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Michael ‘Air’ Jordan, big man, both literally and figuratively, and the mightiest luminary of the NBA stardom. Shaquille O’Neal, the 7’1 centre. Magic Johnson, the great point guard. All great basketball players, but what’s typical in them besides basketball? Height? Build? Position? Nopes, they’re all African-Americans. Studies have shown that blacks generally have a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers than other ethnicities, as pointed out by Jon Entine in his book ‘Taboo’. So, are all NBA legends black? No, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki are exceptional non-blacks in the business. It’s not a rule, it’s a stereotype that effectively wipes out non-blacks in the NBA drafts.
Stereotypes result in an unjust society threatening ‘real’ progress. Labelling people leaves a lingering effect on them, even in unrelated situations as per a study conducted by a team at the Toronto University. By observing the upshots of negative pigeonholing on subjects faced with neutral tasks later on, the team concluded that people were more aggressive after facing social bias. As hostility leads to social isolation, this affected relations, decision-making, even diet.
Experiments have also shown that stereotypes can affect performance in most domains, especially academia. Focusing on standardised test performance, they demonstrated impaired intellectual performance on these tests owing to negative stereotypes. In one study, black college students performed worse than their white counterparts on a test framed as an intelligence test. Per contra, the gap narrowed when the same test was not framed as such.
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