A new study by Lisa Williams, a graduate student at Ohio State University shows that bullying affects the academic success of African American and Latino students in a negative way more than it affects white students.
Williams believes the reason for the difference is that Black and Latino students bullying are due to racial stereotypes.
The effects were starkest when looking at academically talented minority students. An African-American student with a 3.5 GPA (out of a potential 4.0) in 9th grade who was bullied lost, on average, 0.3 GPA points by 12th grade. For a white student with a 3.5 GPA, that same number was only 0.03 points, 10 times less severe.
The study can’t distinguish between ongoing bullying and more limited victimization, Williams reported, but she suspects based on workplace bullying research that racial stereotypes are at the root of the high-achieving minorities’ woes. According to stereotype, blacks and Latinos do worse in school, she said, so those students might be picked on for failing to conform.