Published on: 31 March 2016
Written by: Thomas van Heyningen

Stereotypes. You see them everywhere and you can’t escape them. The hipster knots blocking your view at lectures. Psychology students making it impossible to hear what the professor says because of their primal urge to type down everything he says. Physics students making jokes about social science studies (You can’t call them science according to most of them) and ofcourse the girl in the uggs and the porn blonde coupe walking in front of you while you are shopping on the saturday. You can’t help but think: what a trashy girl, she’s probably studying at the MBO.

The moment of surprise when you’re walking to the lecture that next monday and see the same trashy girl with her uggs and pornblonde hair entering Huygens. It proves the truth behind the one rule we all learned when we were a child and we all fail to bring in practice: Don’t judge based on one’s appearance.

My mother used to lecture me about my judgemental attitude when I was a little kid. But at the same time, she told me not to take candy from an old, unhygienic man. To not go with people who own white vans and to never trust someone who says he would buy me an icecream if I would come along with him.

The funny thing is; she only warned me for male figures. Never, and I mean never, did she warn me for female creatures offering to buy me icecream or female figures asking me to take of my top infront of a webcam while 14 years old.

It was always the nasty, unhygienic, fat, male creature. Never the blonde woman or the handsome looking gentleman.
So that made me think. What kind of preconceptions did people come up with when they saw me. A rather small than tall girl, studying A.I., that talks a lot and is chaotic as hell. Okay let’s leave my chaoticness and to much talking out of it and focus on the AI part of the story.

My housemate, who studies information science, told me his prejudice of AI’ers was simple. We are all a bit alternative. So I looked him in the eye, semi offended, and said: ‘I am not alternative!’ He laughed and said; ‘Well, a bit weird then.’ And I have to admit, I guess I kinda am. Another prejudice according to him was: AI’ers are lame with regards to programming and software engineering. This time I was offended, okay we are not the champions in programming but we aren’t as nerdy as the computer science students! And than it hit me.

We all have preconceptions and we all have pride. But we al contribute to keeping these prejudices alive.
Well, we dutch people may or may not all live in Amsterdam, you have to give us credits for our wisdom.
Cause after all: verbeter de wereld begin bij jezelf.