Ever been passed up for a promotion because your boss didn’t think Asian Americans could be a good leader? Or, been ignored in a restaurant by the servers who didn’t think Asians tipped well? Or, asked to speak English-only on your job even though you’re on a break? Or, feel the pressure to outperform your peers in order to stay even? Or, any number of micro and mega aggressions that occur almost daily?
A new study by the American Psychological Association confirms what people of color have known for some time: discrimination is damn stressful.
Stress in America: The Impact of Discrimination analyzed data from an August 2015 Harris Poll of 3,361 American adults; 2,290 of them were people of color.
The study found that 69 percent of respondents have experienced discrimination at some point, with 61 percent saying they deal with it daily. Nearly half (47 percent) report what the study defines as major discrimination, which includes unfair treatment from police; neighbors making their life difficult; teachers who discourage their development; and health care disparities.
The researchers connect experiencing discrimination—and even the heightened vigilance that comes with the anticipation of being mistreated—with increased stress. Across the board, those who reported being discriminated against also had elevated stress levels, which is associated with poorer overall health.
In worst case situations, where people suffer a constant drip, drip, drip of bias in their daily lives, people can develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder) much like military veterans who experience the stress in combat.
“It’s clear that discrimination is widespread and impacts many people,” Jaime Diaz-Granados, the APA’s executive director for education said in a press release. “When people frequently experience unfair treatment, it can contribute to increased stress and poorer health.”
Some of key findings include:
- 39 percent of African American men report being unfairly stopped, searched, questioned, threatened or assaulted by police
- 35 percent of Asian American men say they have been unfairly denied a promotion
- 81 percent of Native Americans, 76 percent of African American, 74 percent of Asians and 72 percent of Latino Americans report every day discrimination
- Among those who have experienced discrimination, just 28 percent of African Americans report being in excellent/very good health; that percentage is 29 percent for Latino Americans, and 32 for Euro Americans
- Overall, women report higher stress levels than men
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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