I am a 13 year old American girl, with an Indian ethnicity. Apparently, I am very shy, I have strict parents who want me to become a doctor, and I’m an expert at mathematics. In reality I’m actually a pretty confident person and I enjoy speaking in front of others. My parents are very understanding, and encourage me to follow any career that I feel passionate about. I’m one hundred percent sure I’m not an expert at math. So many others like me have grown up with stereotypes, based on their gender, religion, or race. It is unfortunate that these stereotypes are carried out in schools.
It is proven that when a student is held to a different standard or view on themselves by others, their minds tends to follow it too. For example, if someone says “you’re not going to be good at English,” the student’s mind tells them “you can’t do it.” This is known as a “self-fulfilling prophecy” which causes the students to embody the characteristics based on what is predicted or expected. Unfortunately, many people still follow stereotypes where they think one race, gender or religion is “stronger” or “smarter” or “weaker” than others. Why do we still hold on to these old traditions that should have been gone long ago? It all starts off from the beginning.
Preschool: remember those toy boxes labeled with genders? One pink, one blue. One containing dolls and house items. The other containing toy cars and firefighters. It's sickening to think that kids at such a young age are put into such a narrow path on who they should be, and would want to be as a person. Even in roles for school plays, teachers are reluctant to give boys an option to be a fairy, or have a girl be a knight in shining armour. Others might argue that gender roles are just biological, and they should remain the same because past generations have always followed these traditions. We need to eliminate these old stereotypes because they limit the students’ options to express themselves.
Race is a huge factor of stereotypes in school. Depending on your ethnicity or skin color, schools might categorize the students into groups discreetly and unfairly. Teachers have been known to have biased expectations of students’ academic abilities based on their race.
I believe that schools need to take a very close look at what they are bringing us up with. This is a new generation, and schools keep following old standards that should have been eliminated long ago. Let’s start now to make our future generations feel free to express who they are in an environment that is meant to build a better world.