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Stereotypes in the Age of Diversity: Re-examine the Relations Between Natural Identity and Social Identity

Scarlett Kelly

2017 Irving and Jeanne Glovin Award Winner


Scarlett Kelly (left) at the 21017 FASS Essay

Competition awards ceremony.

Also picutred is Dr. George Mencher,

nephew of Irving & Jeanne Glovin.





Identity is not naturally formatted but socially instituted (Butler, 1990). It determines people’s consciousness, their capacity for language, or moral deliberation (Butler, 1990). Stereotypes serve as a short cut in identifying socially instituted identities when perceiving and processing information around natural formatted identities, such as skin color, gender, and nationality (Denholm & Wright, 2002; Jablonski, 2012). Stereotyping does not only simplify the procedure of understanding and defining people’s social functions and qualities but also adds meaning to natural formatted identities and justifies them (Denholm & Wright, 2002).


Stereotyping has become a serious social problem. American Implicate Association Tests (IATs) takers tend to be faster to link African American (black) faces with unpleasant words and European American (white) faces with pleasant words (Jablonski, 2012). When people psychologically believe commonly accepted stereotypes that others impose on an individual, that individual can present decreased performance, self-handicapping, and disengagement (Flanagan & Green, 2011). For example, European American men perform more poorly on math tests when they are told that their performance will be compared with that of Asian men (Jablonski, 2012). The poor performance of the stereotype victims, European American men in the previous example, confirms the initial stereotypes that were imposed on them. In this way, a vicious cycle of stereotypes affect individual performance. When a group of people are considered unfit to perform certain tasks based on their naturally formatted physical characters, productivity and social acceptance within the larger population are affected. In the age of diversity caused by the increasing migration of international populations, stereotyping becomes one of the biggest barriers that prevents cooperation among groups and individuals.


Social movements have a long history of fighting against discrimination and inequality. Movements, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride, have contributed to the promotion of awareness of equality and educated the general public to accept and respect diversity. However, the recognition of diversity worsens the problem of stereotypes. For example, attitudes towards homosexuals arising from fear changed into openly labeling and assuming certain characteristics of homosexuality. A norm of conditional diversity emerges due to stereotypes.


This paper aims to examine why stereotypes are not having a reduced impact in an age where diversity is recognized and promoted. To answer this question, the paper will find the root of stereotypes with theories of natural and social identity, as well as examine the limitations of social movements and the stereotyped diversity. By relating theories with social reality, the paper will make recommendations on a new view of individual identity and possible ways to promote this view in the society.

Background: Stereotyping is a serious social problem in the age of diversity


Diversity is significant to a country’s cultural, political, and economic growth, especially in countries like Canada where one-fifth of the citizens immigrated from other countries (Trudeau, 2015). However, when a group of people are visually different, stereotypes create uncertainty about how to interact with others (Raphael, 2002). In this sense, stereotypes and diversity often co-exist. Both positive and negative stereotypes are harmful (Flanagan & Green, 2011), for instance, the seemingly positive stereotype that Hispanics work hard. This stereotype may motivate Hispanics to give consistently good performances, regardless of conditions, but it is more likely to negatively impact them as they try to live up to the high expectations and standards, as well as punish them for not meeting high expectations more often than other ethnic groups (Cain, 2004; Weaver, 2005; Flanagan & Green, 2011).


