Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

skindeep's picture

i agree

i agree, talking about how we internalize stereotypes brought up a lot of questions for me.

while it was shocking to hear what the implications for taking on stereotypes and acting in the manner dictated by them, it made me wonder how much value that had. for example, my parents and teachers always told me that i was a pretty sensitive kid - they thought things affected and upset me easily. the only effect of this on me however, was that for a while i cried very easily in front of my parents. it did not make things affect me any more, it did not make me care about things that i didnt, it didnt get me upset any more often. eventually, they realized that i wasnt in fact sensitive, and while that realisation changed the way they acted, it didnt change anything for me.

so while i grew up expecting to be sensitive and wimpy, all i could do was act in that way - i cried easier. but it didnt make me any more sensitive. in the same manner, a friend of mine is south indian - their stereotype is that they are good at math, and she tried for years, but couldnt do it. do while she grew up believing that she was good at it and could excel at it, nothing she did could help her be average in math. numbers didnt make sense to her, and eventually her family and teachers had to accept that.

so while i see how internalizing a stereotype can change the way you act and think, i do not think that it can change things about your character. does this mean that we are inherently better at some things? maybe. but that does not imply that only that one thing should be cultivated.


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
13 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.