Some people love 'em, some hate 'em, some take glee in living up to them and others fight them, but stereotypes are there for a reason.

Usually some cross-cultural verification of cultural identity, stereotypes make up a kind of "rule" when one group interacts with another, or needs to confer information about one group amongst themselves. This gives us Arab taxi drivers, bad Asian drivers and the bleached blond girls on their cell phones... whilst driving. An amalgam of points in the lifespan of each individual of each group all converge to create the opportunity for Arab immigrants to get into the taxi industry, and for the teenage girl to be influenced by peer pressure and media to become the airhead on the cellphone constantly.

Stereotypes of gays range from effeminate, making up those who try to live to this stereotype, letting loose and with a devil may cry attitude, or those who simply cannot help it. Other stereotypes including a derogatory "cruising" aspect of the community, is made up of people usually repressed and in need of release, or those who simply need a release. Hence you get Larry Craig and the creepy guy in the locker room.

The thing about stereotypes is that once you stop looking at them as springboards to understanding other groups, and begin to only to see other groups as stereotypes, you've moved beyond stereotypical and into the prejudicial. You become prejudiced towards vast swathes of individuals because of how you look, even if unconsciously, at whole groups of people.

In our human efforts to boil things down to an understandable and acceptable level, we then forgo that fact that this whole effort to break things down, to stereotypes--to rules--is all a tool to better help us understand one another.

We need stereotypes to understand, but the line is blurry and requires attention from where it stops to be a stereotype, and becomes a prejudice, a bigotry, something irrational in our dealing with individuals.

And it's a two-way transaction. More than one person in each group is capable of looking at another group with the eyes of a bigot or a racist and when these groups of individuals within a group become large and influential enough, the teachings (if any) that stereotypes are useful tools become muddied and unclear, making for whole groups and their subsequent transactions (emigrants to one country or another) to be filled with mistrust and suspicion. This is most notably seen in cities where race plays a big role in groups.

A more interesting look is the rural-urban dichotomy filled with these suspicions and with a sense of righteousness from both sides. Because the city people come in from out of town looking for a quiet place to spend the weekend, they feel entitled because it is their busy lives being interrupted. The vicissitudes of city life to them can no way compare to the droll, dull living the country folk must be making. This gives them a sense that what they want must somehow be above what the rural people know how to give. Of course the rural people, who like the business but none of the attitude from outsiders, are more intuitive and pick up on this condescension and thereby reciprocate, feeding the cycle with their own sense of goodly righteousness.

These are stereotypes of course, but it's being used to understand the dichotomy, and in no way a slight against either the urban or rural people.