There is a very high probability that your first answer was “red”, whether or not you followed it up with the (long) list of exceptions. The canonical or exemplary-of-its-class “apple” is red.

Which illustrates something H. Beam Piper got right ‘way back in the sixties: Human beings categorize and generalize. The category or class “apple” is characterized by a red color, with exceptions. We have neither the time nor the cerebral processing power to individually characterize each member of the class.

–Which makes you (and me) a fruitist bigot relying on stereotypes and “profiling”.

It’s nonsense. It takes a perfectly ordinary mental process, one we can’t stop doing if we want to because that’s how our brains work, and turns it into something demonic. And since we won’t stop doing it, since no human being can stop doing it, it provides plenty of work and attention to the people profiling the process as demonic. What it does not do is anything to solve any underlying problem that may be linked to “profiling”.

Airplane bombers are a category or “class”. The canonical or exemplary member of the class is a male Islamic in his twenties or early thirties, from a middle to upper-middle class background. You can shriek about profiling and stereotyping. You can expend vast effort searching for airplane bombers among other classes of people — grannies in walkers, members of the military, it doesn’t matter.  At the end of the day and all the effort, the canonical or exemplary member of the class of airplane bombers will still be a male Islamic in his twenties or early thirties, from a middle to upper-middle class background. The only thing that’s changed will be your mind, which is trying so hard to twist itself into saying something’s not so when it clearly is so that it has significantly less processing power available for other work.

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