For young African-Americans, emotional support buffers biological toll of racial discrimination. The study also found that emotional support from parents and peers can protect African American youth from stress-related damage to their bodies and health.
Although they may appear like insignificant slights, or banal and trivial in nature, studies reveal that racial microaggressions have powerful detrimental consequences for students of color. They have been found to: (a) assail the mental health of recipients, (b) create a hostile and invalidating campus climate, (c) perpetuate stereotype threat, (d) create physical health problems, (e) saturate the broader academic environment with cues that signal devaluation of social group identities, (f) lower academic productivity and problem solving abilities, and (g) are partially responsible for creating inequities in education.
Racism Linked to Depression and Anxiety in Youth
African American, Latino/a, East Asian and South Asian youth experience poor mental health and depression following experiences of racism.
An international review led by the University of Melbourne has found children and young people experience poor mental health, depression and anxiety following experiences of racism. The first of its kind, the review showed 461 cases of links between racism and child and youth health outcomes.
The study, Mental Health Problems More Common In Kids Who Feel Racial Discrimination, suggests that perceived racial/ethnic discrimination is not an uncommon experience among fifth-grade students and may be associated with poor mental health outcomes. The prolonged stress and depression brought on by racial microaggressions may manifest itself in many ways, such as academic withdrawal, a fear of acceptance, reduced sense of belonging, or negative cognition.
Daily racial microaggressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to People of Color” (Sue et al., 2009). Frequent racial microaggressions can create physiological and psychological dysfunction. This article, Discrimination Is Associated With Depression Among Minority Children, provides strong evidence that Racial Microaggressions (discrimination) occur daily in the lives of Children of Color and may erode their mental psyche over time.
The news director's remark is a Microinsult. Microinsults are actions (verbal, nonverbal, or environmental) that convey insensitivity, rudeness, or demeans a person's racial identity or heritage. These microaggressions hurt and oppress People of Color because they suggest that the physical appearance, values and communication styles of People of Color are abnormal.
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