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Stereotypes Affecting Women of Color, “Contagious” Gun Violence, Fighting Poverty &#8211

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Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address the impact of stereotypes on women of color, new research indicating that gun violence may be “contagious”, how psychologists are addressing the impact of poverty on children and more.

A new survey of 557 female scientists reveals that 48 and 47 percent of Black and Latina women, respectively, have been mistaken for custodial or administrative staff. Black and Latina women also reported that their coworkers often confronted them with negative racial stereotypes. The results of the survey especially emphasize the challenges women of color face in the sciences.

Latinas recently took to Twitter to shine a light on what it means to be a Latina in the U.S., while simultaneously overturning ethnic stereotypes and sharing their thoughts on cultural expectation, sexism, racism and beauty standards. Using #HispanicGirlsUnited, they offered numerous examples of microaggressions, major offenses and observations, cultural misappropriations and stereotyping, e.g., the inescapable “The Spicy Latina” pigeonhole. Through words of support and frustration, the women shared what it means to constantly have images forced upon them as they relentlessly educate the mainstream about important facts.

Stereotypes and negative images of people of color are ubiquitous in our society. African American/Black, Latino and Native American men are often portrayed as criminals, while women of color are frequently underestimated, belittled, objectified and/or associated with overly sexualized images and terms (as illustrated in the articles above). According to the APA Report: Dual Pathways to a Better America Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity, discrimination marginalizes its target and secures opportunity and advantages for the non-target or majority group. Research shows how detrimental racially charged stereotypes/images and other forms of discrimination can be on the self-perception, emotional wellbeing, and physical health of people of color. While fostering diversity and inclusion certainly benefits communities of color, APA’s report argues that exclusion and discrimination take a toll on non-targets or bystanders and that “support for social diversity is exponentially healthier for everyone.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage opens the door to a host of new benefits for same-sex couples, but claiming them means coming out of the closet to employers who may not share the court’s opinion.  That’s why gay rights advocates are hoping to ride the momentum of the court’s landmark decision and push for workplace protections they say are needed to allow gay and transgender people to live openly. For more on this topic, read about APA’s support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and its benefits for LGBT workers.

Mass killings and school shootings spread “contagiously,” a new study found, where one killing or shooting increases the chances that others will occur within about two weeks. The study, published last Thursday in the journal PLOS ONE, found evidence that school shootings and mass killings — defined as four or more deaths — spread “contagiously,” and 20% to 30% of such killings appear to be the result of “infection.” The contagion period lasts about 13 days, researchers found. For more info, read APA’s recent report by a panel of experts on how to reduce the incidence of gun violence nationwide.

APA Exclusive: Fighting Poverty – Monitor on Psychology

With 44 percent of American children now living in low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, many psychologists are investigating how poverty affects the brain and children’s ability to take advantage of educational opportunities. They’re also exploring how the stress of poverty can lead to heart disease and other life-shortening illnesses. And they’re studying what parents can do to help lift their children out of poverty. Read this article for details on new research being conducted by various psychologists on poverty’s impact on the mind, physical health, family and cultural factors.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

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