The role of stereotypes: Racial identity and learning

Leoandra Onnie Rogers, R. Josiah Rosario, Janene Cielto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Stereotypes have long been central to psychological theory (Allport, 1954) and a robust literature has examined the ways that stereotypes are related to identity and learning among Black/African American youth in educational contexts. While the majorityof theoretical and empirical attention has focused on how youth incorporate (or accommodate) stereotypes into their own identities, less research has attended to how youth challenge (or resist) those same stereotypes to positively transform their learning experiences. In this chapter, we review research from three key bodies of literature that have framed the conversation about identity-relevant pathways to learning among Black/African American youth: (a) stereotype threat; (b) ethnic-racial identity development; and (c) oppositional identity theory (i.e., “acting White hypothesis”). In reviewing these literatures, we discuss how stereotypes can (and often do) critically constrain the path between identity and learning but also highlight how youth positively transform their relationship to learning through their identities. Including resistance as a normative process of human learning and development is essential for (re)framing our discussions and interpretations of Black/African American youth in academic settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Cultural Foundations of Learning
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781135039318
ISBN (Print)9780203774977
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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