Stereotype Threat

Stereotype refers to the general thought perceived by an individual or a social group of other individuals or community. These ideas aim at the actions or behavior of an individual, which is then generalized as a representation of the practices of the entire group of the individual (Steele, 2011). Although stereotype may be the accurate reflection of a person, mostly it tends to express bad ideas and inaccurate representation about actions or behavior of an individual. Stereotype threat, therefore, refers to now to the risk associated with confirming a negative stereotype based on group membership.

As an African American, I have personally been a victim of the stereotype thoughts that wave through our American communities. The identity of an African American has been subjecting, most if not all, to racial and gender gaps and mostly the uncritical judgment that we all have common perceived social behaviors executed by all African American.

My experience with the ongoing social stereotypes goes way back to when I Bellarmine College Preparatory. It’s a prestigious high school in San Jose, California, and it is largely dominated by the whites. I experienced contextual cue which was being in an environment where few students were of color were available a factor that triggered stereotypic threat in my context. The environment created was also of a worse experience as there were very few countable I can say of cross-racial interactions. The curriculum, therefore, marginalizes the experiences the very few students of color we were which was enough to trigger stereotypic threat. So the largest company I sat next to was only other students while in class in which mostly I was already viewed as of an undermined performance This indeed led to a more isolated life and partially retreated to the safety of a homogeneous environment that was the few African Americans present. Steel expresses on how the threat of stigma is sufficient to have a significant deleterious effect on performance and this is what occurred to me at first.

Of worse experience is the thought that since I was of an African American white people never trusted me with the handling of expensive, fragile or personal items. With this, I learned always to stay away from such as the environment shaped that. I imagined that this might be the result that, as a colored individual the American society deemed all of us (African American) as either of a rough nature, either violent and mostly not to be trusted with other belongings. But of course, I couldn’t take another person item without their permission let alone stealing it. Steel in his book he quotes on the violent perceived nature of brent staples by the whites as he walked past him in the Hyde Park neighborhood (Steele, 2011). It took him to whistling the tunes of classical composer Vivaldi for them to relax and end their negativity.

Whistling Vivaldi, therefore, becomes a clear picture of the stereotype threat that individuals face due to the wrong perception of their ethnic group, race or color. The author makes almost perfect remedy plan to ending stereotype threat, and one includes fostering intergroup conversations among students from different backgrounds which bridges the gap. Stereotype pressure us to conform to the general thoughts the society uphold to what we are supposed to be, but it takes a powerful mind and action focused on goals and a mentor or role model to wave through all this.


Steele, C. M. (2011). Whistling Vivaldi: How stereotypes affect us and what we can do (issues of our time). WW Norton & Company.

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