Soft bigotry of low expectations

Chances are, you have probably heard this phrase over and over again. Conservatives tend to use this phrase when describing the left’s racist tendency to condescend to black Americans and other minorities.

Here’s the truth: There is no such thing as “soft” bigotry.

Bigotry is bigotry, plain and simple. The left’s low expectations of minorities are indicative of a type of racism that is even more damaging than the overt racism exhibited by the likes of David Duke and Richard Spencer. Why? Because most people don’t recognize it as bigotry.

But what does it mean?

The “Soft” Bigotry Of Low Expectations

The phrase was originally coined by Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. It refers to the fact that the left’s approach when it comes to minorities — especially in the black community — is based on the notion that they are unable to achieve success in American society.

They couch this belief in the idea that racism in 21st century America is too much of a burden for black Americans to overcome. This faulty belief has manifested itself in the way many leftists approach issues pertaining to black Americans and other minorities.

One of the most pernicious ways the bigotry of low expectations displays itself on the left is when they justify bad behavior on the part of minorities. By writing off misdeeds committed by black Americans, they send the message that they expect that we can’t live up to the standards of other Americans. We have a recent example of this in the incident in which Emanuel Kidega Samson, a black man from Sudan, entered a church in Tennessee and opened fire, killing one of the parishioners.

Read more here: The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations – Liberty Nation

Stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group. It is purportedly a contributing factor to long-standing racial and gender gaps in academic performance. Since its introduction into the academic literature, stereotype threat has become one of the most widely studied topics in the field of social psychology.

Situational factors that increase stereotype threat can include the difficulty of the task, the belief that the task measures their abilities, and the relevance of the stereotype to the task. Individuals show higher degrees of stereotype threat on tasks they wish to perform well on and when they identify strongly with the stereotyped group. These effects are also increased when they expect discrimination due to their identification with a negatively stereotyped group. Repeated experiences of stereotype threat can lead to a vicious circle of diminished confidence, poor performance, and loss of interest in the relevant area of achievement. Stereotype threat has been argued to show a reduction in the performance of individuals who belong to negatively stereotyped groups. Its role in affecting public health disparities has also been suggested.

According to the theory, if negative stereotypes are present regarding a specific group, group members are likely to become anxious about their performance, which may hinder their ability to perform to their full potential. Importantly, the individual does not need to subscribe to the stereotype for it to be activated. It is hypothesized that the mechanism through which anxiety (induced by the activation of the stereotype) decreases performance is by depleting working memory (especially the phonological aspects of the working memory system). The opposite of stereotype threat is stereotype boost, which is when people perform better than they otherwise would have, because of exposure to positive stereotypes about their social group. A variant of stereotype boost is stereotype lift, which is people achieving better performance because of exposure to negative stereotypes about other social groups.

Some researchers have suggested that stereotype threat should not be interpreted as a factor in real-life performance gaps, and have raised the possibility of publication bias. Other critics have focused on correcting what they claim are misconceptions of early studies showing a large effect. However, meta-analyses and systematic reviews have shown significant evidence for the effects of stereotype threat, though the phenomenon defies over-simplistic characterization.

Stereotype threat – Wikipedia

Intergroup anxiety is the social phenomenon identified by Walter and Cookie Stephan in 1985 that describes the ambiguous feelings of discomfort or anxiety when interacting with members of other groups. Such emotions also constitute intergroup anxiety when one is merely anticipating interaction with members of an outgroup. Expectations that interactions with foreign members of outgroups will result in an aversive experience is believed to be the cause of intergroup anxiety, with an affected individual being anxious or unsure about a number of issues. Methods of reducing intergroup anxiety stress facilitating positive intergroup contact.

Widely theorized causes of intergroup anxiety are based on the feeling that interactions will have negative consequences. These can be grouped as follows:

  • Negative evaluations from the outgroup, often for failing to be aware of and demonstrate appropriate behaviors that are congruent with the outgroup’s social norms or possibly being rejected or mocked by members of the outgroup
  • Negative evaluations from the ingroup, e.g., possibly being ostracized from one’s own ingroup for associating with members of an outgroup
  • Negative psychological outcomes for the self, such as feeling uncomfortable or being deemed prejudiced
  • Negative behavioral outcomes for the self stemming from the belief that members of an outgroup are potentially dangerous and pose a threat to oneself and others

The amount of anxiety one feels in such an instance is hypothesized to vary according to a variety of personal factors. Negative prior relations between groups predict more intergroup anxiety, and one’s own experiences with individual members of the outgroup can affect anxiety about interaction with others from the group (often more salient if they are negative). Negative evaluations of outgroups often incorrectly stem from personal interactions due to a generalization from interpersonal contact to intergroup contact. The subsequent lack of positive contact results in negative expectancies of upcoming intergroup contact, leading to anxiety, heightened hostility, and a desire to avoid this contact. This cycle limits the possibility for positive contact.

Another factor that predicts intergroup anxiety is a strong level of identification with one’s ingroup. This ethnocentrism can cause ingroup members to look down upon outgroup members, yielding negative interactions. Imbalance of power in the specific situation can also increase anxiety. Linkage between intergroup anxiety and resulting intergroup hostility is likely, as individuals typically experience aversion to stimuli that arouse negative emotions.

Intergroup anxiety – Wikipedia

The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is a psychological phenomenon wherein high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area. The effect is named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved, or alternately, after the psychologist Robert Rosenthal. Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, in their book, applied the idea to teachers’ expectations of their students affecting the students’ performance, a view that has been undermined partially by subsequent research.

Rosenthal and Jacobson held that high expectations lead to better performance and low expectations lead to worse, both effects leading to self-fulfilling prophecy. According to the Pygmalion effect, the targets of the expectations internalize their positive labels, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly; a similar process works in the opposite direction in the case of low expectations. The idea behind the Pygmalion effect is that increasing the leader’s expectation of the follower’s performance will result in better follower performance. Within sociology, the effect is often cited with regard to education and social class. The Pygmalion effect has also been subject to criticism.

Pygmalion effect – Wikipedia

The Golem effect is a psychological phenomenon in which lower expectations placed upon individuals either by supervisors or the individual themselves lead to poorer performance by the individual. This effect is mostly seen and studied in educational and organizational environments. It is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Golem effect – Wikipedia

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