Racial Roles Defined

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Racial Roles Defined

by staff reporter Izabella Solis

by staff reporter Izabella Solis

by staff reporter Izabella Solis

Delilah Rivera, Associate Editor

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He’s African-American, so he must be good at basketball. He’s Mexican, he must play soccer. She’s Asian, so she must be smart.
Many assumptions about many cultures are thrown around in society. Typical stereotypes about a certain race are expected to follow through within the different hierarchies of high school. This stereotyping comes from not only students, but even adults. While the world is said to becoming more accepting, there is still a certain prejudice within school.

People need to consider and realize that a certain race does not define a student’s role in school. Students are able to participate on many levels within education and do not always play out a role that is expected of them.

Due to depictions in pop culture, every student of every race is expected to fill a role within school. We all know the typical roles. Because of this typical bias, the stereotype threat comes into play. Some teachers already expect certain expectations of students because of the overall standardized test scores of a minority group. But what teachers fail to realize is that the stereotype is a self-fulfilling prophecy, meaning students will perform how they are expected to perform. Every student deserves the same chance within school to receive a proper education. With all students, guidance is key to breaking down the stereotype threat.

Within the media, there’s a certain bias in the way headlines are written. “A young black man” usually causes a negative knee-jerk reaction. Research through a national study on teens between ages 13-17 from a team of sociologists show that schools vary their messaging bases on the race of a student. Students of color are generally disciplined more often than white students. Because of past history and media portrayal, black and hispanic students get treated with more caution and discipline in schools which can feed into a bad image. While the trend may differ based on the backgrounds of teachers, there is still a gap that puts a negative connotation on kids of color. Contrary to this belief, research from the Kirwan Institute shows that the kids who are disciplined more don’t “act out” anymore than their white classmates.

Students of every race and ethnicity all fill different roles within high school and participate in a range of activities. In the past decade, students every year bypass many academic barriers. However, some of these accomplishments can actually go unnoticed. Through pop culture and ethnic archetypes, the different hobbies of students can go unnoticed simply for not fitting into the normal ethnic box. According to research from Vanderbilt University, African-American students were much less likely than their white peers to be referred for Gifted and Talented Programs, as well as Hispanics. This bias, which starts off early, can damper into future education of students and risk the threat of stereotypes. This subconscious push can possibly lead to fewer recognitions in their high school career.

Students and teachers can push past stereotypes and the stereotype threat if everyone learned to accept cultural diversity and also realize that race does not define a single person’s role in school. With encouragement from teachers and peers, students can break down academic barriers and show that they can do more than what is expected of them.

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