By Annie Murphy Paul
Minorities aren’t the only ones vulnerable to stereotype threat. We all are. A group of people notably confident about their mathematical abilities—white male math and engineering majors who received high scores on the math portion of the SAT—did worse on a math test when told that the experiment was intended to investigate “why Asians appear to outperform other students on tests of math ability.”
In a study conducted on the troubled South Side of Chicago, for example, students whose neighborhoods had been the site of a homicide within the previous two weeks scored half a standard deviation lower on a test of intelligence.
No one wants to live like this, but a host of environmental factors helps keep people down. It has nothing to do with their desire to succeed and everything to do with the pressures and obstacles they face.
For more on blaming the victim, see Attawapiskat Triggers "Welfare" Stereotypes and Rubio: Entitlements "Weakened" Us.