The author of this paper "How Stereotypes Affect Us" focuses on the fact that notwithstanding the legal safeguards provided in the American Constitution for blacks and whites and the professed equality on all fronts, the fear psychology grips both the groups. …
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The safety and equality of the blacks are still not unconditional. Steele writes, “They come from the way a society, at a given time, is organized around an identity like me. That organization reflects the place, as well as the ongoing individual and group competition for an opportunity and the good life.”(3) An undeclared engagement is going on at every stage, in every segment of life of blacks and whites. Its emphasis and intensity may vary, nevertheless it is there, and it has not been erased from the social norms of the people of America. This position gives room for some to enjoy at the cost of suffering of others. Those others are mainly blacks. Defined and undefined activities related to ethnic segregation move together at the cost of the blacks.
Stereotype threat is real. Its impact is more in the educational institutions, the abode of combustible younger generation, both whites and blacks. They have the knowledge of American history, whose pages are daubed in the bloodshed of racism. Explaining through an example, the author elaborates the nature of fear psychosis born out of stereotype threat, by citing the experience of Brent Staples, a psychology graduate student walking down the streets of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighbourhood. “I became an expert in the language of fear. Couples locked arms or reached for each other’s hand when they saw me. Some crossed to the other side of the street. People who were carrying on conversations went mute and stared straight ahead, as though avoiding my eyes would save them.”(6) By educating an individual, you are educating a generation. Therefore, educational institutions, where students of different ethnic groups, blacks and whites meet for a common purpose, are the right places to initiate the process of reconciliation. Steele also highlights the importance of role models and argues, “They dramatically reduced stereotype threats impairment of women’s math performance by reminding them just before the test, the positive women role models.”(94)
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