Who is Whistling Vivaldi?: How Black Football Players Engage with Stereotype Threats in College
Griffin, Whitney Nicole
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Research has shown that the threat of negative stereotypes can have pernicious effects on the decision-making thoughts and behaviors for those who are targets (Steele, 2011). When college students and professors subscribe to stereotypes that student-athletes enter college based solely on their physical abilities rather than their academic and intellectual capabilities, targets of the stereotypes may experience identity dissonance that exacerbates their decisions, behaviors, and ultimately their academic performance. In light of the impact of negative stereotypes on student-athlete performance, the purpose of this dissertation was to conduct a phenomenological, qualitative study that examined how Black male football players engage and cope with negative stereotypes at a predominantly White institution (PWI). Data was collected and analyzed from semi-structured interviews with 10 Black male football student-athletes employing grounded theory methodology to examine how they experience, are affected by, and respond to negative stereotypes. Empirical results elucidate various strategies employed to engage with stereotype threat. Thematic categories include responses that exacerbated, habituated to, or mitigated the stereotype encounter. The current study investigates the successful coping strategies Black football players currently use. Emergent themes gained from this inquiry helped the researcher identify specific harbingers for interventions that would inculcate Black male student-athletes with tools to mitigate negative stereotypes that may undermine their performance in college and all areas of life. Implications are further discussed for postulating an institutionalized workshop series designed to teach effective coping mechanisms for all Black athletes.
- Education - Seattle