It is important not to stereotype people, a people. Stereotyping and assumption are not that far removed from one another. For instance, you cannot assume that because a man comes from a line of ancestors that believed in the practice of eating humans, he is a ‘savage’ at heart. You cannot assume any of his ancestors were savages at heart, either. It is the same to me as calling these communities ‘primitive’ simply because they choose – or chose – to live at one with Nature, pitted against her elements – rather than adapting to the alternative, Christianity, and drowning in the shame that colonisers brought to their shores. For cannibals, the practice of eating another human being was a very serious business, it was not a wild urge that needed ‘taming’ by the whites.
Stereotyping tends to result in the objectifying of people, a people. It gives them a label before they have had a chance to show who they are. If labelled wrongly, a person may become disinclined to show anybody anything. It does not take long to realise that it is a serious waste of energy trying to convince a prejudiced mind that it is mistaken. When that prejudiced mindset is eventually exposed – because it will be – there will be no one around who will be bothered to tell that mind the real truth.
Stereotyping is a cop out. Rather take the time to find out who a person is, and what has shaped them the way they have become. Judgements are split-second, that is true for most people and it is not easy to refrain from deciding at a glance what a person is about. You cannot know what a person is about unless you understand what made them the way they are. The only way to know that, is to ask. If you do not get an answer, it is likely that you will not understand.