Whistling Vivaldi : and other clues to how stereotypes affect us

By Claude M. Steele

Book cover for Whistling Vivaldi : and other clues to how stereotypes affect us
Added March 7, 2016

In this work, the author, a social psychologist, addresses one of the most perplexing social issues of our time: the trend of minority underperformance in higher education. With strong evidence showing that the problem involves more than weaker skills, he explores other explanations. Here he presents an insider's look at his research and details his groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity, findings that will deeply alter the way we think about ourselves, our abilities, and our relationships with each other. Through dramatic personal stories, he shares the researcher's experience of peering beneath the surface of our ordinary social lives to reveal what it is like to be stereotyped based on our gender, age, race, class, or any of the ways by which we culturally classify one another. What he discovers is that this experience of "stereotype threat" can profoundly affect our functioning: undermining our performance, causing emotional and physiological reactions, and affecting our career and relationship choices. But because these threats, though little recognized, are near-daily and life-shaping for all of us, the shared experience of them can help bring Americans closer together. Always aware of the ways that identity plays out in the lives of real people, his conclusions shed new light on a host of American social phenomena, from the racial gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men. In a time of renewed discourse about race and class, this work offers insight into how we form our sense of self, and lays out a plan that will both reduce the negative effects of "stereotype threat" and begin reshaping American identities. -- From book jacket

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