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Stereotype Threat

One advantage of stereotyping is that it is very useful for rapidly assessing social information you need in a very large amount. And in a practical sense, it also helps you avoid being victimized in places that are truly dangerous for outsiders or foreigners, for example, or it can also help you avoid certain risk such as related to your health. However, most stereotypes are inaccurate. This is one of its major disadvantages. It is because it attributes certain cognition, an over-generalization, to let’s say, a group of people or minorities or a certain race, gender, religion, culture, etc. that are not really what’s factual. This typically brings one to prejudice and discrimination, a kind of deterioration in the psychological and spiritual level.   

Talking about this, there is a thing called “stereotype threat”. It is a decrease in the individual’s performance during a task due to his or her exposure to negative stereotypes that are being associated to it. So it can actually affect the performance of the person that is why it is considered a threat.

Photo: philosophyofbrains.com/2016/04/18/how-can-a-stereotype-you-dont-believe-affect-you.aspx

Some examples of stereotype threat

Let’s say for example, for many years there is an unspoken tension between the settlers of Visayas and the dwellers of Luzon (both in the Philippines). Today, it could be that it is almost non-existent. However, it could be that this is still happening sometimes and this is due to many varying reasons. One of those is that each party has their own preconceived notions about each other and this sometimes leads to further tensions and conflicts or just simple discriminating opinions about each other. This sometimes manifest into nasty jokes and other daily mundane interactions. This also sometimes appears in the stories in televisions or movies and even other forms of art.

Photo: alisaltrojantribune.com/1975/uncategorized/how-we-use-stereotypes-without-knowing-it/

On the actuality, let’s say some people from Luzon will say something negative about the people in Visayas and in return, the people from Visayas will also say something negative about the people in Luzon. This cycle will continue to feedback on itself so long as there is no appropriate intervention being done. Let’s say because of those negative notions about each other, it would be difficult for them both to connect and establish a healthy mutually beneficial relationship. So it is really counterproductive. And in the aspect of inaccurate pre-conceived notion, it also seems like a self-fulfilling prophesy. The people from Luzon do not like the people from Visayas. Being aware of this, of course people from Visayas will also not like the people from Luzon and as a result, they will avoid each other. This is due to their inaccurate cognition about each other.

Photo: npr.org/2012/07/12/156664337/stereotype-threat-why-women-quit-science-jobs

The emotional attachment

Not liking each other, it seems that both parties (people from Visayas and people from Luzon) have negative emotions towards each other that are very strong. In fact, very strong as it caused avoidance and thus, prejudice. This so-called “affective component”, which is an emotional attachment, has caused them both to have discriminating viewpoints against each other. By avoiding each other, they display a behavioural component which is from prejudice to discrimination. Here it is visible that cognition, affect, and behaviour are the main differences between prejudice and discrimination.

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Written by Alter Picar

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