Psychological Self-Help

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ideas suggesting that one has limited ability or skills. Examples would include
common beliefs, such as females don’t do well in math and spatial relations,
blacks make low grades, and men have trouble with verbal skills. Claude
Steele, a psychologist at Stanford University, believes our society could
benefit greatly by reducing the “stereotype threats” so that every person can
do their best (without the barriers of negative expectations). Consider the
data: black students get lower grades and drop out of college more than
whites, even if the groups are matched by SAT scores. Also, black and white
students with similar SAT scores do about the same when told they are taking
the GRE which measures problem-solving but blacks score much lower than
whites when told the test measures verbal skills. Similarly, females do not do
as well as males on math, unless they are told that gender doesn’t affect their
scores. In that case, females score equal to males.
So, Dr. Steele urges test givers and evaluators to take stereotype threats and
test anxiety into account and try to minimize their effects or to “look beyond
the test score” for more accurate assessment. One reason why it is important
to have diversity (and a number of blacks, rural, or Asian students) is so all
kinds of students will feel comfortable and safe in numbers. Consider how
uncomfortable you might feel if you were the “token” black, farm kid, or
Oriental student in your school.
Unfortunately, the well-intentioned but resisted and too often resented
forced integration of schools in the 1950's and 1960's did not result in a lot
more positive intimate contact between the races during the 1970's and
1980's. Few blacks were in the "advanced" classes, many were sent to Special
Ed classes from which they never escape. Aronson's cooperative learning
method was not being used widely. Blacks dominated the athletic teams;
Latinos seldom tried out. Social groups were separated by race and
socioeconomic class; students gathered in racial-economic clusters in the
lunch room. There are still relatively few inter-racial friendships (unless they
talk, dress, and act alike) and even fewer inter-racial love relationships. Why
aren't we working together as mutually helping equals? It seems that racial
biases are still strong and are getting all mixed up with old well entrenched
cultural-intellectual-economic class biases. We still have a lot of work to do. 
It is never safe to consider individuals in groups, classes, or races. To ascribe
virtues or vices to all the individuals of a group is as senseless as it is unjust
and inaccurate.
-Wings of Silver
Self-help methods to reduce our own prejudices
First of all, we must recognize what prejudice really is. It isn't limited to
having an intense hatred of a group who are different, and plotting to
exterminate all of them. It is much more subtle...and, to a considerable
extent, its temporary, spontaneous generation is unavoidable. But we could
become intelligent enough to quickly reject those unreasonable feelings. For
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