In recent conversations, as well as overall life experience, I've found that people love stereotypes. I know that's about an obvious statement as "the sun comes up each morning" but there is more to it than that. We rely on stereotypes because honestly, it makes it easier to compartmentalize people. It makes it easier to put others at a distance and sometimes, it makes it easier to hate or distrust. All of us are guilty of it to some extent, it's just the human way of doing things. However, it is especially wrong and dangerous when it is used to provoke or justify violence or bigotry towards others.
For example, not all Southerners are pickup driving, dip spitting, NASCAR loving idiots who have sex with first cousins. On the flip side, not all Californians are gun hating, tree hugging, vegan illegal aliens who want to gay marry you. There are white people who can dance and there are black people who can't. There are Asian people who are good drivers and Jewish people who can't handle money to save their lives. There are Irish people that aren't alcoholics, British people who have great teeth, and French soldiers who are complete badasses. Yet we rely on stereotypes because it makes the world simpler for lazy thinkers.
Now let's dip this momentarily into the cesspool that is politics and the same thing applies. Not every liberal is an elitist, atheist vegetarian who is afraid of guns just as not every conservative is a Fox News viewing, gun-toting homophobe. On top of that, there are those like me who try to look beyond the constant barrage of rhetoric and who vote for who they think is the lesser of two evils, regardless of whether there is a "D" or an "R" after the candidate's name.
So with stereotypes and fear-mongering, we manage to see each other not as neighbors or fellow countrymen but as rivals or worse, enemies.