The history of racism may be traced in every sector of the United States, including education, business, the media, and everyday life (Cherry). The United States has a long history of racial and economic inequality. Generally speaking, these expressions refer to long-standing and pervasive racism that has been ingrained in the roots of American culture and continues to this day. A series of high-profile police killings, including that of George Floyd in Minnesota, sparked nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which have persisted as activists continue to call for significant change (Cherry). As many social workers are well aware, racial injustice can long-term impact an individual’s mental and physical health. More recently, the NASW has expressed its support for federal legislation that would implement police reform and address systemic racism in the criminal justice system (Cherry). This article examines the multiple ways racial injustice impacts the health, education, livelihoods, and lives of Black people in the United States. There will be a greater understanding of how the structural injustices of American society act against Black people. In addition, it offers a solution to the problem of racial inequity.
Where and why racism occurs
Racism may occur anywhere, at any time. According to studies, the most common places for racism are in one’s neighborhood, in public places like stores, and on the job. It may also happen on the bus, during a sports event, or even at a university. Racism may be seen in the media (Morales, Danielle, et al.). When certain ethnic groups are unfairly or negatively portrayed in the media, this may lead to racial bias. Many people see the absence of cultural variety in the media as just another manifestation of racism in our society. Internet racism is a major issue. Cyber-racism has hugely influenced the rise of racist beliefs, whether it is rude remarks on social media, provocative memes, or awful movies posted online. Racist statements may easily be transmitted anonymously by those who do so.
Racist views may arise for a variety of causes. People are influenced by the opinions of others in their environment. The formative years of one’s life profoundly influence one’s outlook (Morales, Danielle, et al.). It is not uncommon for people to adopt racist views after hearing them expressed by loved ones or friends. Something must be done to prevent it from lingering in a person’s mind for a lifetime. In addition, the company of others who have similar views to one’s own might influence one’s outlook. Spending time with those who share one’s hobbies, culture, and language is natural. It fosters a crucial feeling of community. Unfortunately, this may lead to divisions within groups, leading us to believe that our group is superior to others. Attorney Ben Crump is a racial justice activist who has spent his professional life fighting for the rights of people of color. Racism is a problem that impacts a wide range of concerns in the United States.
Racism is embedded in American culture.
The phrases “institutional racism” and “systemic racism” are often used interchangeably to characterize vast systems of racial oppression that exist in many organizations. Anti-Black racism, despite the appearance of new manifestations of discrimination or racism, remains essentially unaltered (Crump). For the most part, racism is firmly embedded in all facets of our society and directly impacts social, economic, and political disparities. A song by Billie Holiday in 1939 referred to the lynching of African Americans in the South as “weird fruit.” This “weird fruit” was planted long ago, according to systemic racism, and it continues to rot in our day. George Floyd’s death is a terrible illustration of this.
American Society Is Riddled with Discrimination
Some individuals believe that racism is largely a personal issue or that only humans are capable of committing acts of racism (Sánchez, Erica, et al.). For them, racist language like the “n-word” or overt manifestations of white supremacy like Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” protest in 2017 are examples of racism. Racism, on the other hand, is a sneaky thing. Color affects almost every aspect of our lives. Less equity in a home translates to less total wealth for Black and Hispanic families, according to a 2020 Urban Institute analysis. Black and Hispanic homeowners, on the other hand, depend more largely on the equity in their homes to boost their net worth.”
Consider the findings of the 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which found that 40% of the homeless population was made up of people of color. However, just 13% of the US population was people of color. Because racism affects almost every element of American life, systemic racism can be found in everything from gentrification and black women dying in delivery in our hospitals up to the gentrification of our cities. The enormous imprisonment and monitoring of Black and Brown people are clearer than ever (Crump).
Discrimination against members of the Black LGBTQ Community in the United States
Systemic racism affects all Black people, but some oppressed groups, such as the poor and members of the LGBTQ community, are particularly badly hit. With racism, Black LGBTQ persons have to cope with homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and anti-queer discrimination and violence. Members of the LGBTQ community often reinforce white privilege. People of color who identify as homosexual or questioning their sexual orientation experience a variety of discrimination and harassment(Moore, Kristen R, et al.). Black LGBTQ teenagers are an especially susceptible population to discrimination.
According to recent research, in comparison to their white counterparts, LGBT Black and Latinx persons have a higher suicide attempt risk. It is apparent that the racial inequities that marginalize and repress Black communities further exacerbate the melancholy and anxiety of LGBT Black kids (Crump). Nigel and other young people like him deserve support in their fight against institutional racism and homophobia. Discrimination, housing imbalances, and healthcare disparities all play a role in the economic marginalization of Black LGBTQ individuals.
