Equality Myth reader and new friend Jillian Weinberger, a freelance writer and Program Associate at Legal Momentum, unpacks a new book about “stereotype threat”—the idea that people who internalize negative stereotypes (women are bad at math, etc), in turn confirm them. She writes:
Until eighth grade, school was a breeze. I raced through math problems and reading assignments, turned in essays hurriedly scribbled the evening before, and aced tests with only a flimsy review of a chapter or two. My seventh grade math teacher selected me to take Algebra I a year early, in eighth grade. I accepted the challenge and faced the new school year confident that my flippant study habits would again carry me to success.
Instead, Algebra I hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly, solving math problems required more than a quick skim of the textbook and a casual half-hour of work in study hall. My once-pristine graded homework was returned to me as if from war, mangled from my eraser overuse and bloodied by my teacher’s red pen. C’s soon replaced the A’s that once graced the top of my tests, and I panicked.
Read more after the jump.