There is a faulty school of thought that believes negativity can produce a positive result. In other words, calling someone fat or stupid will motivate them to lose weight or study harder. The problem is that it usually backfires. The person, or should I say more accurately, the victim, usually does the opposite. The overweight person eats more or the bad student becomes even more determined not to apply him or herself academically.
It’s bigger than this though. There are entire groups of people (based on race, economic status, …)that are consistently told they are not good enough or capable of accomplishing more. The bar is lowered because there is a subtle belief that these people can’t reach it if it is raised higher. The tragedy is that when the bar is lowered, along with expectations, the desire to do or be more is, time and again, lowered along with it. The very people who are told that they can’t, don’t.
The fact of the matter is that you can find the facts that support your belief in either direction. You can find facts that support the desire for lowered expectations. Test scores, employment rates, median household incomes can attest to the fact that some people have it harder than others. On the other hand, you can find always find people who have bucked the trend and succeeded against the odds.
If you want better, you have to push for better. Insist on it. Raise the bar and you will be surprised when people begin to strive to reach it. It might not happen right away but it is worth the time and the effort. Insistent on more and eventually, you’ll get it.