Study Group: “Stereotypes like stains can still linger”— Examining the power of cultural stereotypes
Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:00-7:30 pm
Taubman Building Room 102, Women and Public Policy Program Cason Conference Room
This session is part of the five-week study group series, How Shifts in Race and Cultural Identity Influence Politics, Policy and Pop Culture, led by Michele Norris. Seminars are for Harvard students only (graduate and undergraduate), and are not-for-credit. Please register below to reserve your space.
Description: Why and how do stereotypes take root? What is the role of media in perpetuating or eradicating stereotypes? Why are some stereotypes more acceptable than others? Why do some persist over time? The Race Card Project archives provide a lens for exploring how stereotypes or cultural stigmas can shape individual lives or social policy.
Individual case studies and recorded interviews that examine six word submissions from The Race Card Project archive include:
- Families that adopt children and discover a sliding fee scale in the adoption process that is based on skin color (Black babies cost less to adopt)
- A rural North Carolina doctor who often has to manage his patient’s ailments as well as their cultural expectations (55 mph means you black man)
- A Washington bureaucrat who sees the impact of cultural stigmas in the workplace (Appalachian does not always mean “hillbilly”)
- A Korean woman who is always asked about her geographic heritage (Ask WHO I am, not WHAT)
- I would like you to take fifteen minutes to explore Project Implicit by engaging in exercises that examine how our minds work when it comes to implicit bias. For our purposes, I especially recommend the exercises for “skin tone” and “race.” You will likely find that many of the actions we take or the decisions we make are indeed intentional, but the mind is quite complex and many of our actions or connections occur without conscious thought. Memories, perceptions, tone and atmospherics can have a hidden influence on a person’s actions or behavior. So what role does implicit cognition play when it comes to making assessments about individuals we have never met before?
- As additional preparation, I suggest reading Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us And What We Can Do by Claude Steele. This NPR interview will give you a peek into Steele’s research.