As a group, black transgender persons are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. According to the American Medical Association, violence against transgender individuals of color is rampant. In recent years, there has been an increase in violence against transgender individuals of color, especially transwomen. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 26 transgender or gender nonconforming persons were shot or murdered in 2019; 91% of these killings were Black women. Data on transgender and non-binary persons is incomplete or inaccurate. Therefore this statistic does not adequately represent the real number of people. Transgender people are just as important as other black people.
Unfair Treatment at Work
Racism is not a problem in the workplace. one cannot get away from systemic racism because it permeates every aspect of life, from family to coworkers (Crump). According to several studies, black candidates are less likely to receive an interview for a job in the first place. African-Americans may have to deal with microaggressions, stereotyping, bias, and hostile surroundings if they manage to get a job. It is common for them to be afraid to speak out or submit complaints because they fear backlash. In the workplace, racial power disparities leave Blacks at a severe disadvantage on various fronts (financial, social, and emotional). Compared to their white counterparts, Black workers earned 62% less in 2018.Due to their gendered and racist status, Black women are in a double bind: they lack the greatest power and riches(Moore, Kristen R, et al.). Black individuals put in more effort than white people, yet they get paid less.
Racial Discrimination and the Mental Health of African-Americans
Race relations, discrimination, and prejudice have what effect on Blacks? Racism, both institutional and interpersonal, unjustly burdens them in their daily activities. Because of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, people are continually exposed to stories of Black people being attacked and harmed (Moore, Kristen R, et al.).. Racism’s pervasiveness on mobile devices and television sets may be upsetting and distressing. Race and mental health are inextricably linked, and there is no doubt.”Racism is connected with several psychological effects, including despair, anxiety, and other significant, often crippling problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder and drug use disorders,” according to the American Psychological Association. Anxiety from racism may lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular disease (Crump). More than 20 percent of African Americans suffer from mental health disorders, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. As a result of institutional racism and racial inequities in mental health care, African-Americans face additional emotional and psychological impacts from racism and discrimination and a lack of access to treatment resources, provider prejudice, and misdiagnosis (Moore, Kristen R, et al.). Some mental diseases are overdiagnosed in Black communities, whereas others are underdiagnosed.
Solutions to ending Racial Injustices
Around the globe, people’s lives and well-being are threatened by racial prejudice. Until racial inequities are addressed, poverty will not be eradicated (Sánchez et al.). The first goal suggested in this article is to promote racial justice every day to minimize inequality and guarantee that everyone has the chance to fulfill their full potential. There are several ways to encourage institutional and structural change, such as developing a list and looking at options. Educating oneself comes second on the list. World Trust’s Shakti Butler says that education is a crucial aspect of organizing for social justice and equitable movement-building (Sánchez et al.). Finally, political action is necessary. In order to alter police methods and address racial injustices, citizens must vote in both local and federal elections.
Numerous studies have examined how people of different races see racial relations, their personal experiences with discrimination, and how these issues are perceived differently by different races (Sánchez, Erica, et al.). Instead of focusing on influencing public opinion, however, most studies aim to get a better understanding of the “snapshot” of public opinion , where people stand right now and the factors that impact their views via study.
This high-level approach sheds light on how individuals conceptualize the situation. Rather than structural prejudice or legislation, relationship and personal encounters are seen as the root causes of discrimination. A lack of personal desire or a lack of effort might be blamed for the lack of equality. If we want to generate widespread support for policy change, we need to make the function of systems and structures more evident. Because problem discussions sometimes elicit rivalry between races, as if success is a zero-sum game and what one group gets is taken away from another, it is important to keep this in mind. Instead of eliminating race, we must discover ways to unite people around a single goal and shared destiny.
Cherry, Myisha. “Love, anger, and racial Injustice.” (2019).
Crump, Ben. “Racial Injustice In America | Civil Rights | Ben Crump.” Ben Crump, 2022, https://bencrump.com/blog/racial-injustice-in-america/.
Morales, Danielle et al. “Racial/ethnic disparities in household food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic: a nationally representative study.” Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities 8.5 (2021): 1300-1314.
Moore, Kristen R., et al. “Contested sites of health risks: Using wearable technologies to intervene in racial oppression.” Communication Design Quarterly Review 5.4 (2018): 52-60.
Sánchez, Erica, et al. “7 Ways You Can Take Action For Racial Justice Right Now”. Global Citizen, 2022, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/how-to-support-racial-justice-black-americans/.