Cultural Blog 6: Affirmation and Stereotype Threat

In this week’s Cultural blog, we’re focusing on Affirmation, which is a direct combatant of Stereotype Threat. This blog will be a bit different than previous ones, since it’s most in a Q&A style. Here we go!

When you think of the times in your life where you’ve been the happiest, the proudest, or the most satisfied, which events come to mind?

I didn’t need much time to reflect on the moments when I’ve felt one or all of these emotions. The birth of my children, getting married, and earning my Eagle Scout all gave me feelings of happiness, pride, and satisfaction. Without getting too sappy, I honestly believe graduating DBC and successfully finding work will be another milestone to add to these major events.

Which of the following values come to mind when you think about those milestones? On a scale of 1 to 5, how often do you feel like you live up to these values?

This list was much longer, but I narrowed it down to the important values that apply to me.

Accomplishment 4
Achievement 3
Adventure 5
Affection 5
Challenge 5
Competence 5
Confidence 5
Excitement 3
Growth 5
Having a family 5
Meaningful work 5
Persistence 5
Personal development 5
Romance 5
Self-knowledge 4
Self-reliance 5
Wisdom 3

Pick one value and write a couple of sentences about why the value you chose is important to you.

Even though several of these values are similar, Growth is one that is very important to me. Everything of substance I’ve done in my life has pushed me forward, whether it was becoming a husband, a father, or just a better member of society. In my work, I’ve always felt that if I’m not moving forward, I’m stagnating. I need to be constantly growing, learning, pushing myself to the next level. At DBC, I will not be one of the youngest students. Most of my cohort mates haven’t had too much time out of college, and have real options to go any direction they want. While I’m excited to be learning and growing, there’s much more at stake for me than just failure of the program.

What was the last topic that someone asked for your advice on? Did it relate to any of the values you found important?

My brother-in-law will be having a baby soon, and he asked me a few questions about being a parent. It was a really nice feeling to be sought out for advice on something that still seems so new to me, but it definitely made me feel more confident as a parent.

How do you feel when you think about your values? Do you think it can help you mediate stereotype threat if you recognize you feel it?

As I mentioned in my last Cultural Blog, I very rarely, if ever, experience stereotype threat. I feel like now that I’m getting into the veritable boy’s club that is the tech industry, I will experience a lot more stereotyping from marginalized groups like women and minorities who feel that since I’m white and have a ‘Y’ chromosome, I must be a member of that boy’s club. I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing now: focus on my work. When I view stereotyping towards others, I will work to combat it. When I feel like I am personally experiencing stereotype threat, I will remember that no one’s opinion can affect me unless I allow it to. Since most of my values seem to focus on building up myself and growing my abilities, I doubt that I will have too much steretype threat to overcome.

That’s it for this week! My name is Edwin Unger, and I’m a web developer. Sort of.