Institutional discrimination is when policies are implemented that go against ethnic minorities. Hence, these people have a low standard of living and lead unhealthy lives. However the health effects of discrimination may vary from person to person. A person's age, sex and social position may influence how discrimination will affect them.Studies prove that reporting and challenging racism results in lower blood pressure when compared to bearing it. There is no concrete evidence that establish the fact that racism may have serious health effects. This article will investigate the relationship between health and racism.
The sample of the study included 5196 people of Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese origin and 2867 whites who were selected using stratified random sampling. These people were interviewed in full detail. They were given a questionnaire which had questions regarding their health and any interpersonal discrimination experiences that they had. The questions included if they thought that they would be denied a job by a British employer because of their ethnic background. Their own health was self assessed by them.
12 percent of the participants reported verbal abuse in the past year. 64 percent thought that a British employer would refuse a job because of their ethnic background while 37 percent thought that a British employer would do so at least half the time. Participants who reported verbal abuse were 50 percent more likely to report their health as fair or poor as compared to those who were not abused. While respondents who thought that a British employer would refuse a job because of his ethnic background were 40 percent more likely to report fair or poor health. Females were 60 percent more likely to report bad health compared to males.
The findings suggest that experience and perception of interpersonal racism has negative heath effects on people. Racism results in a sense of threat which causes fear and stress. These reactions produce cardiovascular, endocrine, neurological and immunological responses which finally affects health. The sample size was small so the relationship between heath and racism could not be investigated in full detail and secondly, the self assessment of heath could also be inaccurate. Nevertheless, when the same case study was repeated with different samples, similar results were produced. So it can be concluded that if not to a great extent, racism and discrimination does affect health to some extent.
This relationship has been ignored for way too long now. Even if there is no relationship between discrimination and health, actions must be taken against racism.
Saffron Karlsen, and James Y. Nazroo. "Relation Between Racial Discrimination, Social Class, and Health Among Ethnic Minority Groups". American Journal of Public Health. 15 April 2008