Does Racial Discrimination Affect Us Psychologically  Term Paper

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Racism

Does racial discrimination affect us psychologically?

Studies concerning the effects of racial discrimination have become prevalent over the years, with researchers seeking whether there really is a significant relationship between racial discrimination and psychological effects on the individual. This research looks into existing literature about the topic, and posits that indeed, racial discrimination, particularly among African-Americans in the United States, experience not only psychological, but also physical distress due to racial discrimination in the society.

Social and psychological researches on this topic showed that an individual's perceived discrimination by others in terms of race differences results to psychological distress. According to Robert Sellers and Nicole Shelton (2003) in their study, The Role of Racial Identity in Perceived Racial Discrimination, there is a "complex role racial identity plays in the lives of African-Americans." Perhaps the most significant result of the authors' study is the tendency for African-Americans to perceive themselves as discriminated even before the act or behavior illustrating discrimination happens. Development of perceived discrimination, in turn, results to distress and psychological complication, such as the development of low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence.

Indeed, psychological effects of racial discrimination are manifested heavily among African-Americans. Low self-esteem developed after being 'enculturated' in a society where discrimination is prevalent, and many African-Americans and other ethnic minorities manifest this adverse psychological effect in the most immediate social group an individual involves with, the educational institution. In schools, an individual's self-esteem is either increased or decreased; depending on the social environment s/he is cultivated. If the school environment encourages a positive attitude towards race differences, then an individual would have a better assessment of himself/herself. Otherwise, a discriminated individual would develop low self-esteem, thereby resulting to low expectations and performance on educational achievement (Pilkington, 1999).

More than self-esteem, a racially-discriminated individual can also develop worse psychological problems, such as "race-related stress," which results to an individual's lack of coping…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Brown, T. (2001, July). Measuring Self-Perceived Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Social Surveys. Sociological Spectrum [Online Serial]. Available: EBSCO Item No. 4974783.

Pilkington, A. (1999, September). Racism in schools and ethnic differentials in educational achievement: A brief comment on recent debate. British Journal of Sociology of Education [Online Serial]. Available: EBSCO Item No. 2976973.

Sellers, R. And N. Shelton. (2003, May). The role of racial identity in perceived racial discrimination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [Online Serial]. Available: EBSCO Item No. 9837175.

Utsey, S. And J. Ponterotto. (2000). Racial discrimination, coping, life satisfaction, and self-esteem among African-Americans. Journal of Counseling and Development [Online Serial]. Available: EBSCO Item No. 2701511.

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