Stereotypes can affect performance in academic and non-academic settings. Individuals who constantly become the victims of stereotypes can develop negative self-stereotypes, which results in the decrease of cognitive abilities, self-fulfilling prophecy, and stigma consciousness (Aronson, 1995; Flanagan & Green, 2011; Steele, 1997). Such situations in academics was first formally addressed through a study on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken by African-American and Caucasian college students (Flanagan & Green, 2011; Steele & Aronson, 1995). The study found that African-American students’ scores decreased when experiencing self-stereotyping and concluded that the decrease in performance for the minority group was a result of the stereotype, which caused the test-takers’ attention to divide between trying to answer the test questions and trying to assess the self-significance of the participant’s frustration (Flanagan & Green, 2011). These effects were magnified when the stereotype was racial (Flanagan & Green, 2011). Another study demonstrated negative self-stereotypes in non-academic setting when a study of 60 Caucasian and 36 Hispanics undergraduate students completed two manual labor tasks, sorting and assembling nuts and bolts, and a math test (Flanagan & Green, 2011). Half of the students were affected by stereotyping and half were not, and the results yielded significant differences for Hispanics during the manual labor tasks while Caucasians were not negatively impacted by stereotype on any of the three tasks (Flanagan & Green, 2011). Stereotypes and induced negative self-stereotypes have also been shown to impact other non-academic tasks such as gay men in childcare (Bosson, Haymovitz, & Pinel, 2004) and women in driving (Yeung & von Hippel, 2008) (Flanagan & Green, 2011).


Behavioural responses towards stereotypes present a vicious cycle of social problems at the aggregate level (Loury, 2002; Raphael, 2002). Hypothetically, black workers are the victims of the stereotype that they exert less effort than white workers (Raphael, 2002). In the workplace, such stereotype may result in a lower threshold of acceptable mistakes for black workers (Raphael, 2002). When black workers find that their efforts of performing well on the job are not rewarded, they have less incentive to improve (Raphael, 2002). The reduced incentive and effort lead to an increase in mistakes, which confirms the initial stereotype, and hence, employers may rest assured that the higher standard imposed on black workers is justified (Raphael, 2002). The consequence is a vicious cycle: the business’s productivity is low because of the black workers’ lack of incentive to perform well (Raphael, 2002), profit decreases due to the low productivity and higher dismissal rate of black workers as punishment for mistakes, and businesses will be reluctant to hire black workers in the long run. The reduction of demand for black workers results in the waste of valuable human resources in the workforce and in society. Black workers will also suffer from less income—for example, in the United States (U.S.), the average net wealth of black households is a mere 25 percent of average white household wealth (Oliver & Shapiro, 1997)—which may result in more criminal activities (Raphael, 2002). In the U.S. criminal justice system, there are enormous racial differences in the likelihood of being a victim of crime as well as the likelihood of being prosecuted (Rennison, 2001; Adams & Reynolds, 2002; Raphael, 2002). For example, among white murderers, those who murdered blacks were 13 percentage points less likely to receive a life sentence relative to those who murdered whites (Raphael, 2002). Therefore, stereotyping is a serious social problem and can result in negative ripple effects if not studied and addressed as a complex problem.

Why do stereotypes exist?


The human population is diverse in both natural and social identities; for example, people have different skin colors, nationalities, professions, sexual orientation, hobbies, etc. Precisely because of such diversity, people need to identify others based on certain categories in order to process such vast and diverse information; yet this is not enough to activate stereotypes associated with these categories (Jablonski, 2012). However, when repeated reinforcement associates with the categories, the tendency to develop stereotypes becomes universal (Jablonski, 2012). The ambiguous understanding of identities and the current social movement both contribute to stereotypes and result in the stereotyped diversity that is socially accepted.


The misconnection between natural identity and social identity

Natural identity is the gene that explains the phenomenon of humans (Munoz-Rubio, 2002). For example, skin colour is a natural identity of human, as it is the result of natural selection based on genetic formation and the external environment (Jablonski, 2012). As highly visual animals, humans are interested in visible natural identity and form impressions of others and the world primarily through what they see (Jablonski, 2012).


Social identity is a person’s view of self and others based on the groups that people belong to (Denholm & Wright, 2002). Social identity closely relates to and is often built on culture, which is defined as shared values, beliefs, and attitudes, as well as rules that govern the behaviour of most members of a community or society (Wade & Travris, 2003). Culture is often used interchangeably with collectivist cultures, which states that the relationships with one’s group are placed above individual goals and wishes (Wade & Travris, 2003). The other branch is individualist culture, in which the self is regarded as autonomous, and individual goals and wishes are placed above duty and relations with others (Wade & Travris, 2003).


