School is generally considered to be a place full of learning. However, the social aspect of school is an area of gray. An area where kids observe everyone else. An area where kids will group people based on their race. Since there’s a stereotype that all Asians are “smart”. I was grouped into the “smart” kids group. In middle school, there was one particular incident that took place in the library. There were chess boards out and I was watching one of my friends play. Then someone asked me to play with them, but I declined due to my lack of knowledge of chess. That person continued to ridicule me for not knowing how to play chess. I remember the person saying, “Aren’t you Asian?” among other snide remarks.
Although this offense is not major, this particular incident made me feel as if I had to also follow along with society’s stereotypes instead of being myself. That society had a set of rules on how each ethnicity should act and do instead of each person being able to make a name for themselves.
This particular incident led me to wonder about the stereotypes society sets and the effects of it. One of the experiments I had found was conducted by Micheal Inzlicht. According to the experiment conducted, the participants that underwent negative stereotyping had remaining negative impacts on the participants. In one part of the study, the researchers had the women write math tests with the researchers talking about stereotypes related to both women and math. In the later tests, that group of women tended to eat more, showed more hostility than the control group, and perform worse on tests about their cognitive skills. This experiment indicates that stereotyping can mess with someone’s mind and alter their behavior.
Another experiment that demonstrates the effects of negative stereotypes was led by Robert J. Rydell. The experiment required students to solve difficult math problems. The students that were told negative stereotypes performed worse on the tests than the other students that were not informed of the negative stereotypes or partially informed. This experiment also showcases the ways stereotyping can affect someone after the incident.
If kids experience stereotyping during a place where they spend the majority of their days, soon stereotyping will become more common and eventually normalized. We all have a voice and can use it to influence people we encounter throughout our daily lives. One by one, we will change the world together.
Nauert, R. (2019, June 15). Long-term effects of stereotyping. Psych Central - Trusted mental health, depression, bipolar, ADHD & psychology. https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/08/11/long-term-effects-of-stereotyping/16675.html
ScienceDaily. (2020, August 20). Psyched out by stereotypes: Research suggests thinking about the positive. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090504094300.htm