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Expectations and Inequality

Expectations and Inequality - group is expected to perform...

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Expectations and Inequality: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Henslin (481:1999) contends that a self-fulfilling prophecy refers to a false assumption of what is going on that happens to come true simply because it was predicted. Example: A rumor spreads that a bank is in trouble and that depositors will not be able to get their money. As a result of the rumor, depositors rush to the bank to get their money. The initial rumor was false, but now it may be true that depositors can't get their money because of the run on the bank. The self-fulfilling prophecy helps maintain and perpetuate inequality on a societal level . If a society holds negative expectations toward a particular group of people (e.g., the
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Unformatted text preview: group is expected to perform in a sub par fashion), that group may internalize these expectations. Literally, they may begin to behave according to the expectations (see Henslin, 1999:323). Negative behavior will, in turn, provide justifications for a dominant group to continue a policy of disrespect. Social structure helps in the formation and maintenance of expectations for both parties. The Zimbardo study and the Rosenhan experiment highlight the "self-fulfilling prophecy." If one expects a certain kind of behavior from an individual, one may unconsciously create the conditions that fulfill expectations. For example, an athlete who thinks he is a loser, seldom wins. However, an athlete who believes that he is a...
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