The line between natural identity and social identity is blurred in the social setting. Natural identity (human bodies) always mark social identity (social functions) (Butler, 1990). For example, when sexuality as an instinct is transferred to sexuality as labels, natural identity is transferred to social identity (Butler 1990; Huffer, 2010). In this way, women’s natural identities are associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing, but women can solely pursue their social identities, such as providers for a family, or achieve a balance between their natural identity and social identities (Jablonski, 2012). There are also multiple natural identities and social identities for an individual. For example, an individual’s natural identities can include woman, blonde, and Irish, while the person’s social identities can include wife, lawyer, and dancer. The combination of natural identities and social identities are totally random.


The problem of stereotypes arises because people tend to categorize natural identities and social identities with clean-cut boundaries and make sense of the connections between them by assigning meanings. For example, woman and mother are well-known and universally accepted stereotypes. When women after reaching to a certain age are not mothers, cognitive dissonance, which is inconsistency in belief, can occur for those who only accept the stereotype of woman and mother. Culture psychology as a research area understands that individuals vary according to their temperaments, beliefs, and learning histories, and this variation occurs within every culture, but it runs into the problem of stereotyping because it studies how cultural influences on personality, even though it does not rest on the assumption that all members of a culture behave the same way or have the same personality traits (Church & Lenner, 1998; Wade & Travris, 2003). In other words, attempting to find the relations between social identity and natural identity come with the side-effects of promoting stereotypes. This holds particularly true when people search for natural identities and social identities along the ethnic lines (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977).


Current studies on natural identity and social identity in the form of ethnic identity and acculturation attempt to balance and classify the two types of identities based on whether the recognition of ethnic identity is strong or weak and whether identification with the mainstream culture is strong or weak (Berry, 1994; Phinney, 1990; Wade & Travris, 2003). Such classification explains some attitudes, such as “I’m proud of my ethnic heritage, but I identify just as much as my country” or “my ethnicity comes first; if I join the mainstream, I’m betraying my origins” (Wade & Travris, 2003, p. 532). However, stereotypes are created when assuming there is a quantitative connection between ethnic identity and mainstream culture. Cognitive dissonance often occurs when one person’s attitude does not match another person’s stereotype. Moreover, the measurement assumes the negative relationship between natural identity and social identity, but it is not a zero-sum game. Natural identity is a fact and existence while social identity is a dependant variable of external factors, such as culture, instead of natural identity. Thus, conflicts happen when a person in a certain ethnic group struggles to choose between “loyal to your own” (strong culture sense) and “selling out” (weak culture sense), which can determine if the person can stay as a part of that ethnic group (Spencer & Dornbusch, 1990; Wade & Travris, 2003, p. 532).


In this way, the current studies that try to understand the relationship between natural and social identities have the side-effects of enlarging the gap between natural identity and social identity. This worsens the problem of stereotypes at some rate. Social movement presents similar effects. For example, when visible minorities promote their social identities by making the public aware of their unique cultural practice, they help the general public make connections between their natural identities and social identities, which make them vulnerable to stereotypes.


The limitations of social movements

Social movements, such as gay pride, contributes to the positive stance against discrimination toward LGBT people and promotes their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, while increasing their visibility as a social group and community (Wikipedia, 2017). Pride parades are high-profile events that celebrate LGBT culture and pride (Wikipedia, 2017). These movements significantly increase the public awareness of different sexual orientation and the acceptance of LGBT in the mainstream society, and become the reason that LGBT is no longer “the rejected,” “madman,” or “pervert” (Butler, 1993, p. 226; Huffer, 2010, p. 50, 54). Instead, the social identity, LGBT, is created.


