Stereotype Threat, Not just a Threat

Think about the word “stereotype”, what first come up to your mind? For many people they may recall some stuff like “blacks have lower intelligence”, “females are not good at math” and so on. It’s not a surprise to find many stereotypes are related to race and gender, which are also major sources of lots of social contradictions. People know that stereotype sometimes can cause intense emotional reaction and defensive behaviors, but their understanding of it may just stop there. They believe stereotype is just as abstract as a concept. However when stereotype becomes a threat, it will have actual … Read more

Do Expectations Affect Athletes’ Performance?

Someone who plays a sport and his constantly toted as the star player on their team always tends to perform at a higher level than the other players on the team.  This is probably largely due to talent, but I feel as though being told “we’re counting on you” and “you are our best player” can create a self – fulfilling prophecy with that person, helping them perform better.  If that player were to go play on a different team with completely different players who didn’t necessarily see them in the same light as their previous teammates, wouldn’t that player … Read more

Stereotype Threat

As I was reading the article by Kang and Banaji (2006) I began to really think about stereotype threat, stereotype lift and stereotype boost. I find it very interesting that many social categories perform according to the stereotype that has been placed upon them in many situations. If a woman takes a mathematics test in a group of people with men and women and she knows that her math intelligence is being tested, she will do worse on the test than if it were just for an exercise or something that didn’t quite matter. At the same time, if a black person takes a test in a room with white people and is aware that their intellect is being test, they will underperform. I find it interesting, then, that a white male would perform better when a certain stereotype about them is present as is the definition of stereotype lift.

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Eurocentric Racism in the Classroom

As they so often do, our discussion in class this week reminded me of one of the most influential teacher’s that I’ve had the privilege of learning from at Muhlenberg, Dr. Charles Anderson. Our discussion of how racism directly effects the testing ability of black youth made me feel as if I was right back in introduction to African American Studies and I had to re-visit one particular article that I felt was so relevant to what we are discussing. The article is by Molefi Asante, who is one of the most respected African American studies scholars in the world. He is currently a professor at Temple, where he started the first PhD program for African American studies. He has written countless works, but the articles I read, or should say re-read are titled “Locating a Text: Implications of Afrocentric Theory”, “Afrocentricity”, and “Where is the White Professor Located?”. In all of these articles, among other things, he points out the many flaws in the American education system. More specifically Asante convincingly argues that our education system is based on racist Eurocentric viewpoints that keep white people at the center of every academic subject and only teach these subjects from a Eurocentric perspective. Asante further asserts that because of this narrow and exclusionary education system, young African American students feel alienated, dislocated, unimportant, and above all, marginalized in the scope of academic study. Getting more specific, Asante discusses how non-white groups are portrayed in academic study, specifically the study of history, as the groups that are acted upon rather than groups with agency. He argues that the agency denied to minority groups in the study of history and academia in general further alienates African Americans and other minority groups because it promotes a feeling of helplessness in their lives.

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Stereotype Threat Prevention

I have found that many of the articles we read throughout this course are informative but most of them leave me with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. I really liked the ending of the Steele article because it gave an answer or an idea on how to prevent stereotype threat. The article said that black students who attended the informal weekly rap sessions between white and black students had reduced feelings of stereotype threat and increased grades because the white students and the black students were voicing similar concerns and it made the concerns less racial which made them feel more comfortable and not feel that they were being judged.

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How Much Do I Expect of You?

In class on Tuesday, we talked about the consequences of stereotype threats on certain individuals. In our society, we have many stereotypes that we use every second to help us better understand our surroundings. We use these in every setting, including school. We believe that Asians are smart, men are better at math than Women, and Black students will fall behind. Are these true? Maybe in some cases. Definitely not in all cases. But just knowing that this is a stereotype that people are aware of causes great anxiety. A Black student may sit down for a test and think “People expect me to do poorly because I am Black.” As a result of “stereotype threat,” studies have shown that they will do poorly. In class we talked about whether or not it is best for a professor or teacher to talk to this student about stereotype threat.

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Stereotype Threat in The School System

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.

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