Wow. Chapter 13. There are sooo many things I could talk about...
I think one of the things that affected me the most was the whole bystander and conformity section. I would like to think of myself as a good person, but when I am honest with myself, I know my morality is often swayed by the crowed. But I am glad that I recognized this, because now it is something I can consciously address and work on.
Another great part of this chapter was the "blue eyes vs. brown eyes" experiment mentioned briefly. This experiment was done by a third grade teacher the day after Martin Luther King Jr. died. Its pretty powerful stuff and some of the things the kids say can get upsetting, so fair warning.
blue eyes thing:
One thing that this video does not show was that the next day the teacher reversed the roles. Now brown-eyed children were superior to the blue-eyed children. However, they too showed tremendious discrimination and were more than glad to abuse their new found power. How do we teach people compassion after they have suffered, and not want revenge?
This experiment also illustrates the stereotypes influence your performance. There is something I learned a few years ago called a self fufilling prophecy. What this means is that your performance is about as good as you think it will be. If you believe you will do bad on something, chances are you probably will regardless of your skill level.
Self fufilling prophecies can stem out of stereotype threat. If your stereotype is that you will do badly on math for example, chances are you will do worse when you feel that stereotype present (as in when you take a test with someone who's stereotype is to do really well in math). There are a lot of experiments on this, in which two groups (African American's vs. Caucasions for example) are each given a written test. Half were told that the test was for intelligence, the other half was told it tested athleticism. When told it was for intelligence, the Caucasions did better on average. When told it was for athleticism, the African Americans did better, even though it was the same test in both groups!
Here is a video that shows how stereotype threat can effect the perfomance of women in math.
"We don't have to believe in a stereotype. Merely knowing that others could judge us, because of our social identity, is enough to distort our performance".