Stereotypes emerge along with social movements because the movements attempt to assign social identity to the pre-existing natural identity. Homosexuality is natural because it is fundamentally a love of one’s own sex (Butler, 1993). The existence of the norm that homosexuality is unnatural is due to binary opposition, as heterosexuality only looks natural when homosexuality looks unnatural (Butler, 1990). Yet homosexuality seeks social identity (socially recognized and accepted homosexuality) in order to justify its natural identity (sexual orientation) without realizing that natural identity exists regardless of social identity (Butler, 1990). Therefore, to look for a social identity for the pre-existing natural identity is the blind pursuit of socially accepted natural identity without realizing that the social identity does not reflect who the individual naturally is (Huffer, 2010). When social identity is no more than a flat label imposed on natural identity and does not reflect the three-dimensional illustration of each individuals, stereotypes emerge. Therefore, it is a stereotype trap when people try to acquire social identity, such as homosexual identity, when the mainstream, such as heterosexual, does not need an identity (Butler, 1990).


The stereotyped diversity

True diversity is the acceptance that people are different in natural identities and social identities without stereotyping. Since the current practice of promoting diversity does not reduce the tendency of stereotyping, a stereotyped diversity appears in the society. Stereotyped diversity is basically a conditional diversity. For example, nerd identity represents a normative boundary of power in the technology field (Eglash, 2002). The lack of software entrepreneurship among African Americans cannot simply be attributed to the lack of education or start-up funds, since both are low requirements in the software industry (Amsden & Clark, 1999; Eglash, 2002). Ii is because African Americans do not fit in the stereotype of nerd, so they have no access to the nerd network among the software entrepreneurs or opportunities to collaborate and pair with other entrepreneurs (Eglash, 2002). Even though the technology field is a diverse environment in many aspects, diversity is under the condition that it only accepts nerds to the core of power in this nerd entrepreneurship.


The stereotyped diversity is common in daily life. A study applied a self-reflexive interpretive method to examine the relationship between ethnicity, consumption, and place in the United Kingdom (Rabikowska, 2010). The methodology enabled a more intimate and reflective connection with the research subjects (Rabikowska, 2010). The study found stereotyped diversity in many aspects. For example, the English ethnic group no longer referred to Plumstead, a district of south east London as home but a lost paradise because of the immigrants and the change of local businesses based on the ethnic belonging of business owners in the High Street (Rabikowska, 2010). The most significant finding from the study, however, was the stereotypes towards the researcher (Rabikowska, 2010). Of Polish origin, the researcher was often assumed to suffer from homesickness, even though the researcher did not feel Poland in such an emotional way (Rabikowska, 2010). The English interviewees also refused to accept an answer that the researcher’s home was in Plumstead, but insisted to know where the researcher’s real home was (Rabikowska, 2010). Even though the interviewees meant no offense, the stereotypes that they imposed on the researcher made the researcher feel vulnerable and helpless (Rabikowska, 2010). Cognitive dissonance constantly occurred because the researcher’s answers did not fit into the interviewees’ stereotypes (Rabikowska, 2010). This study reflects the reality of stereotyped diversity: diversity can only exist without changing the norm of stereotypes. In other words, there cannot be cognitive dissonance between diversity and stereotype, such as immigrates do not come to the English territory to do business and people of other origins cannot call a city in England home.

Consider the promotion of individual identity


The reason behind the problem of stereotypes is the misconnection between natural identity and social identity. Social movements attempt to change the previous offensive label of social identity in certain groups to a less offensive label, which is simply moving from one cage (discrimination) to another (stereotypes). In this way, a stereotyped diversity forms in the course of promoting diversity.


