Racial discrimination is an enormous problem that has been occurring for over centuries worldwide, especially in the United States. “Together, Hispanics and Asians make up more than 80% of the U.S. immigrant population” (Hasanali et al.). With more and more racial groups entering the US, the rate of racial discrimination is continuously increasing and we as a society have been continuing to turn a blind eye towards the issue. Though racial discrimination now a days is not considered as big of a deal as it once was, many people do not realize how greatly others are being affected because of it. The main problems racial discrimination is affecting is health and everyday life. Racial discrimination towards minorities is the lead cause for poor physical and mental health conditions because it is worsening student’s mental health, not allowing fair treatment in jobs, and is hindering the ability to access healthcare centers.
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Racial discrimination is defined as “(1) differential treatment on the basis of race that disadvantages a racial group and, (2) treatment on the basis of inadequately justified factors that disadvantage a racial group” (Shavers et al.). According to the Pew Research Center a survey that was conducted from January 22through February 5, 2019 found that 68 percent of blacks stated that being black hurt their ability to get ahead in the country. This included less access to high paying jobs and less access to good schools (Horowitz et al). Racial discrimination often occurs to students attending school and this is a problem because any perceived racial discrimination is associated with several negative mental health outcomes, including higher psychological distress, suicidal ideation, state anxiety, trait anxiety, and depression (Hwang). In data from the 2011–2012 National Survey of Child Health (NSCH) it was found that only one in 50 white youth reported experiencing racial/ethnic discrimination, compared to 17.1% of non- Hispanic blacks and 11.0% of Hispanics (Sykes et al.). In this study it was also found that found that children who attend schools in better neighborhoods are 1.4% less likely to receive less discrimination than children who attend schools in bad neighborhoods.
Racial discrimination can also be seen in the workforce. “Among U.S.-born California full-time workers, the median hourly earnings of white men was $20.83 in 2000, and the median of Hispanic men was $16.96” (Reed and Cheng). Wages are significantly lower for those who are of a different race other than white which proves that minority adults and parents are unable to afford living in nice neighborhoods to prevent themselves and their children from receiving discrimination. Not only will housing be a problem, minority adults will also most definitely not be able to afford healthcare. No healthcare will be the cause of less frequent doctor visits which will then cause more health problems. It is also found that Hispanics have a smaller range of insurance plan options offered to them which will make it even more difficult to take care of their health (Alcalá and Cook). Not being able to afford healthcare is a big enough issue as it is, but now having a smaller amount of physicians available to see will raise the percentage of not visiting doctor’s offices even more. The absence of treatment due to being discriminated against could cause health conditions to worsen and worst case scenario; lead to mortality.
From an adult California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) conducted in 2015-2016 it was found that races other than white received more racial discrimination in healthcare facilities and with this, it is reported that people who have received or experienced racial discrimination have substantially lower chances of going to cancer screenings, pharmacies and other medical and mental healthcare facilities (Alcalá and Cook). In the CHIS it showed that Latinos were discriminated against the most with 44.13% out of 8755 Latinos surveyed saying that they had experienced racial discrimination in healthcare (Alcalá and Cook). As a result, many patients will soon start or have already started avoiding to go to healthcare centers in order to avoid being treated poorly. Fewer doctor visits will lead to poorer health conditions since people are not getting the proper treatment that they need for their illnesses.
Racial discrimination is something that the US has been facing with for centuries and although it may not seem like a big deal, it is actually hurting many people throughout the entire country. Racial discrimination is a daily occurrence that can be seen anywhere and will continue to cause more and more problems to all of the people living in our society. Treating people differently because of their race is unfair and morally incorrect. Our society as a whole should be trying to become better. Discriminating against other races in jobs, in healthcare, and in schools is not helping us grow as a nation, but is hurting us instead. It is pivotal that the United States enforces new laws that will give fair treatment to all races in order to maintain a happy and healthy society overall.
- Alcalá, Héctor E., and Daniel M. Cook. “Racial Discrimination in Health Care and Utilization of Health Care: a Cross-Sectional Study of California Adults.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 33, no. 10, 2018, pp. 1760–1767., doi:10.1007/s11606-018-4614-4.
- Hasanali, Stephanie Howe, et al. “Hispanic-Asian Immigrant Inequality in Perceived Medical Need and Access to Regular Physician Care.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, vol. 18, no. 1, 2014, pp. 219–227., doi:10.1007/s10903-014-0137-1.
- Horowitz, Juliana Menasce, et al. “Views on Race in America 2019.” Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project, 31 Dec. 2019, www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/
- Hwang, Wei-Chin. “The Impact of Perceived Racial Discrimination on the Mental Health of Asian American and Latino College Students.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2008, psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-14898-006.
- Reed, Deborah, and Jennifer Cheng. Racial and Ethnic Wage Gaps in the California Labor Market. Public Policy Institute of California, 2003.
- Shavers, Vickie L., et al. “The State of Research on Racial/Ethnic Discrimination in The Receipt of Health Care.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 102, no. 5, 2012, pp. 953–966., doi:10.2105/ajph.2012.300773.
- Sykes, Bryan L., et al. “Adolescent Racial Discrimination and Parental Perceptions of Safety in American Neighborhoods and Schools.” Sociological Forum, vol. 32, 2017, pp. 952–974., doi:10.1111/socf.12364.
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