Psychological stress is an unavoidable part of life. It is often the result of external factors like divorce, job loss, or natural disasters. It is also due to internal factors like relationship problems or financial strain. However, in many cases, the cause of stress is not apparent, and psychologists refer to this as stressors that are “unexplained” or “unavoidable” stress. Examples of such stressors due to internal factors are personal beliefs, values, preferences, and social class.
Race is a social construct that plays a role in how individuals in society are treated and how they respond to these cultural factors. Social constructivism, a branch of social psychology, is the theory that human consciousness and behaviour are influenced by society’s collective views and expectations of an individual or group.
The effects of race are a result of how race is viewed and treated by society, and how these views and expectations influence the behaviour of individuals. These effects manifest themselves in various ways in individuals, and how racism affects the mental health of individuals. The fact is that racism is still alive in many countries and numerous articles, books, and essays have been written on the subject of racism.
The subject of racism has inspired various speeches, and one of the most iconic ones is Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In case you’d like to find out more about it and get informed, reading an essay about the topic is always a good idea. The purpose of the speech was to persuade Americans that all people are created equal.
Chronic racial discrimination has been linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress among people of colour. Race and skin colour discrimination cause a host of problems, such as chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and racial trauma, that can have a negative impact on your daily life. Racism can take many forms. It usually falls into one of two categories:
- Micro-level racism – This type of racism is what you see or experience daily in public or at work or what you witness others experiencing. Minorities may be subject to vaguer forms of harassment, ranging from a direct physical confrontation to verbal abuse. Mistreatment, disrespect and off-handed racist comments fall under this category
- Macro-level racism – Is the type of racism we experience in laws, policies, and regulations. There is a difference between the stories that are told in the media about people of color and the rules that govern institutions like the justice system, health care system, education system, or financial system
Over time, racism and discrimination at both micro and macro levels can lead to negative emotional effects. These include but are not limited to sadness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, lower self-worth, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger, and lethargy. Racial insults and dehumanization can combine to create what experts term racial trauma.
This can affect individuals differently. Some symptoms may resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A distressing event may constantly play over in people’s heads and affect their overall well-being. Racist people are challenging to deal with, and it can be challenging to know how to respond when they say something racist.
However, it is critical to be aware of the long-term effects that racism has on the mental health of its victims. Have a one-on-one chat with your friend if they’ve been subjected to this behaviour to let them know you’re on their side. Racism can cause feelings of humiliation, intimidation, and loneliness, so knowing that your friend has your support can help them feel less alone.
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