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Posted Jun 5, 2013 12:08 UTC (Wed) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
I don't have a good answer to your question. I *think* if youngsters have role models of the same ethnicity/gender/etc., they can more easily relate to those and detect which possibilities are within their reach. And I would especulate that it occurs possibly by means of some psychoevolutionary construct. But IANAPsychologist, TINPA.
Posted Jun 5, 2013 12:48 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
My naive assumption, which almost certainly reflects a bunch of exciting cognitive biases of which I am inadequately conscious, would be that the more of one's obvious, large-group labels someone shares with you, the easier it is to take them as your role model.
Perhaps more importantly, the existence of people in the same large categories as oneself who do the thing one wants to do provides useful counterexamples when confronted with some reactionary idiot saying "but you can't do (X), you're a (Y)" (or its more insidious cousin, "are you sure you want to do (X)? That's not a very (Y-like) thing, wouldn't you rather do (Z)?").
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