Written by Melony Varnado
February 29, 2016

On February 29, 2016, students, faculty and staff gathered for a faculty-led discussion on the multiple impacts of stereotypes.   The evening challenged us to look beyond the ways we stereotype others and explore how and why we might even stereotype ourselves.

Through her research, Prof. Margaret Shih of the UCLA Anderson School of Management provided examples of how internalizing stereotypes often affects a person’s behavior in the classroom, the workplace and more.

Prof. Shih provided us with examples of how negative stereotypes can raise doubts in high-pressure situations, such as taking academic tests, and negatively affect performance.  Conversely, examples were provided where positive stereotypes boosted performance.

Common stereotypes seem to create pressure or anxiety that we do not consciously perceive but that affect us nevertheless. It can affect our mood, behavior and the way we interpret an event, situation or person. Redefining those stereotypes requires becoming more aware of their existence and actively taking steps to counter the narratives we find in the world.

Throughout the night, students shared their experiences with stereotype anxiety, detailing moments when they may have been afraid to speak up in class or take the lead in a group. Staff and faculty were able to share their experiences as well, while offering support and solutions for the future.

Our experience at Every/One’s View really showed what’s possible when people of diverse backgrounds come together to discuss real situations experienced by many in different ways.