How prejudice and discrimination manifests

Understanding a form of prejudice and discrimination in a black community

Explain how prejudice and discrimination manifests in this community

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Research on health and race often invoke discrimination, prejudice, and racism as probable causes for increased levels of mortality and morbidity in the black community. Discrimination and prejudice can impact people’s social resources, opportunities, motivation, self-worth, and involvement with the wider society. Besides, the different views on inequality and equality serve as drivers for further prejudice. Therefore, the establishment, promotion, and sustenance of human rights and equality are dependent on understanding how individuals comprehend and apply these ideas in their daily lives (Abrams, 2010).

Early sociological accounts regarding black’s higher offending rates focused not on the physical constraints created by racial prejudice but instead on the supposed unique facets of their culture that disrupts conventional behavior while encouraging violence and crime. A few recent structural perceptions openly incorporate racial, physical constraints, including institutional prejudice, yet the core mechanism clarifying acts of offense among blacks in these explanations remains dysfunctional or deviant adaptations of their culture (Burt, Simons & Gibbons, 2012).

In general, blacks report widespread encounters of racial prejudice across several circumstances. Concerning institutional discrimination, 50% or more of African Americans mention that they have experienced discrimination just because of their skin complexion when dealing with the police (50 percent) when making job applications (56 percent), and when being paid or being considered for a job promotion (57 percent) (NPR, RWJF & HTCSPH, 2017). Also, 60 percent of blacks mention that they or one of their family members has been treated or stopped unfairly by the police, and 45 percent mention that the court system has unfairly treated them because they are African Americans. Blacks residing in suburban regions are more likely to report unfair stopping or treatment by the police than those living in urban areas (NPR, RWJF & HTCSPH, 2017).

Blacks residing in predominantly black neighborhoods are more likely to encounter discrimination than those living in non-majority black neighborhoods. Generally, 92 percent of blacks believe that discrimination against blacks exists in the United States (NPR, RWJF & HTCSPH, 2017). About 50 percent of these mention that discrimination based on prejudgment of individuals is the main problem, compared to 25 percent who mention that the main issue is simply discrimination based on governmental policies and laws. Another 25 percent mention that both are similarly problematic NPR, RWJF & HTCSPH, 2017).

Discrimination and prejudice against African Americans living in America are considered to be products of slavery. These beliefs sprouted from white racists’ negative attitudes and were exerted via discrimination and tyrannical actions that portrayed how slaves should behave and think (Taylor, Guy-Walls, Wilkerson, & Addae, 2019). Many white slave owners came up with beliefs to explain their political, economic, and social dominations. Owning black slaves was a symbol of higher class amidst the white racists who felt the need to apply violence to suppress slave resistance via abusive treatment. These dehumanized slaves downgraded their roles and even restricted their activities and movement to those seen as valuable to their masters. Social control constraints determined both familial and individual relationships as well as behavioral activity portrayed by slaves. For instance, slaves were expected to denounce their cultural beliefs and instead conform to their master’s expectations (Taylor, Guy-Walls, Wilkerson, & Addae, 2019).

The science behind prejudice and discrimination and its psychological impacts

Several surveys have asked blacks and other racial minorities regarding their encounters with discrimination at their workplace and other day-to-day social settings. One surprising conclusion from this study is the incidence with which racial discrimination is mentioned. Racial discrimination, together with its psychological correlations, has gained great attention over the last twenty years. Backed by theoretical models of racism-linked stress, findings generally reveal that perceptions of racial discrimination are inversely related to an individual’s psychological well-being yet positively linked with psychological psychological distress (Pieterse, Todd, Neville, & Carter, 2011).

As per the general strain theory, racism causes distress, which increases the chances of committing a crime. Two different studies indicate that emotional distress partly explains the impacts of racism on violence and conduct issues. Even though the general strain theory stresses the role of anger as a mediator, it also suggests that other adverse emotions also play a mediation role. In this particular study, we evaluate depression’s mediating role, resulting in crime in different ways (Burt, Simons & Gibbons, 2012).

According to a recent review, discrimination is positively linked with the measures of anxiety and depression symptoms, psychological distress, and psychiatric disorders (Lewis, Cogburn, and Williams 2015). As per thorough qualitative interviews, studies conclude that racism cases are of great importance to mental health since exclusion encounters arouse feelings of ‘self-defilement’ (Fleming, Lamont & Welburn, 2012). Other included feelings are being ignored, over-scrutinized, misunderstood, disrespected, and underappreciated. More importantly, racism encounters breach cultural beliefs like fairness, dignity, and mortality. According to Pearlin and colleagues (2005), stressors related to race might be pathogenic, given that they can be viewed as a direct attack on the identity of an individual.

Several recent research has revealed that continuous exposure to racial discrimination has widespread negative impacts on blacks’ general health, including increased stress. Stress is displayed in different ways, and its consequences on the well-being of African American people are potentially permanent. African American men normally experience higher anxiety, guilt, hostility, and depression than African American women. This could be linked to the belief that African American women have a higher potential for challenging discrimination and bias than their male counterparts (College Board Advocacy and Policy Center, 2010, p. 19). Despite the higher potential for challenging discrimination and bias, black women also face another type of discrimination called sexism. As a result of their exposure to this double threat, stress for sure plays a significant role in black females’ lives (Lawson, 2016).

Latest studies show that systemic racial discrimination destroys black mental well-being. For instance, Schulz et al. (2006, p. 1267) discovered that perceived racism leads to poorer health outcomes over time. In 2001, the United States’ Health and Human Services Department reported that 17 percent of blacks suffer from mental depressive conditions, and 21 percent suffer from mental anxiety disorders. Even though it is apparent that issues of mental health do reside among black communities and that the resources needed in their management is not always there, additional studies need to be done to establish if discrimination and racism are mainly to blame for these matters (Peters, 2006, p. 235).