Currently some social movements consciously challenge the notion of cognitive dissonance by merging unlikely stereotypes. For example, the emergence of GeekGirls/NerdGirls is a hybrid techno-gender identity, which directly challenge the mainstream sexist stereotype that portrays women as unable to engage with computer technology as social identity (Eglash, 2002). However, it runs the risk of homogenizing all women in the technology field with the portrait of geek or nerd (Eglash, 2002). In this sense, the new hybrid stereotype does not eliminate stereotype. It simply replaces the previous stereotype with a new one. As a result, it falls under the stereotyped diversity in the technology field that the new stereotype is acceptable given that it does not challenge the signified existing stereotype dominance in the field (Eglash, 2002). It is basically a trap for stereotypes to continue replacing each other within the tolerance of the dominate stereotypes. Such mix of success and failure in challenging stereotypes shows the limits of current practice and requires a new strategy (Eglash, 2002). In other words, redefining the boundary of stereotypes (Eglash, 2002) is not enough. To eliminate the boundary must be achieved.


The concept of identity refers to the cumulative sense of place and relative to others from the perspective of the individual, not from that of others (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977). In other words, identity should be defined by individuals, not by others in the society. Therefore, the core of individual identity is to let individuals determine social identity. Individual identity functions as a guard between natural and social identities so that no connection can be made to breed stereotypes. In this way, individual identity forces people to understand each person as an independent entity without the shortcut to assume social identity based on natural identity. People will argue that understanding other people individually is unachievable due to the vast amount of information each person can present. Such an individualism recognition will also receive resistance, especially from the groups that have strong awareness of culture, such as the Indigenous population. Some groups, such as LBGT, may think the promotion of acknowledging identity at individual level will weaken their social power as a community. However, it is worth emphasizing that stereotypes rely on the tie between natural identity and social identity. Cutting the tie and shifting people’s recognition to the individual level instead of the group level is the only way to shift the society from stereotyped diversity to true diversity.

Recommendations for promoting individual identity


Stereotyping is a complex problem. It has deep historical roots, as Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosopher/racists of all time, was convinced that skin colour denoted qualities of personality and morality (Jablonski, 2012). Promoting individual identity against stereotypes will be a long process. Three areas that relate to research, power analysis, and education provide platforms.


Interdisciplinary studies and research

Currently there are many schools of thoughts that have recognized the harm of stereotypes and focused on the studies of identities and the surrounding issues. Sociology focuses on the culture component of human society. Social psychology has done critical work on how identities shape individual behavior and reveals that people are sensitive to others in every aspect of behavior (Dimaggio & Markus, 2010). The combination of explicit and implicit influences on behaviour shows that both stereotypes and self-stereotypes have effects on behaviour (Fiske, Gilbert, and Lindzey, 2010; Dimaggio & Markus, 2010). Socio-biology is a discipline grounded in the theory of evolution and focuses on building a model of human society based on the action of biological survival (Munoz-Rubio, 2002). Literature has a long list of writings that focus on natural identity and social identity. For example, August Strindberg’s play Miss Julie (1888) was a pioneer work in the naturalist theatre movement in the nineteenth century and explored natural identity through the pursue of sexuality without the considerations of social class and tradition. Michel Marc Bouchard’s Lilies (1990) was a modern play representative of queer theatre, which explored the social identity of homosexuality. History also records conflicts between natural and social identity. For example, in the court case of Morrison v. White in 1857, Alexina was stripped before juries in order to establish her whiteness or blackness, which directly determined if she was a free woman or a slave (Jablonski, 2012). Philosophy also provided insightful knowledge of identities and stereotypes in the society.


All these disciplines have provided rich resources and expertise knowledge for the establishment, promotion, and studies of individual identity. However, interdisciplinary studies are scarce. Instead, different schools tend to criticize each other rather than working together. For example, socio-biology is criticized for the underestimation of historical and cultural aspects that contribute to the changeable realities of human nature and consequently falsefully represents many discriminatory practices (Munoz-Rubio, 2002). Philosophical ideas on identity, such as in Judith Butler’s works, are often criticized for isolating theories from social reality. Constant critiques are necessary for the emergence of new ideas. However, many years of agreements and disagreements become rhetoric and a waste of valuable knowledge and human resources. Facing a complex problem of stereotypes in the time of diversity, interdisciplinary studies and research become necessary, if not the only way, to achieve a holistic understanding of the issues around stereotypes and identities and the possibilities of achieving diversity through the promotion of individual identity.


