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I’m sure we’ve all gone through it at least once. The second you say you’re a Republican or have conservative values, there’s someone out there profiling you based on common stereotypes about conservatives. From the “NRA Gun-Fanatic” stereotype, to the “Right Wing Racist” stereotype, there are so many negative things that people say about the GOP and conservatives. Many of these negative images stem from extreme representations of the Republican Party. Sadly, more and more people are falling victim to unfair stereotypes based on their religious views, which can make communicating hard when unfair (and often untrue) judgements are being made without any real reason. The important thing is to get educated on how people may see you, and ways to overcome those stereotypes.

Lets look at one of the most common stereotypes of the GOP- the one that depicts all Republicans as being unintelligent hill-billies. The easiest way to overcome this stereotype is simply by knowing your facts.  Do your research on issues , so if you’re ever asked why you support what you do, you have legitimate reasons, sources and information to back your views up.  One of the most common mistakes people of any political conviction make is going along with their party’s views just because that’s what everyone else is doing. While going along party lines isn’t a bad thing, finding out more information to really support why you think what you do can not only help solidify your beliefs, but will deter anyone from thinking you don’t know what you’re talking about. Go out there and get educated on what matters to you, not only to disprove a stereotype, but also to become a better you.

While that’s a more general stereotype, there are many more specific ones that are tied to particular issues, so let’s look at some of those. One I mentioned earlier is the “NRA Gun-Fanatic” stereotype. Defending our Second Amendment right to bear arms is a cause with deep roots in the GOP, but supporting the private ownership of firearms doesn’t mean you have to be obsessed with guns, or even own one yourself. There are plenty of Republicans that stand by the Second Amendment, without practicing this right themselves.  Supporting the private ownership of firearms doesn’t mean you want to give people access to weapons in order to commit crimes or that you are over-the-top with it, it means you want to be able to exercise your constitutional right.

Another issue-specific stereotype I mentioned before is that all Republicans are racists… Clearly NOT TRUE. With race obviously being a big issue in America right now, I think it’s important to address this stereotype. Seeing people get called racists for simply not agreeing with some decisions President Obama has made is really starting to get old, am I right? Disagreeing with executive decisions does not have anything to do with the color of your skin. America is one of the most racially diverse countries in the world, and was founded in order to escape a prejudiced government. Wanting issues to be handled differently or wishing certain policies were being upheld does not mean you have a personal prejudice against political leadership, it simply means you have an opinion- and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Despite these (and more) stereotypes, the most important thing is to stand firm in your beliefs no matter what people might say about them. Young people- especially young women- need to see that it’s important to get involved in politics and to be knowledgeable about what’s going on in America.  Staying informed and being careful not to pigeonhole others based on their beliefs will lead to a new generation of politically-aware individuals respectfully working towards making America great, and really, what more could you ask for?

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