Type of training, resources, and protocols can be used to help the community

Studies reveal that even though exposure to racism raises the likelihood of anxiety and depression, there is some variability within blacks about how they function as a response to discrimination. Little research has evaluated how racism might affect patterns of coping, and results have not been consistent. Some studies, for instance, imply that racism envisages more evasion strategies than support-seeking and problem-solving. Besides, black grownups cope with racism differently than they cope with other general stressors. Particularly, when compared to general stress, stress linked to exposure to racism envisages less emotion-focused and problem-focused coping behaviors (Abrams, 2010). These outcomes imply that racism might limit the options of coping available for racism encounters. Another outlook is that racism stress might require blacks to draw on various coping strategies, including coping strategies that are culturally relevant (Gaylord-Harden, 2009).

Learning about black culture takes place naturally at home via unspoken socialization. Nevertheless, amid most African American parents and guardians, cultural socialization is a conscious activity that includes particular ethnic teachings. By making the black culture noticeable and offering information regarding cultural practices and the different achievements of black people, parents cultivate knowledge and pride in the cultural values and traditions of blacks. Such practices undermine racial identities among black adolescents, which are linked to positive psychological and mental health. Also, cultural socialization is directly related to blacks’ more positive views, higher self-worth, and higher academic success. Also, studies reveal that cultural socialization is inversely linked to various externalizing conducts (for example, reduced fighting and better management of anger, particularly boys) as well as internalizing issues (like reduced psychological distress, anxiety, and depression) (Burt, Simons, & Gibbons, 2012).

Present findings greatly back the need for evaluating these racial discrimination coping phenomenon from a bio-psychosocial point of view. This would provide health practitioners with the information needed to treat those affected with cultural stress from an all-inclusive outlook and could be incorporated as part of both physical and mental health care (Griffin & Armstead, 2020).

Different coping strategies are utilized in different situations. In other words, African Americans cope with different racist situations in different ways. The ever-present need for African Americans to have an appropriate way to deal with racist incidents makes racism a chronic stressor. Many studies have been carried out to assess the coping strategies African Americans utilize generally. The most common strategies include: relying on religious rituals, relying on community support, relying on family, belief in achievement and responsibility, belief in hard work, and developing a strong defense shield. Studies have also found that African Americans sometimes do not utilize coping strategies when exposed to racist situations because of the community’s limited coping strategies. This is because there are different forms of racism, and racism itself is intangible and insidious, making it difficult to utilize active coping measures such as problem-solving (Lawson, 2016).

Education Attainment and Coping Strategies

Education is perceived as the path to success. This is because it promises better jobs, better pay, better housing, and increase comfort. Education also affects mental health. A recent study found that the more educated individuals are, the higher their well-being levels. In a graded linear relationship, the study revealed that every group of individuals in an education level had better mental well-being than the one below them. As per this study, when education is taken into account, racial differences in mental health and well-being are reduced by 20% (Williams, 1997, p. 344). Additionally, this study also reported reduced distress with an increase in pay/income. However, this study also reported increased distress within high-population households (Williams, 1997, p. 345).


Abrams, D. (2010). Process of Prejudice: Theory, evidence, and intervention. Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report.

Burt, C. H., Simons, R., & Gibbons, F. (2012). Racial Discrimination, Ethnic-Racial Socialization, and Crime: A Micro-sociological Model of Risk and Resilience. Am Sociol Rev., 648–677.

College Board Advocacy and Policy Center. (2010). The Education Crisis Facing Young Men of Color (Vol. 1, pp. 1-42, Rep.). College Board

Fleming C, Lamont M, and Welburn J. (2012). “African Americans Respond to Stigmatization: The Meanings and Salience of Confronting, Deflecting Conflict, Educating the Ignorant and ‘Managing the Self.'” Ethnic and Racial Studies 35(3):400–17.

Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2009). The Impact of Racial Discrimination and Coping Strategies on Internalizing Symptoms in African American Youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 532-43.

Griffin, E., & Armstead, C. (2020). Black’s Coping Responses to Racial Stress. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 609–618.

Lawson, C. (2016). Racism and Coping Mechanisms within the African American Community. UFDC.

NPR, R. H. (2017). Discrimination in America: Experiencing and views of African Americans.

Pearlin L, Schieman S, Fazio E, and Meersman S., (2005). “Stress, Health, and the Life Course: Some Conceptual Perspectives.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 46(June):205–19.

Peters, R. M. (2006). The Relationship of Racism, Chronic Stress Emotions, and Blood Pressure. Journal of Nursing Scholarship J Nursing Scholarship, 38(3), 234-240. Retrieved January 12, 2016

Pieterse, A., Todd, N., Neville, H., & Carter, R. (2011). Perceived Racism and Mental Health Among Black American Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Schulz, A. J., Gravlee, C. C., Williams, D. R., Israel, B. A., Mentz, G., & Rowe, Z. (2006). Discrimination, Symptoms of Depression, and Self-Rated Health Among African American Women in Detroit: Results From a Longitudinal Analysis. Am J Public Health American Journal of Public Health, 96(7), 1265-1270

Taylor, E., Guy-Walls, P., Wilkerson, P., & Addae, R. (2019). The Historical Perspectives of Stereotypes on African-American Males. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.

Williams, D. R., Yu, Y., Jackson, J. S., & Anderson, N. B. (1997). Racial Differences in Physical and Mental Health: Socio-economic Status, Stress, and Discrimination. Journal of Health Psychology, 2(3), 335-351. Retrieved January 7, 2016.



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