To Your Health
May, 2022 (Vol. 16, Issue 05)
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Racism Is Unhealthy – for Everyone

By Editorial Staff

Racism isn't just damaging to the person experiencing racism; it also hurts the racist. Both sides suffer on multiple levels – including health. In fact, research demonstrates that communities characterized by racial prejudices suffer poorer health outcomes compared to more tolerant communities.

Specifically, rates of heart disease and mental health problems are higher; as is the overall mortality (death) rate.

Published in Health Psychology, the study reviewed 14 previous investigations that evaluated the impact of racism on physical and mental health in the U.S. "All studies found a positive association between area-level racial prejudice and adverse health outcomes among racial/ethnic minoritized groups, with four studies also showing a similar association among Whites." (Two additional studies showed a smaller, albeit still harmful health impact.)

Lead study author Dr. Amani Allen summarized the results succinctly in a Science Daily press release reporting on her team's findings: "As we see from this review, living in an environment with an overall climate that is prejudiced against people of color is not only bad for racially marginalized groups, but for everyone. Area-level racial prejudice is a social determinant of population health."

In an age that increasingly prioritizes equality and health, this research review should be a wake-up call. Racism is bad for your health – whether you're the one delivering it or the one receiving it. Equality matters. Health matters.