Racism, more than race, may be cutting black men down before their time.
In the L.A. Times article, Racism's Toll May Be Physical, researchers are studying the link between ill health and premature death to continuous assaults of racial discrimination, whether its real or perceived.
Vickie Mays, psychologist and director of the UCLA Center on Research says, "We have always thought of race-based discrimination as producing a kind of attitude, now we think we have sufficient information to say that it's more than just affecting your attitude. A person experiences it, has a response, and the response brings about a physiological reaction."
That physiological reaction includes a stress response in which the body releases a chemical called cortisol. As this occurrence happens continually over time, it can increase blood pressure which can lead to heart disease, diabetes and other infectious diseases.
An example of this is given in the article:
"Let's say something occurs where you follow me around in a store. I think that's racist. My blood pressure goes up. I get upset. Then I go to a different store. Someone appears to start following me. I am primed from a previous experience and I feel it again. We call it a micro-assault."
Researchers site that people feel and respond to discrimination in similar ways, though the experience of discrimination is more common to blacks. Among blacks, it's more commonly felt among men.
Read the article here. (link expired)
Source: LA Times