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Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Issues of Our Time) Paperback – April 4, 2011
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“Startles, beguiles, and challenges as it exposes the myriad ways that threats to our identities exert a powerful stranglehold on our individual and collective psyche.” (Lani Guinier, Harvard University)
“An intellectual odyssey of the first order―a true tour de force.” (William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton University and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)
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Experiments demonstrating the impact of stereotype threat
When trying to understand certain performance gaps between groups, Steele and his colleagues did not focus on internal psychological factors.. Instead, they tried to understand the possible causal role of identity contingencies, the things you have to deal with in a situation because you have a given social identity. Over the years they carried out a series of creative experiments* in which there was a control condition in which a task was given under normal conditions life. In the experimental condition, the identity contingency was either cleverly removed or it was deliberately induced. Here are three examples of experiments to clarify how they worked.
Experiment 1: Steele and Aronson (1995)
In this experiment the researchers had African American and white college students take a very challenging standardized test. In the control condition, the test was presented as these tests are always presented - as a measure of intellectual ability. This condition contained the stereotype that African Americans would be less intelligent. In the experimental condition the test was presented in a non-evaluative way.Read more ›
Within these pages, Steele reveals the powerful, hidden "stereotype threat" that can lie within most competitive situations. He defines it as the great, but invisible pressure created by our fear of confirming negative cultural stereotypes about ourselves. He shows how it can affect white men racing against blacks, or playing basketball against them, when blacks are thought to be fleeter of foot. It can also affect white men competing against Asians in university settings. It can also be shown to affect highly-achieving women studying mathematics or sciences, who have internalized our culture's belief that women are naturally inferior to men in these areas. He also shows that it affects higher-ranking black students in our nation's elite colleges, and even its better-ranking high schools.Read more ›
I remember in University, taking an Intermediate Mandarin class, where all the different ethnic and social groups would-unknowingly- cluster together perfectly: there were the white kids, the Chinese born Canadians, the Hong Kong kids, the Bi-racial kids, the Koreans, and some Philippinos. It was only several weeks into the class that I noticed these convenient groupings (I had done the exact same with my white friends). Were we racist? Were we trying to reject the other classmembers (and the Chinese teacher!)? Not at all. We enjoyed the arrangement, subconscious though it may have been.
But I do remember another class I took (briefly). It was an Asian studies course. There was one other white person in the class (phew!), and the goal of the class was to research the rich Asian influences in our community. This was a heavy course, and considered high-end credit, meaning very intensive projects. I was almost certain to be working later in Asia (that's why I signed up in the first place), but I felt like I shouldn't be there, and I felt like a fraud, that my research would be scrutinized, and my `findings' would be immediately dismissed, as they were coming from a Caucasian student.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this for a class and it was very eye-opening. It is well-written and is easy to read.Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
Written by an academic, focused mostly on students and the learning environment with experiments conducted mostly in schools and universities, I found it compelling but was hoping... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Austin Reader
It's been a year since I read this and it has stuck with me. When I'm thinking things over, I remember the research that he referenced in this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Salvador A. Valdes
Excellent read! Brings clarity and understanding to the issue of race relations in this country. Should be required reading for all young folks these days.Published 2 months ago by Keith I. Gilmore
seminal work. A must read for any employer or policy makerPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer