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What is the Effect of Evolved Stereotypes on the Well-being of Black Women in the United States? Teli Hall HOD 2500: Systematic InquiryDr. Van Schaack December 6, 2017AbstractThe present literature explores the cultivation of racialized and gendered stereotypes, and how they affect Black women, more specifically their physical and mental health. Although these stereotypes have been altered over time due to forces such as cultural changes and media, certain elements of these stereotypes remain the same and have sadly endured for centuries. To put it boldly, most stereotypes stem from the ancient characterization of black women as angry, evil, or as unhuman, sexual savages. These characteristics fall under the blanket terms, jezebel and sapphire. The jezebel is depicted as an impudent, shameless, and overly-sexualized woman. (UW Tacoma Digital Commons). The sapphire archetype depicts Black women as bossy, argumentative, stubborn, and controlling (Jerald, Cole, Ward, & Avery, 2017). Although all of these seem to be harsh labels to place, they are usually cushioned by layers of microaggressions that can either directly or indirectly show up to affect Black women. Because of the negative impact that these stereotypes and others have on African American women, continuation could affect future generations. The most devastating part of the relationship between these stereotypes and well-being, is that some Black women begin to feed into these destructive labels as it fractures their self-esteem. It can also affect the relationships, sexuality, employment opportunities, and education of these women, from their microsystems to their macrosystems, pooling into every crevice of their daily lives. What is the Effect of Evolved Stereotypes on the Well-being of Black Women in the United States? The stereotypes that have been formed about Black women, have proven to be especially detrimental. While African American women are commonly thought of as seductive, worldly, beguiling, and lewd, white women are historically characterized as models of grace, kindness, and purity (The Jezebel Stereotype). Although some women are consistent with the jezebel stereotype, using the term to blanket African American females is contradicted by several historical facts. Although Black women, especially those with tan skin and “European features,” were frequently forced into prostitution with white men, slaves seldom willingly engaged in prostitution and venereal disease were uncommon within their communities (The Jezebel Stereotype). Slavers often encouraged, even mandated, sexual promiscuity; nevertheless, many slaves belonged to monogamous relationships (The Jezebel Stereotype). The awareness of these stereotypes by Black women in the United States can either cause an adverse, neutral, or positive effect. Some women falter to their low self-esteems and anger, and make decisions to be sexually promiscuous and binge on drugs and alcohol, while some are infuriated by the prejudice against them and work tirelessly to repeal it. Racial discrimination has been highlighted as a contributing factor to health disparities that Black women face. In regards to health, black women in the United States are more prone to experience more chronic physical and mental health conditions than those of other racial identities (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Although several factors cause these health disparities, racism and sexism plays a significant role, and these phenomena are further spread by overarching stereotypes. The detrimental effects of stereotypes on black women gaining attention as the women experience higher levels of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Also apparent in Black women is decreased cancer survival rates, a low life expectancy, and higher diabetes mortality (Jerald et. Al). To illustrate the negative mental health consequences of the matter, studies report higher rates of generalized anxiety disorder, somatization, and panic disorder (Brown and Keith, 2003). While this phenomenon has several intertwined causes, stereotypes inarguably play a negative role in black women’s life, by affecting aspects of their well-being such as self-esteem, frequency of drug and alcohol use, and coping mechanisms. There is quality research exploring the issue, and while there is an apparent direct relationship, further research needs to be performed to accompany the current study because qualitative research contains more abstract concepts than that of quantitative research. Key Qualitative ElementsThe central phenomenon is that blanket stereotypes affect the well-being of those being described, in this case, Black women. This observation has been in existence since blacks and whites have come into contact. Racial discrimination has been highlighted as a contributing factor to health disparities of Black women. This inherent stereotyping allows for the degradation and exploitation Black women, while encouraging young girls to feed into stereotypes because it assigns them with a false identity. Consequently, some girls ignore safety precautions while engaging in sexual behaviors. This is backed by the growing rate of African American girls who have contracted HIV (Ashley). Moving forward, because Black women have been deemed as emasculating and overbearing, the romantic relationships of these women, as well as their workplace environments (Ashley). Several argue that by Black women expressing their outcry towards these destructive stereotypes, that they share responsibility in affirming the angry black woman stereotype. It seems that stereotypes tend to affect almost every aspect of black woman’s daily interaction with her environment because it places a false and constricting identity upon them. Black women make up around 13 percent of the female population and are historically one of the most ostracized groups in the United States (UW Tacoma Digital Commons). This intersectional identity places them in a unique position as the victims of stereotyping in mainstream American culture. Again, these stereotypes include the myth of the angry Black woman, characterizing them as aggressive, hostile, and ignorant. Because African American women are underrepresented on several different platforms, it is important to examine how widely held beliefs about race and gender affect them, and what implications will follow. Many Black women are overcoming various obstacles to make strides in healthcare, science, art, and politics. The same fiery and aggressive labels that are placed on black women are often times, honed by black women as they work tirelessly and passionately to achieve their goals and dispel the myth that all black women are ignorant and incapable. These myths significantly affect Black women interpersonally, and have the possibility of influencing the efficacy of mental health treatment. Because of the brutal and challenging, yet rich history of the United States of America, specific issues of race and gender affect the members of its melting pot. Although the United States is arguably the most prominent state in the world, the social issues that affect different minorities serve as huge barrier to the potential for justice and inclusion. Literature Jerald, Avery, Cole, and Ward (2017) performed an experiment to explore how awareness of these intersectional, racial and gendered stereotypes affect the well-being of young black women. For their method, 609 black women were recruited from two intentionally different public institutions (Jerald et. Al, 2017). One was a large, mostly white university in the Midwest and the other was from a historically black, southeastern university (Jerald et. Al , 2017). The participants identified themselves as African American women, and the mean age of the undergraduate and graduate women was 22 (Jerald et. Al,2017). All women were compensated with a visa gift card, for participating in an anonymous, hour-long, survey (Jerald et. Al, 2017). The majority of the women, 81.3%, identified as African American, while biracial, African, West Indian/Caribbean, and Afro-Latina groups comprised the rest of the sample (Jerald et. Al 2017).Because several centralized stereotypes exist for black women, numerous different scales were used to obtain precise information about the women’s awareness and endorsement of the stereotypes. Awareness and agreement with the jezebel, sapphire, and strong Black women archetypes were measured, along with the participants’ mental health symptoms, drug and alcohol use, self-care behaviors, and racial identity (Jerald et. Al 2017). In order to determine the participant’s awareness of the Jezebel and Sapphire stereotypes, they employed the reliable Modern Jezebel Scale (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Two 12-item subscales for the jezebel and sapphire were created (Jerald et. Al, 2017). They also employed a modified version of the Strong Black Woman Scale-Endorsement (Jerald et. Al, 2017). For mental health symptoms, 3 subscales were employed to measure hostility, depression, and anxiety; for drug and alcohol use and self-care behaviors, the 5 point scale was employed with the numbers indicating the extent to which they agreed with each statement with 1 being not at all and 5 being almost always (Jerald et. Al, 2017). For racial identity, mean scores were computed for each of the subscales/constructs, with higher scores indicating higher metastereotype awareness (Jerald et. Al, 2017). The Racial Centrality subscale of the Multi-dimensional Inventory of Black Identity–Short was used to access the extent to which a person thinks of their race as a central aspect of their self-concept, and participants demonstrated their level of agreement with four items on a 7-point scale (Jerald et. Al, 2017). As hypothesized, metastereotype awareness was associated with poor self-care and increased substance use, although it did not directly predict these outcomes (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Furthermore, self-care behaviors and substance use were predicted through mental health, which is consistent with the current study (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Because of the stress from negotiating the stereotypes placed on Black women, they may use imperative cognitive resources or use substances to cope. Thus, the first hypothesis that metastereotype awareness would have direct associations with the outcomes was not supported, and the second hypothesis that it would have indirect associations through mental health was fully supported by the study. They found that stereotype endorsement was consistent with low self-esteem (Jerald et. Al, 2017). In addition, the Sapphire subscale predicted lower self-esteem, even in cases where racial identity was accounted for, which have way to its predictive validity and good internal consistency (Jerald et. Al, 2017). These results suggest that simply the awareness of a stereotype can have a negative impact on health. The researchers expected racial centrality to buffer to effect of metastereotype awareness on well-being for the women with racial identities that were central to their self-concept (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Interestingly enough, the researchers found the opposite; centralized racial identities exacerbated the negative relationship between metastereotype awareness and self-care, which aligns with prior findings (e.g., Sellers et al., 2003; Shelton & Sellers, 2000) (Jerald et. Al, 2017). The researchers placed importance on the idea that women high in racial centrality most likely experience more discrimination, and endure more negative well-being outcomes than the other women. Possibly there is a correlation between racial centrality and mental health. More research experiments should be performed to empirically test if racial identity functions in the context of stereotyping compared with black women’s experiences of perceived discrimination. The most positive well-being outcomes, measured by the highest levels of care were observed for Black women who highly identified with their racial group and who believed that others do not hold negative stereotypes of Black women (Jerald et. Al, 2017). Following the first major study, Rosenthal and Lobel (2016) have provided a similar study that explores the importance of examining the stereotypes associated with Black women. A total of 435 undergraduates from Northeastern university were randomly placed into groups of four different conditions, in which a photograph and a description of a target young woman were given (Rosenthal & Lobel 2016). The race, black or white, and the pregnancy status, pregnant and non-pregnant were manipulated (Rosenthal & Lobel 2016). The purpose of the experiment was to examine whether race and pregnancy status would affect the participants’ perceptions of the female target based on the stereotypes commonly held about black women (Rosenthal & Lobel,2016). In all of the conditions, participants viewed an image of a target woman named Jasmine and read a brief description of her (Rosenthal and Lobel, 2016). The race of the target woman was manipulated by displaying an image, created using FaceGen, at the top of each survey page in which the target was Black or White (Rosenthal & Lobel,2016). The participants were asked to assess several categories such as marital/relationship status, sexual activity, protection/risk during sex, motherhood status, socioeconomic status, other health behaviors, compliance with health care, single motherhood, needing public assistance for one’s child, and health behaviors during pregnancy (Rosenthal & Lobel,2016). After completing these items, participants gave their age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (Rosenthal & Lobel, 2016).Rosenthal and Lobel (2016) found that the results were fairly consistent with many of their hypotheses. The black Jasmine, pregnant or not, was perceived as more promiscuous, less likely to use birth control, more likely to have more children, and more likely to have a low income and less education than the white Jasmine targets (Rosenthal & Lobel, 2016). These results demonstrate that there are negative stereotypes of black women which relate to sexuality, motherhood, socioeconomic statues which are consistent with the jezebel archetype that is of detriment to black women. Interestingly, the black target was not perceived as worse than the white target in terms of marital/relationship status, self-care, and drug and alcohol use (Rosenthal & Lobel 2016). The black pregnant target was considered less likely to have the father of the child play a role in raising the child than the white pregnant target (Rosenthal & Lobel 2016). The results of this experience help to propel prior research and help to build upon the intersectionality theory, and help to provide evidence that people hold unique and negative stereotypes of black women in relation to white women, even when the subject have the same face, but different skin color. The findings suggest that society’s stereotypical image of black women is rooted in the historic systematic oppression of black women in the United States.Rosenthal and Lobel (2016) acknowledge the dire need for work towards the elimination of stereotypical media images to be replaced by diverse, positive, and dynamic images that reflect the reality of Black women’s lives; they also call for increased awareness of the effect that stereotypes have on the mental health of black women. Moving forward, the following minor study asserts that because their intersectionality as women of color, African American women must bear with American and cultural norms of femininity, which can have a detrimental effect. There were 409 participants who assessed media consumption and involvement, endorsement of traditional gender ideologies, and stereotypes about Black women (Jerald, Ward, Thomas, Moss, & Fletcher, 2017). According to Jerald et. Al (2017) ,the media is instrumental in transmitting messages about traditional femininity and Black feminine ideals to Black youth. Data was collected from 2005 to 2010, and the media use, gender ideology, and demographic variables of the participants were collected (Jerald et. Al, 2013). The researchers concluded that excessive consumption of media content leads to Black women obtaining beliefs and attitudes that align with the media’s harmful stereotypical representations. Music video consumption, magazine consumption, and perceived realism were the most correlated to the obtaining of these beliefs (Jerald et. Al, 2013). Interestingly, students with a strong sense of ethnic belonging were buffered from many of the negative influences of media use on these gender beliefs (Jerald et. Al, 2013). This is consistent with the major study that asserts In this study, the strategies that Black women use to cope with gendered and racial microaggressions and stereotypes were explored. A group of 17 Black women participated in one of two structured focus group interviews (Lewis et. Al, 2013). The study design allowed for participants to share their experiences and, in turn, receive validation from their peers that their experiences represent even the subtlest forms of racism and sexism (Lewis et. Al, 2013). The focus groups allowed for an opportunity to group individuals in a socially oriented research design that is conducive to retrieving information about a complicated interpersonal phenomenon. The researchers found the following five coping strategies: two resistance coping strategies, one collective coping strategy, and two self- protective coping strategies ( Lewis et. Al, 2013). In addition, they uncovered a secondary process of “Picking and Choosing One’s Battles”, which depicts the process of making decisions about how to address gendered racial micro- aggressions (Lewis et. Al, 2013). ConclusionAll in all, it is apparent that harmful stereotypes of black women, such as, bossy, ignorant, lusty, and untrustworthy. Are detrimental to the health of young Black women in the United States of America. Intersectionality is an imperative phenomenon to understanding the plight of black women. Although not every study presented in this review demonstrate a causal, direct relationship, the assertions and hypotheses made are crucial for further developments. Several more experiments need to be done in order to rid society of this issue. Black women deserve to lead lives free of stereotypes.