given the short shaft, while the burly letterman jacket has the upper hand.

Presented in such a manner, the stereotypes of the “nerd” and the “jock” seem negative, used as a tool to hurt a person. However, the conventions that are prescribed in this situation must have some truth to them. How else would stereotypes arise? If stereotypes are rooted in a certain amount of truth, why do we immediately dismiss them as caustic judgments?

Our answer is found in a generational examination. Our parents’ high school and college experiences (ranging from the 1960s to the 1980s) generally create a grim picture of the pain resulting from such key-holing. Physical abuse, verbal harassment and suicide belonging to the worst examples.

As a generation of the 21st century, driven by political correctness, we attempt to right the wrongs of the past. We appease the characters of our life, striving to eradicate the stereotypes that have been known to harm and cause heartbreak. We allow conversations to be sugar-coated, killing any element of reality within the lives we lead.

Thus, I hope we can come to accept the stereotypes of past and present generations as necessary to reality. Instead of attempting to fit a multi-faceted person into one stereotype, we should hold true to many stereotypes. Whether we like it or not, we live as conventions. Embrace all that you are. I am a nerd, an artist, a band geek, and a Jesus-freak, and I am okay with that.

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