Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This book showed how and why stereotypes happen and how people with stereotypes think of themselves personally and if the status that others give them is true or not. Steele shows through psychology the answers to questions most would have about stereotypes. Using social psychology experiments Steele tests to show how individual characteristics or personal beliefs of social groups can affect their stereotypes. In this page turning book, Steele explains how identity can impact a person's everyday behavior depending on if they choose to follow their stereotype or overcome their status. He focuses on specific types of identity issues: stereotype threat, or fear of what people will think about us solely because of our gender, age, race, etc. The major messages and themes of this book were the psychological explanation for stereotypes. I specifically liked the different experiments and studies that Steele conducted to show the different outcomes and reasoning. Someone who would like this book would be interested in psychology or stereotypes. I disliked how repetitive the book can be at times by showing the same explanations for the results of the experiments. The writing style was research material and the reading level was a medium read. This book would be very useful for school curriculum especially if researching stereotypes.
The title of the book comes from the author’s experience. Steele describes of Brent Staples, who was a graduate student in Chicago. He is an African-American, observed white people and couples reacting to him with fear when they walked past him in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Staples noticed that when he whistled the tunes of musician Vivaldi, white people seemed like to relax and some of them even smiled at him. He was a stereotype of a potentially violence- African-American person. Staples overcame this threat for himself and the people who passed him with fear. The book talks about the identity threat that occurs when faced with a negative stereotype. The author gives us some remedies to reduce stereotype threat. There are some researches he has done on the students from different backgrounds. There are some strategies to apply them to the classroom. There will be positive environment. The most fascinating parts were on how identity threat could be reduced or eliminated. He made outstanding points obviously, but I can't help but feel that it was repetitive and that its facts were supported with evidence. I think that he spent too much time spending on exploring what identity threat was, while he was not exploring why personal identities or stereotypes are formed. On the other hand, sometimes he refers to people as things, but as a human being. This book separates everyone in a certain stereotype. The author writes in broad terms like "black" "white" "man" "woman" that he doesn't mention the fact that we are all just people after all. Also, there was a huge bias towards certain groups of people in this book. Steele and his colleagues think of stereotype threat, because of “the pressure of group stereotypes”; a pressure that comes into play when people’s “performance confirm a bad view of their group and of themselves, as members of that group” (p. 59). When we experience stereotype threat, we try to protect ourselves because of our instinct. Our brains are trying to disobey the stereotype and protect our image. Our performance might hurt. I certainly suggest this book to my colleagues because the book has experiments and researches about identity. This book is very interesting because it comes from a real-life story.