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ERIC Number: EJ778685
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct-5
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Stereotype, Then and Now
Nelson, Michael
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n6 pB12 Oct 2007
The Carlisle Indian School, founded by Richard Henry Pratt in 1879 to educate American Indian youth as an assist to having those youth success in mainstream America, is featured in two recently published books, "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation," by Sally Jenkins (Doubleday, 2007), and "Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle," by Lars Anderson (Random House, 2007). One way for Carlisle to make a splash in educational circles, Pratt decided, was to start a football team that could compete with the collegiate powers of the day. To that end, Pratt hired Glenn (Pop) Warner, under whom Carlisle played a good brand of football that became even better when Jim Thorpe, an athlete of astonishing quickness and grace, came along. Carlisle's story, however, is less interesting for its team's success than for how that success was perceived. Modern readers may well be offended by many examples offered by Jenkins and Anderson of writers shoehorning Thorpe and other Indian students into stereotyped categories based on prevailing prejudices of the day. A close comparison is drawn between the Carlisle story and three new books about the 2006 Duke lacrosse case, books which describe just how quickly professors, administrators, journalists, and prosecutors made similarly prejudicial assumptions about members of the Duke lacrosse team on the basis of their having been born as white males in mostly upper-middle-class families. "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered," by Don Yaeger with the former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler (Threshold Editions, 2007); "A Rush to Injustice: How Power, Prejudice, Racism, and Political Correctness Overshadowed Truth and Justice in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," by Nader Baydoun and R. Stephanie Good (Thomas Nelson, 2007); and "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and theShameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," by Stuart Taylor Jr. and K.C. Johnson (St. Martin's Press, 2007), make clear that the proclivity of people who should know better than to stereotype and stigmatize has not changed, even if the targets have. The writer expresses regret that rather than providing a sober, objective account of why people who care about justice can behave so antithetically, that all three books are thoroughly polemical, offering opportunity for their easy dismissal and wonders why scholars who know how harmful prejudice is sometimes succumb to stereotyping of a kind recalling the sportswriters of the Carlisle era.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A