Going the Distance: Stereotypes and Hard Work

The Huffington Post:

I plead guilty to trading in stereotypes once in a while. For example, I’ve somehow gotten the idea that East Africans are especially good distance runners, and I think I’ve even said as much on a few occasions. But I don’t know this to be true. I’ve never done the work to verify that East Africans are statistically superior at distance running. It just seems that every time I flip on ESPN and happen on a long-distance event, an East African is winning.

This kind of stereotyping seems harmless enough, but is it? I intend it with admiration rather than disrespect, but new research suggests that whether stereotypes are positive or negative may be irrelevant. Attributing any ability to a particular social group may be damaging, contributing to the belief that natural talent is more important than hard work, which in turn can undermine effort and achievement, especially in children.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

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