From the late 60’s onward it has often been claimed by various groups and researchers that American female and minority schoolchildren suffered from chronic social self esteem deficits, and that this was directly responsible for all manner of academic performance issues, dysfunctional behavior, and potential emotional/psychological issues in adulthood. These claims were seemingly taken as near gospel by many public policy decision makers and academics.
I was in high school in the early to mid 70’s and I always wondered about these claims at the time, as most of the girls I knew were not quite as aggressive as boys, but had no lack of self esteem, and neither did kids I knew who were minorities, especially back girls. In fact as I left college in the very early 80’s IIRC studies were being delivered that showed certain groups of minorities classified as socially dysfunctional (ie young black gang members) had just tons of self esteem.
Over the years women reached parity with men, and have now surpassed them academically with respect to college attendance and graduation rates. Black women in particular have done exceedingly well academically.
So I ask the question, did these claims that lack of “self esteem” was crippling female and minority academic performance ever have any basis is fact, or were these manufactured crises?