While the days of racism and inequality are mostly behind us, nowhere near enough time has passed for the wound to fully heal. Or even to fully close, as the key word is the previous statement is ‘mostly’. Even today we can easily see how certain groups are still being treated unfairly.
Be it women getting underpaid when compared to men in the same profession, African Americans treated unfairly by the police, or other minorities insulted by a poorly placed racist joke, the reality is plain as day. According to a new study released by the American Psychological Association, discrimination stresses out over half of American adults.
Carried out by the Harris Poll last August, the study was based on a sample of 3,361 American adults. Even though the American Psychological Association (APA) surveys Americans yearly in relation to their stress levels, this particular study decided to focus on discrimination as a cause of stress.
This was decided on because of the recent events between the police and certain minority groups which ended up fueling racial tensions. And according to the study, discrimination has indeed become an increasingly prevalent cause of stress over the past few years.
Even more, the study showed a clear link between stress and discrimination, going across all groups. Additionally, participants from the same environment suffering from discrimination showed far higher levels of stress and even poorer health than those that were not discriminated against.
According to Jaime Diaz-Granados, lead researcher with the study,
What we found was there clearly was a link between discrimination and stress. It went across all groups. We found that those folks who reported discrimination reported a higher level of stress as well as poor health as compared to cohorts in the same group that reported not experiencing discrimination.
As many as 70% of all adults claim to have experienced discrimination, regardless of the type, and a whopping 61% still experience it on a daily basis. It can manifest in many different ways, like threats, lack of respect, poor service, and even unfair treatment by law enforcement.
As expected, the highest levels of discrimination were reported by African Americans. Three quarters of all black people surveyed said they were subjected to daily discrimination, while as many as 40% of all black men claim unfair treatment by the police (pointless searches, threats, and even abuse).
A third of all Hispanic and black adults surveyed claim to be hypervigilant regarding their appearance so as to be treated well, to avoid being harassed, and to get good services. This hypervigilance expectedly increases the levels of stress these groups are facing, also leading to overall poorer health.
While it’s true that discrimination and persecution levels aren’t nearly as high as in older times, modern society is making the current levels still very disruptive for proper day-to-day interactions. Since nobody likes being persecuted against, APA asks citizens that they think twice about how they treat somebody, as the type of society we live in is all up to us.
Image source: The Blue Diamond Gallery