Interdisciplinary studies and research are achievable. The convergence between psychological and sociological areas, social psychology, is a practice of combining sociological theorizing on roles, institutions, and culture with psychological analysis on specific features and contexts (Dimaggio & Markus, 2010). In this way, the views and approaches to culture and identities become multi-dimensional and both disciplines can benefit from such cooperation (Dimaggio & Markus, 2010). However, identities are dynamic concepts that are beyond the coverage of only two disciplines. Moreover, the studies of individual identity shift to the micro-level. In this sense, the macro-level (relations, networks, norms, practices, and meanings) of understanding social identities in the realm of social psychology is not sufficient in conducting the research on individual identity (Dimaggio & Markus, 2010). A holistic understanding on stereotypes and identities is needed in order to build solid foundations for individual identity. The combination of individual behaviour in the individual psychological studies and behavioural science on behavioral change and innovation is crucial in providing a theoretical model for individual identity (Dimaggio & Markus, 2010). The merge of social sciences and the humanities is particularly important. Humanities in the areas of philosophy, literature, and history offer insightful ideas and understanding of the social problems at the theoretical level. These theories in the humanities can potentially offer new ways of thinking and operation to social sciences in the areas of sociology and psychology. To achieve such interdisciplinary studies, research funding needs to be reallocated in order to expand the boundaries of studies that focus on individual identity and encourage broader and more untraditional interdisciplinary studies and research.


Power dynamics

There are some social movements that could help eliminate stereotypes and achieve ultimate diversity. However, such movements hardly achieve their goals. In the U.S., the official Melting Pot movement aimed to achieve the ultimate mixture of ideology, regionalism, ethnicity and all other divisive variables since World War 2 (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977). Yet the growing anxiety about the loss of individual and group identities resulted in a society of un-meltable ethnics (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977). It was also an era that the relationship between regional identity and ambiguous national identity became particularly salient in Canada (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977). The failure to achieve the ultimate diversity is the result of the power dynamics that social identities create.


Identity is a game of power and stereotypes are the tool to achieve power. People use stereotypes to describe others of foreign origin in order to reject new information and feel the power of minimizing the fear when functioning in unfamiliar situations (Flanagan & Green, 2011). Stereotyping sometimes is intentional because power relation-based social hierarchical behaviours are achieved when the natural people who are stereotyped as “Jews,” “Westerners,” or “Newfies” grow into these social identities (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977, p. 94; Munoz-Rubio, 2002). Emphasizing gender difference is a way to repress power of LGBT (Butler, 1990; Huffe, 2010). The mainstream achieves the power of prophecy that blacks tend to engage in criminal acts (Raphael, 2002). The Americans gain psychological strength from the anti-Muslim sentiments after 9.1.1. (Munoz-Rubio, 2002). However, the power dynamics is a two-way reaction and the victim of stereotypes can become the enforcer, and vice versa. For example, the Indigenous people are the victim of stereotypes, including drinking and family violence. The Indigenous people return stereotypes to their enforcer, including colonist and culturally ignorant. The delusion of achieving power through stereotypes only creates conflicts between different groups of people without bestowing any group power.


The individual identity theory should aim at eliminating such power dynamics. Individual identity should promote the idea that assigning a social identity does not acknowledge or define natural identity, as there is no tie between natural and social identities. The individual identity is the medium between natural and social identities and only the individuals have the power to define social identities. By assigning the stereotyping power to individuals based on the person’s preference and knowledge about oneself, it minimizes the chance of enforced social identity by other groups or other members in the group that an individual belongs to. Power dynamics can be fundamentally changed when the stereotyping power shifts from others to oneself.



