Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Year : 2, Issue : 6
by Rubaiya Hassan
In academic settings, the focus is often on the drawbacks of negative stereotypes, yet there exists another complex issue – the so-called “positive” stereotypes. Consider the belief that certain groups inherently excel in specific subjects. As a student from a brown background, I encountered challenges within this framework, particularly in relation to mathematics.
Despite grappling with math, I achieved high grades. However, my accomplishments went largely unacknowledged because they were deemed expected. There’s a prevailing notion that students from Asian backgrounds are naturally proficient in math. Therefore, when I performed well, it was met with a sense of inevitability.
However, the situation took a turn for the worse when I encountered difficulties. As I fell behind in advanced math classes, the critique from teachers was notably harsher compared to that directed at others. This experience left me feeling inadequate.
The issue with these “positive” stereotypes lies in their ability to render success as confining. When one excels, it appears as merely meeting set standards. Yet, when faced with setbacks, the impact is amplified because the assumption was that one would always be at the top.
This detrimental cycle can play havoc with one’s mindset. While striving to prove oneself, there’s a simultaneous battle against the preconception that success is guaranteed based on one’s background. It extends beyond tackling math problems; it encompasses the pressure of living up to expectations that were not of one’s choosing.
Therefore, it’s imperative to reconsider our approach to discussing success. It’s not solely about meeting expectations or conforming to stereotypes. Each student follows a unique path, and this individuality should be celebrated without the burden of assumptions. Genuine success emerges when we acknowledge and support each other based on our inherent qualities, free from restrictive labels.
Author is a student