Does racism cause health problems for victims?

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In the United States, several studies have attempted to link the experience of racism to health problems. A certain trend is emerging, although some studies suffer from the presence of biases that could distort the results.

An accumulation of micro-attacks

Recently, the US magazine Vox addressed the issue of injustices related to ethnic origin. Let us recall in passing that in the United States, the law allow ethnic statistics. In an episode published on April 3, 2021, journalist Christophe Haubursin asks the following question: does racism make people sick?

Recall that according to the “race”, life expectancy is not the same for people living in the United States. Black people live 75 years on average, white people 79, and Hispanics 82. In addition, it is a question of a substantially identical gap, even with the taking into account of economic inequalities and in connection with education.

Jacquelyn Taylor, director of the Center for Research on People of Color at Columbia University, New York, has spoken on the issue. The applicant described racism as “Micro-attacks accumulated over time” undoubtedly representing “A slow death by a thousand small bills”.

Credit: Amtec Photos / Flickr

Several studies on the impact of racism on health

In a study dating from 2018, Dr Camara Jones of Morehouse School of Medicine took into account the feeling healthy and to receive quality care in individuals. As many as 57% of white people have this feeling compared to 48% of Hispanics. In contrast, the same rate is 56% for Hispanics perceived to be white people. In the case of Native Americans, the rate in question is 36% and 52% for those perceived as white people.

Assistant professor at Tulane University, David Chae is behind a study published in Plos One in 2015. He had tried to measure racism in another way only by considering the opinions of the victims themselves. He compared the death rate of black people in a specific geographic area with searches on Google for “n-word,” a derogatory and xenophobic term. The expert concluded that racism was an aggravating factor in the mortality difference between blacks and whites. However, he admitted that his study contained some bias.

Finally, sociologist David Williams of Harvard University assures us that the link between chronic stress and health problems is no longer to be proven. However, racism would promote the installation and maintenance of this chronic stress. According to the expert, people experiencing racism are more likely to develop diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular problems. In short, they would age faster than the others.

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