What is a Stereotyped Threat?

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stereotyped threat

Since moving back to Los Angeles from New York, I have found myself scratching my head as I observe humans in the city of Angels the way a cultural anthropologist would. Unfortunately, my experience is that many people belong to clubs.

Everything is a club now days. Take politics and what’s happening with the Republican Party establishment and their stance against the only outsider in the race – Donald Trump. The GOP elites act like a self-righteous country club, where if you don’t fit in, you will never belong.

At the Academy Awards, comedian Chris Rock ripped the “Hollywood club,” basically restating what I wrote in an earlier blog, that essentially it’s tough fitting in amid a “members only” vibe that is pervasive everywhere. I’ve seen this phenomenon firsthand, as I’ve felt snubbed by South Bay people as well as never quite fitting in with my graduate peers. It could be an age thing. It could be my ethnicity. It could be a variety of things. But, Rock’s opening statement at the Oscars in February said it best: Hollywood is racist.

“Is it burning cross racist? No,” Rock explained, adding that today’s brand of racism is more or less the aforementioned snooty, club mentality behavior. “Hollywood is sorority racist,” he added, echoing what I have been feeling not only about the entertainment industry, not only for those in front of the camera, but those who work behind it. It’s always been and remains a tight-knit club.

It’s the same when attempting to fit in to cliques, where if you don’t make the perfect first impression, you’re ostracized and excluded. Rather than the United States evolving from our Puritanical beginning, we’ve remained judgmental and stagnant. Ethnicity, age and sex continues to be a challenge for those seeking employment and hoping to get paid well based on their experience and not rejected based on the color of their skin, their age or what is between their legs. Regardless if such discriminatory practices are illegal, they continue every day.

The Bottom Line:

A stereotyped threat is nothing new:

Stereotype threat[1] is a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of confirming stereotypes about their social group. Since its introduction into the academic literature, stereotype threat has become one of the most widely studied topics in the field of social psychology.

The best way to reduce stereotyped threat, according to research[2], is for those of us who are within the group that is stereotyped to remind ourselves of the common characteristics that every human shares. In other words, we’re not inferior while others are superior. Understanding the language and mantra we feed our minds makes a difference in the level of confidence we have. I’ve battled with stereotyped threat my entire life. There is a way to reduce the chances of being a stereotyped threat and treated as such. I didn’t know there was even a website on this topic until now, but lo an behold reducingstereotypethreat.org:

“So, it appears that interventions that encourage individuals to consider themselves as complex and multi-faceted can reduce vulnerability to stereotype threat.”

Diane Abbott

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotype_threat

[2] http://www.reducingstereotypethreat.org/reduce.html

One thought on “What is a Stereotyped Threat?

    Athena95 said:
    April 28, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    Good read! Awesome that you’ve done some research on this. Thank you


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