Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that…Martin Luther King Jr.
Have you ever been in a situation where a caucasian in your country is being treated with more courtesy than you are?
Have you ever been denied a University admission because you were from a different ethnic background from the admission board?
How did you feel when your country was called a “shithole”?
Prejudice towards one’s race or ethnicity is an issue that has managed to persist on this earth, maybe it’s because it comes from within or people just choose to be. What we fail to understand is that such attitude could affect one’s health adversely.
Over the years researchers have been interested in the health impact of discrimination. Recent studies have shown that the victim’s health could be affected physically as well as mentally.
Although the science is still far from being settled, one’s physical health may be influenced through changes in stress physiology functioning. Stress hormones like cortisol are important in maintaining immune, cardiovascular and reproductive health, therefore changes in this system as a result of any form of discrimination could negatively affect one’s ability to fight diseases or even get pregnant.
Also the coping mechanism utilized by these people could also have some health implications in the long term, for example such people may find solace in using recreational drugs, smoking or drinking alcohol which could reduce their immunity thereby impairing their ability to fight off diseases.
According to a 2016 survey in Canada, immigrant black women have higher odds of hypertension than immigrant white women.
People on the receiving end could also be affected mentally. Such people tend to devalue themselves. Mental conditions like depression, anxiety and heightened psychological stress may be found in these victims.
Although more studies concerning racism and health are yet to be carried out, understanding its association with poor health may be an important first step towards improving recognition of this issue.