Stereotype Threat Essay

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The growing awareness about the natural human urge to stereotype people in recent years allows for a clear view of the natural negative side effects of these prejudices. Most importantly, stereotypes create barriers and shut down individual creativity. Stereotypes produce a close-minded attitude toward widely stereotyped groups, and those inflexible views restrict the capabilities of the members in certain groups. In their observant article, two psychologists from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, Ben Allen and Bruce H. Friedman, discuss the concept of “stereotype threat” as it relates to classic gender stereotypes and roles. They define stereotype threat as the result of “an intimidating situation…show more content…
When society as a whole refuses to see people as a unique and instead forces them to fit into a stereotypical mold, humanity dehumanizes itself and becomes unable to recognize individual genius. James R. Moore, the author of “Shattering Stereotypes: A Lesson Plan for Improving Student Attitudes and Behavior toward Minority Groups” expresses this issue: “Walter Lippmann, who introduced the term stereotype into the American vocabulary, stated ‘for the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see’” (Moore 36). Because of the complexity of stereotypes, they materialize in day-to-day life much more often than expected, and their negative effects produce more harm than commonly comprehended. Joshua Aronson of New York University sums up this concept by stating that “human intellectual performance is far more fragile than we customarily think; it can rise and fall depending on the social context” (16). Since stereotypes create misconceptions of opposing groups while restricting an individual’s own capacity, educating society about these stereotypes should be a high priority to counteract their negative
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