The authors make 3 claims: (1) Stigmatization impedes the establishment of trust, (2) Mistrust elicited by stigmatization can cause motivation and performance to suffer, and (3) Allaying the threat of stigmatization will help to create trust and improve motivation. They describe the application of this theory to the issue of providing critical but constructive feedback across lines of difference. This same framework is used to understand how a "stigma of racism" may hamper the performance of teachers who work in demographically diverse classrooms. Intervention strategies are reviewed that may boost the achievement of minority students by allaying the threat of stigmatization and thus creating a basis of trust.