Stereotyping is not a part of human nature. Children begin to notice skin color at about the age of three, but they don’t develop ideas of race based on what they see until they are taught about group labels based on differences of natural identities (Jablonski, 2012). Stereotypes are subject to change, especially when people stop considering the differences in identities (Jablonski, 2012). Therefore, education can become a powerful weapon in the course of eliminating stereotypes and promote individual identity.


Parents and teachers are the first contacts for children to learn about other people (Jablonski, 2012). Therefore, education should shift to the differences between each individual instead of identifying differences between groups. However, media is the most influential resource in the course of abolishing stereotypes and educating the public about individual identity. Media has been a source of the establishment of stereotypes, for example, that masculinity lays in muscle and testosterone (Eglash, 2002). Movies often portray African American men as gang members, which allows the public to force African American into this image (Denholm & Wright, 2002). Popular TV shows, such as Will & Grace openly discusses homosexuality in a public-accepted comedy, but directly contributes to the form of stereotypes; for example, guy people have feminine taste when selecting styles for interior design (IMDB, 2017). What has been done is impossible to reverse, so the media needs to constantly challenge cognitive dissonance of the public. For example, cross-race marriage does not need a special theme; it is common in any background. Baby-related products should more often associate with fathers. These messages will effectively remind people that social identities are ever changing and cannot relate to natural identities. Stereotypes are no longer a shortcut and individual identity is the only path to know about other people.



In an age that diversity is recognized and promoted, stereotypes are not reducing their impacts but increasingly becoming a social problem, such as hindering performance in a diverse environment, economic loss, and crime. The reason behind this situation is that studies tend to find clear-cut boundaries between natural identities and social identities. The elements of identities are randomly connected, so attempts of connecting and making sense of identities lead to the emergence of stereotypes. Social movements fall into this trap because it tries to label natural identity with social identity. The stereotyped diversity appears in the course of diversity.


It is dangerous when natural identity becomes the determination of one’s social identity. When people give meanings to natural identities, such as skin colors, labels have become weighted with messages of social worth when applied to people over time (Jablonski, 2012). Therefore, understanding people’s individual identity is required because the ultimate diversity is to recognize that each individual is different regardless of natural or social identities. Reallocating funding to support broader interdisciplinary studies and research, recognizing the power dynamics around stereotypes, and educating the public through media sources can promote individual identity as a new norm. This is particularly crucial to Canada in the mosaic social structure, where regional identity, bilingualism, and immigration can result in the stereotyped diversity instead of the true diversity as Canada’s strength (Frideres & Goldenberg, 1977; Trudeau, 2015).




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Scarlett Kelly completed her Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree in May 2018.

She received the Mitacs Globalink Research Award, which supported me to complete a research project in Rennes, France and an internship at The French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (inria: Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique) in the summer 2017. A paper produced during her stays in France, A Communication Model that Bridges Knowledge Delivery between Data Miners and Domain Users, was accepted by the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-51) in January 2018 and was published in the conference proceeding. 

The Irving and Jeanne Glovin Award is “an honour and a recognition of my research,” says Kelly. “The topic of the award gives me new views on human behaviour and social justice. Dr. Mencher’s story on the t-shirt [see prologue] raised a question: people have different reactions to different situations, which one is right and which one is wrong? In real life, the so-called right decision can destroy someone’s life and the wrong decision may be unacceptable but can lead to innovative actions that change the course of history. Now I have developed the habit of asking why and examining a situation from various aspects instead of passively accepting what other people accept. This gives me new views on policy making, ethics, and social problems, and most importantly, human behaviour.”



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Stereotypes in the Age of Diversity: Re-examine the Relations Between Natural Identity and Social Identity by Scarlett Kelly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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