Bias, discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes start developing early in the brain; research shows these can change with effort.
Through the lens of scientific research, Kyi examines how brains are wired toward bias, how stereotypes emerge, and the effects on those being stereotyped, especially when it comes to race, gender, and sexual orientation. Taking a global perspective but often pointing to how problems have manifested in the United States, the book highlights the harmful and sometimes lethal ways stereotypes manifest in daily life, policing, and health care. Information is well organized, backed by examples, and, by focusing on the individual experience, refrains from centering whiteness. Offering historical context via such disparate examples as eugenics, Dr. Seuss, and the Rwandan genocide, Kyi illustrates “affective contagion,” emphasizing how leaders play a part in perpetuating stereotypes, and brings into the discussion the powerful role the media have in sustaining or diminishing stereotypes. She identifies the impacts of “stereotype threat,” when an individual is afraid of confirming someone’s stereotypes about them, and gives examples of how those in the position of power can offset it. After noting that an individual must be motivated to see their biases and wish to change, the book ends with concrete actions readers can take to begin rewiring their brains from the stereotypes they’ve internalized.
A must-read primer for change.(further reading, selected resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)