Individual scientists may protect themselves against negative stereotypes by taking at least three steps: educating themselves and others on the science of stereotypes, adopting a growth mindset, and increasing their professional networks. Educating themselves and others includes reading up on stereotype research and countering harmful stereotypes through talks given at conferences, in articles, and on social media. Adopting a growth mindset means believing that one's abilities can change and one is capable of learning new things. This can be difficult for scientists who have been taught that intelligence is fixed at birth. Increasing one's network of knowledge includes meeting with colleagues to discuss ideas and sharing information. Positive relationships are important for preventing discrimination against minorities in science.
Stereotypes affect individuals as well as groups. Individual scientists can fight back against negative stereotypes by learning about them, changing their mindsets, and building support systems. Groups can also take action to combat stereotypes. For example, women and people of color can demand better representation in academia by submitting letters of complaint or giving feedback on the performance of peers.
Scientists need to understand how stereotypes work so they can identify those they want to avoid and create positive changes where they can. Only then will we continue to progress as a society.
Here are some ideas for dealing with unfavorable stereotypes in the classroom and at school:
8 Strategies for Overcoming Stereotypes and Prejudices
Stereotypes are deeply embedded in American society, and they may have a significant impact on students' identity development and academic achievement. Recent study reveals that some students negotiate their numerous identities in order to mitigate the consequences of negative stereotyping. For example, students who identify themselves as black or Latino may avoid stereotypes associated with these groups in an attempt not to experience discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
Students who are stereotyped can experience prejudice-based isolation. This can lead them to withdraw from social interactions or drop subjects because they feel like outsiders in their communities. Stereotyping also has negative effects on student engagement and performance. When students are labeled by others, this can cause them to feel less secure about their abilities or their contributions to class discussions. This can affect their willingness to ask questions or take risks in learning situations.
Stereotypes can also hinder students' efforts to achieve positive outcomes. For example, if students believe that the police treat people of color differently than they do white people, this could influence how they act when confronted by officers. It might also prevent them from reporting crimes that people of color often do not report. Finally, stereotypes can play a role in students' decisions regarding which colleges to apply to or accept into.
To address the effects of stereotyping students, educators should try to avoid categorizing individuals into groups with which they do not identify.
Many ethnic stereotypes are unfavorable, and as a result, they have a significant impact on pupils' academic effectiveness. As a result of the stereotype threat, unfavorable stereotypes can become internalized and "cause rejection of one's own group, even of oneself" (Steele 1997, p. 621). This can lead individuals to avoid groups or activities that are associated with their ethnicity, which in turn can have a negative impact on educational outcomes.
Cultural stereotypes may also affect students' social interactions. For example, many Asian Americans are stereotyped as being intelligent but not friendly or warm, which may discourage them from engaging in conversations with peers or teachers. Teachers may also feel pressured to treat Asian American students differently than other students because of the assumption that they will outperform others.
Finally, cultural stereotypes may impair students' opportunities for employment after they finish school. Many employers will not hire people based on their race or ethnicity, so if students do not fit the stereotypical image of their group, they may be excluded from opportunities that could help them find jobs.
How might cultural stereotypes affect students' opportunity for employment? Students may not be selected for job interviews or other opportunities if they do not fit the image of a desirable employee for a particular company. This can be particularly problematic for minority students who may not fit the image of what a company wants to see in an employee.
Negative stereotypes are damaging to persons of color because they might justify the denial of educational, job, housing, and other opportunities based on assumptions rather than personalized knowledge. Positive preconceptions, too, may be damaging. They can prevent people from recognizing talent or ability in others.
Stereotypes are unfair because they assume all members of a group share traits that make up the stereotype. This is not always true; however, many people do share common characteristics based on their race, gender, religion, etc. These shared traits are called "group norms" or "social categories." People often use these labels to describe groups of people - for example, students at a school, employees at a company, or members of a family. Stereotypes are generally based on these social categories; for example, black people are believed to be physically strong so there will be a racial bias against applicants who seem weak. Women are assumed to be weaker than men so women who apply for jobs as truck drivers will usually get rejected even though they are actually better drivers than most men.
Social categories are important because they help us understand how the world works. For example, when you go to school you are grouped with other students your age. This is a social category; therefore, all children go to school around the same time would probably share many similar traits.