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Running head: Literature review: racial stereotypes 1

Racial Stereotypes: Literature Review

Gye L. Riddick II
Hampton University

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In this literature review, there will be analysis of different types of racial stereotypes that are
prevalent in todays society. Some of these stereotypes and sub-genres of consist of the
following: skin-tone, long-lasting effects, and the implications of racial stereotypes.
Keywords: [Click here to add keywords.]

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Racial Stereotypes: Literature Review
Stereotypes are commonly known as public, preconceived notions and beliefs pertaining
to certain social groups or individuals. More often than not. Stereotypes are often focused on
individuals of specific cultures or races, which brings forth the notion of racial stereotyping.
Racial stereotyping serves as a recurring problem that many have to face on a daily basis.
Because of this, many individuals and activists try to brainstorm ideas to combat racial
stereotyping. However, to understand more about combatting racial stereotypes, there are very
important questions that need to be considered:
1. How are racial stereotypes used?
2. How does racial stereotyping affect the world holistically??
3. How can people be made more aware about racial stereotypes?
The following review on literature will: provide clarity regarding the problem of racial
stereotyping, common forms of stereotyping used in every-day situations, and inform the public
about racial stereotypes and how to combat them properly.
How are racial stereotypes used?
To consider the common stereotypes that are used, there needs to be an understanding of
how racial stereotyping works in any setting. Figure 1 illustrates a scientific online survey
conducted by Tufts University, Stanford University, and the University of California Irvine to
test individuals pre-conceived beliefs by determining the race of the computerized faces.

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Based on the experiment, study participants associated faces accompanied by business

attire as White, whereas faces accompanied by janitor attire were more likely to be seen as
African American. In addition, those who tried to match a face with low-status as White and
business attire as African American, data still showed they were drawn to the other race that was
stereotypically tied to the status cue by moving the mouse slightly closer to that response
before making their final decision (Tufts University, Stanford University, University of
California Irvine).
Putting into account that one study cannot be generalized to the population at large, this
specific study validates how the perception of a face is always a compromise between the visual
cues before our eyes and the baggage we bring to the table, like the stereotypes we hold
(Freeman). Ultimately, the experience highlights the conscious and unconscious racial
stereotypes that many individuals have molded on different cultures and races.
What are the impacts of Racial Stereotypes?
The impact of racial stereotypes is evident and critical because of all the reports of racial
stereotypes associated with crimes, news reports, and more. In order to figure out how to move
forward, scientists have worked to find ways to alleviate the act of racially stereotyping
individuals. In a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, scientists conducted a

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research which revealed how non-verbal social cues can affect how humans comprehend
speech. One of the studys tasks involved participants from the University of British Columbia
transcribing pre-recorded sentences amongst background static. These sentences were recorded
by twelve native speakers of Canadian English. Half of the speakers self-identified as White, as
to the other half self-identified as Chinese all of these speakers being born and raised in
Richmond, British Columbia. Results from the experiment showed the Chinese Canadians were
more difficult to understand than White Canadians according to the participants but only when
they were made aware that the speaker was Chinese Canadian due to the photo prompt. In
addition, participants were asked to rate the strength of the accents of the speakers. They were
asked to listen to two sentences from each speaker, accompanied by the speakers photo. Once
participants were aware they were listening to a White Canadian, suddenly the candidate was
perceived as having less of a foreign accent and sounding more like a native speaker of Canadian
English (Babel, University of British Columbia). Through the implicit stereotypes that many
humans carry, it serves as a reminder of how sensitivity and awareness needs to be taken into
A second study conducted by the University of Southern California conducted how racial
stereotypes can impact an individuals health. Researchers at the University of Southern
California found people who encountered the threat of being judged by negative stereotypes
related to weight, age, race, gender, or social class in health care settings reported adverse
effects more likely to have hypertension, to be depressed, and distrustful of their doctors
(University of Southern California). The implications are very detrimental to todays population,
as people do not respond well to racial stereotypes.
How can people be made more aware of Racial Stereotypes?

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If its not clear by now, racial stereotypes are detrimental in todays society. If you look at figure
2 below, youll find police officers buying donuts and coffee, a common example of perceived
racial stereotype in the United States.

Through many studies at universities now, scientists are coming to conclusions that these
unconscious, racial stereotypes lie within all individuals. Researchers at Clover Park Technical
College have come to a conclusion stating the following: we all stereotype, and we all have
biased perceptions. We even apply stereotypes to ourselves (or they are applied by someone
else), and then modify our own behavior based on those stereotypes I am a mature, college
educated professional, and so should wear a tie to work and probably would not get a tarantula

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tattooed on my bald head no matter how much I wanted to (Clover Park Technical College).
Through self-verification, stereotypes and biases can be made aware, but not used in a bad way.
Individuals who are unware of their own personal stereotypes tend to accentuate them. Those
who are aware can be in control of their stereotypes and work towards alleviating all of their
In essence, racial stereotyping has been modulating since the beginning of time, and
without a doubt it is still a huge problem that the world is facing. Through many studies, racial
stereotypes can affect individuals in ways that cannot be imagined, and the amount of biases and
stereotypes that individuals have can be countless. However, the stepping stones for racial
stereotyping to be alleviated is through the process of self-evaluation being aware of selfbiases, and specific stereotypes that are carried along with those biases.

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Tufts University. "Changing race by changing clothes? Stereotypes and status symbols
impact if a face is viewed as black or white." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2011.
University of British Columbia. "How racial stereotypes impact the way we
communicate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2015.
University of Southern California. "Healthcare: How stereotypes hurt: Stereotypes in
health care environment can mean poorer health outcomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20
October 2015. <>.
Clover Park Technical College. Recognizing & Understanding Stereotypes and Bias.

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