Related on TestTube:
How Our Brains Force Us to Stereotype
Can Stereotypes Keep Us Safe?
Each week on TestTubePlus, we cover one topic from multiple angles. This week, we are covering stereotypes: why do they exist, why does it seem so hard to get rid of them, and how did they become such a big part of who we are? So far, Trace has discussed how our brains are wired to stereotype, how video games enforce them, how we may believe certain stereotypes without even knowing it, and how they might actually help keep us safe. In today's final episode, Trace asks: will we ever be able to eliminate stereotypes from our society?
In an earlier episode of this series, we talked about how stereotyping is basically part of how our brain is wired and how, in some cases, it can be beneficial. But of course most stereotyping is bad and leads to some pretty messed up things in society--everything from inability to create interpersonal relationships all the way to institutionalized racism can be traced back to this basic "need" to stereotype, Stereotyping, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, can lead to prejudice and ultimately discrimination. There have been a growing number of studies that show a link between hidden biases and how they are transferred to your actual outward behavior. Our unconscious biases become our actions. These unconscious biases can be exacerbated when a person is under duress or in a stressful situation; we discussed this in this episode.
This is where the idea of institutionalized racism, sexism and even ageism comes into play. Studies have found that school teachers clearly apply prejudices to their students. Students of different ethnicities or sex actually receive different educations. There are also studies on how doctors treat their patients based on a variety of cultural factors from being less educated, poor, or of a certain race. Some findings suggest that physicians make less enthusiastic efforts to save alcoholics, attempted suicides, drug addicts, prostitutes, vagrants and other groups. Even patients of color are given different medicines than white patients. This obviously needs to change. But--given our brain's tendency to do this--is it even possible? Trace explains what we can go to get past stereotypes in the final episode of this series.
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Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions (New York Times)
"The deaths of African-Americans at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Mo., in Cleveland and on Staten Island have reignited a debate about race. Some argue that these events are isolated and that racism is a thing of the past. Others contend that they are merely the tip of the iceberg, highlighting that skin color still has a huge effect on how people are treated."
Where Bias Begins: The Truth About Stereotypes (Psychology Today)
"Psychologists once believed that only bigoted people used stereotypes. Now the study of unconscious bias is revealing the unsettling truth: We all use stereotypes, all the time, without knowing it. We have met the enemy of equality, and the enemy is us."
Figure of the Stereotyping Network (Nature.com)
"Neural structures that underlie components of intergroup stereotyping. Semantic information stored in the lateral temporal lobe - especially representations of stereotype-related knowledge about people and social groups in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) - is recruited into the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to support the formation of impressions (that is, stereotypes) and, in conjunction, into the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) to support goal-directed actions that are guided by these stereotypes."
Your brain on stereotypes and brand identities (The Brain Alchemist)
"What comes to mind when you read the following list: 'Emigrant Savings Bank, Dakota Roadhouse, St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Starbucks, Equinox, Club Remix, Bank of New York, Shinjuku Sushi, New York City Law Department, Amish Market'?
How about this one: 'Ground Zero Mosque'?"
The Power of Categories (NPR.org)
"Alix and Lulu examine how categories define us - how, if given a chance, humans will jump into one category or another. People need them, want them. This show looks at what categories provide for us."