Stereotype threat – excuse or explanation?

by Limbic on June 30, 2003

“stereotype threat” — the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype. Everyone experiences stereotype threat. We are all members of some group about which negative stereotypes exist, from white males and Methodists to women and the elderly. And in a situation where one of those stereotypes applies — a man talking to women about pay equity, for example, or an aging faculty member trying to remember a number sequence in the middle of a lecture — we know that we may be judged by it.”

Is this the reason that “Gaps between the average test performance of African-Americans and European Americans have proven to be remarkably persistent, remaining even when socioeconomic status, prior performance and other factors have been accounted for” or is it an excuse facing difficult questions about group capabilities?

[Note: Abelard has correctly identified this as a pathological reaction akin to paranoia.]

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