The “stereotypical threat” is not easily countered without positive action

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Social psychologists have noted that K-12 educators are subconsciously swayed by negative racial stereotypes that lead them to have different expectations of Black and Latino students and different interpretations of their performance and character. their behavior regardless of their economic status. This means K-12 educators may be inclined to steer black and Latino students away from college prep classes and activities that facilitate stronger high school recommendation letters for college admission.

Income-based policies alone cannot adequately pursue the important educational mission of fully integrating our higher education institutions.

In the face of such piloting, race-conscious affirmative action provides an important signal that black and Latino students will be welcome and that the full context of their origins will be taken into account. In fact, sociologists Angel Harris and Marta Tienda documented how applications from Latino students to the University of Texas declined dramatically after the state of Texas stamped out racial discrimination and instituted the Top Ten Percent Plan, which guaranteed admission to applicants in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Current alternatives to fully race-aware affirmative action simply do not have the same strength to counter all of the cultural cues that discourage Latino and black college students from seeing themselves as intellectual peers of whites worthy of even asking. admission.

It is therefore not surprising that the “threat of stereotyping” continues to suppress the performance of Latino and black students. Psychologists have shown that the threat of stereotypes inhibits the performance of talented and well-educated middle-class black and Latino students on standardized tests due to fear that the tests will confirm long-held negative stereotypes that blacks and blacks alike. Latinos are intellectually inferior.

In short, neither racial-neutral admissions nor income-based affirmative action can adequately address the racialized reality of middle-class Latino and Black applicants who will not be eligible for income-based affirmative action. income. Admissions based on income also cannot fully pursue black racial diversity, especially when the gross number of poor whites significantly exceeds the number of poor blacks. In contrast, a race-sensitive examination may better assess the particular challenges that subtle and overt racism presented for an applicant, regardless of socio-economic status.

It is certainly a laudable goal to provide an educational opportunity for students in need (assuming income-based affirmative action is also accompanied by generous financial assistance to make enrollment a real possibility) . But make no mistake about it in presuming that only income-based policies can adequately pursue the important educational mission of fully integrating our higher education institutions to represent our nation’s rich racial tapestry in the development of our future leaders. and innovators.


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