Effects Of Stereotypes Essay

1246 words - 5 pages

As humans in our society, we are categorized by stereotypes everyday, I never considered that just mentally identifying with these stereotypes can unconsciously affect my performance. Researcher and author, Shankar Vedantam, in his article suggests that reminding people of their stereotypes can negatively affect their academic performance among other things. He supports this claim by providing data collected from experimental trials, statements from scientists studying the theory and finally real life situations where the theory applies. Vedantam’s purpose is to use the information he found to give notice to the phenomenon. He adopts a didactic tone for the readers of the Washington Post.
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Our participants also reported connections with labels such as student, athlete, teenager. Most of our participants reported noticing their stereotypes the most at school but outside of class. By far, the most common response to being stereotyped is to ignore them, which 45% of the students interviewed said they would do.

With the data my class collected, we found some patterns and trends among specific stereotype categories such as race and gender. Through our research we found that most people that identified as African American reported that people stereotype them as underachieving, less educated, less capable/competent or poor. Students that identified themselves as Asian American stated that people assume they are superb students, extremely smart, and dedicated to school/ “nerdy”. Hispanic/Latino students mainly claimed that people stereotype them as criminals, illegal immigrants, poor, or less than white people. The white population that was interviewed at PLHS said they are often stereotyped as rich, overprivileged or snooty. Although I couldn’t deduct a general stereotype them from the males of PLHS, females often reported being stereotyped as less capable/competent than men, bad drivers or stupid. Blonde females specifically recalled being stereotyped as stupid.

Stereotypes can be applied to everyone. People affected by stereotypes are most often not the majority of whatever race or gender fills the population. Additionally, smaller groups tend to be victimized by stereotypes more often and usually more negatively. It’s fair to say that most people can recall a specific time in their life where they felt they were stereotyped. Being a teenage girl in high school, I face an overwhelming amount of them. When I came to PLHS in the beginning of my freshman year, I immediately was unlawfully and immorally judged and criticized. People decided I was “slutty, dumb, stuck up, innocent” among other more vulgar and hostile names just from what little people already knew or most likely assumed about me. To be honest, I can’t say that stereotypes haven’t affected me. After being constantly categorized into stereotypes, I felt that conforming and accepting whatever people said about me was easier than trying so hard to prove them wrong. However, now stereotypes make me work harder to prove to myself and other people that I am not whatever what people may say or think about me, but there are students who do not respond the same way. Some people, when approached with stereotypes, conform and willingly let people, including themselves, use those stereotypes to define. Therefore, they believe they are not anymore than what the stereotype defines them as and lose the drive to prove individuality from their applied stereotype. As in the study...

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