When thinking about racism in general I normally do not think of the consequences it has in the school systems. After reading the Steele article I realized how influential stereotype threat can be to Black men and women. Its important to focus on this topic due to the fact that education is such a important factor in our society and and opens one up to many necessary resources to succeed in this world. These resources should be available for everyone but unfortunately as Steele has shown us, it is not the case.
Steele found that stereotype threat affects academic performance, more so in stronger students than weaker students. The stereotype threat works in the way that Black students already know that due to common stereotypes they are less likely to do well or succeed especially on hard tasks compared to other students. therefore when doing a task that is hard they are reminded of this limited ability and experience extra intimidation, therefore fulfilling the threat and performing poorly. White students on the other hand do not experience this due to the fact that they do not have that extra intimidation weighing on them.
After talking about this in class I could not help but think of a time I felt this way. When it came time to taking the SATs I was told by many people just to expect that I would not due as well as other students due to the fact that I have learning disabilities. Looking back on it, this influence definitely effected my performance on the SATs and brought up the stereotype that students with learning disabilities do not do as well on testing. Sure enough I did horribly on the SATs and confirmed the stereotype. The experience of taking the SATs was not a good one and made me feel bad about myself. I cannot even imagine experiencing stereotype threat like that every day.
Therefore it is EXTREMELY important for teachers and students to become aware of stereotype threat and try to eliminate it in the classrooms! One of the main things I liked about this article was that Steele gave some hope into fixing this problem. He suggests that solution for stereotype threat relies more in fixing social mistrust rather than self esteem. If we can figure out a way to gain trust of the students that the classrooms are racially fair then hopefully this can limit the effects of stereotype threat. Although there is no exact answer of how to achieve this trust it is important for people to become aware of this and start trying to figure out ways to achieve this!