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Effects of Racism and Religious Discrimination on the Selected Population

Discuss about the Racial/Religious Discrimination.

Discrimination based on race and religion can have adverse effects on an individual both mentally and physically. Racial discrimination can be described as the inappropriate and unfair treatment of people based on the color of their skin (Lauren, 2018). Religious discrimination, on the other hand, can be defined as the act of treating an individual or a group of individuals differently based on their religious beliefs. Several pieces of research have revealed that racial inequities generally lead to poorer health outcomes. The impact of racial and religious discrimination ranges from mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety to chronic conditions such as breast cancer and heart attack.

The majority of people who experience racial discrimination are the people of color, especially the black Americans in the USA, African Americans, and Hispanics among others. Such kinds of discrimination can prevent the people of color from accessing the necessary health facilities, or when they access these facilities then quality healthcare is not guaranteed (Oswald, Mitchell, Blanton, Jaccard & Tetlock, 2013). As a result, patient safety which should be the number one priority of any healthcare setting is jeopardized.

It is also important to note that religious discrimination has numerous impacts on the health of individuals. Australia has several international and domestic legal protections that prohibit discrimination on the ground of religion or race. However, most Australians still experience religious discrimination, most notably the Muslim Australians. This group of individuals has faced increased levels of discrimination since the terrorist attack that occurred in the United States of America on 11th September 2011 and the Bali bombing in 2002. The Muslim Australians have therefore been subjected to heightened discrimination that includes being sworn at and being denied job opportunities. There are also other religious groups that have experienced increased discrimination in recent years, for example, the Jews who have reported anti-Semitism, especially on the internet. In this essay, we will talk about how the chosen health issue affects the identified population. Additionally, the essay talks about the social determinants of health problems that are experienced by the chosen populations. Furthermore, we will identify the potential stakeholders that can help in addressing the social determinants of health for the chosen population.

Racism and religious discrimination impacts on the health of the victims in several ways. Some of the ways may include limited access to employment opportunities, reduced access to education and housing, reduced engagement in healthy behaviors, and physical injuries that may result from racially motivated violence (Bastos, Celeste, Faerstein & Barros, 2010). People of color are at a higher risk of suffering from inequalities related to racism than any other group of people. Additionally, racial discrimination affects the mental health of individuals that experience it thus leading to depression, increased psychological stress, and anxiety (Bastos et al., 2010). As we have witnessed recently, there has been an increase in hate crimes and violence at the white nationalist rally that occurred in Charlottesville. Additionally, some NFL players in the USA have also experienced this social injustice and recently took to their knees in a game to condemn the discrimination based on races.

Social Determinants of Racial/Religious Discrimination

As reported by various health and medical studies, chronic emotional stress negatively impacts on the mental and physical health conditions of individuals. Racial discrimination is thus known to create an environment of pervasive stress for the people of color (Lee & Ahn, 2011). The repeated traumatic interactions that come with this kind of discrimination lowers the self-esteem of the African-Americans and leads to an internalized hatred since they are forced into conservative and apologetic thinking. Studies conducted in several universities that have both the whites and African-Americans revealed that the African Americans population had more cases of mental and physical stress as opposed to the whites (Boulware, Cooper, Ratner, LaVeist & Powe, 2016). It is worth noting that the anticipation of experiencing racism is just enough to cause significant spikes in the stress levels which eventually affect the mental health of the people of color.

Additionally, racial discrimination can lead to the development of long-lasting depression and mood disorders (Krieger, Kosheleva, Waterman, Chen & Koenen, 2011). The rate of suicides among the African-American high school students is on the rise due to racial discrimination. In a study that was done in Ferguson, 43% of the sample done in the community and 33% of the police sample was reported to have met the criteria for depression (Skiba et al., 2011). Additionally, a survey conducted in Wisconsin revealed that only 4% of white students attempted suicide as compared to the black students where 16% reported cases of attempted suicide (Boulware et al., 2016). The experience of racial discrimination between the ages of 20 years up to 32 years is a causative factor of depression and anxiety. It is important to note that such levels of mental distress can lead to the creation of an environment that encourages unhealthy coping methods (Soto, Dawson-Andoh & BeLue, 2011). As a result, the affected population tends to seek solace in alcohol and other drugs give that they also are not guaranteed an access to quality health and treatment.

Religious discrimination has also affected the Muslims and Jews in Australia in several ways. The Muslims, in particular, have been sworn at and sometimes physically assaulted whenever something with a Muslim connection occurs in Australia. They also experience serious discrimination and opposition whenever they seek to set up places of worship where the community protests and the local planning authorities refuse to approve applications. Some Muslim students are additionally denied a chance of seeking education in some institutions wearing their Hijabs as there has been a public debate that the garment is not consistent with the culture and values of the Australians (Stephan & Stephan, 2013). The result is that the Muslims are affected both mentally and physically with these day-to-day anti-Muslim trends. Another group of people that experiences religious discrimination in Australia is the Jewish. People who can be visibly identified as Jewish have been on the receiving end of both physical and verbal abuse. Their property has been additionally vandalized. Moreover, they receive threatening emails and anti-Semitic graffiti. Studies have revealed that such instances of religious discrimination can have profound impacts on the health and well-being of the victims, their families and the communities they belong to.

Several pieces of research have revealed that racism is an unacceptable social toxin that is extremely lethal to people of color. The inequalities that are experienced in the healthcare setting are related to the historical injustices. Therefore, the best way to achieve health equality is by dismantling systems such as racism that produce these inequalities (Priest, Paradies, Gunthorpe, Cairney & Sayers, 2011). It is important to note that racism only serves to reinforce the power and domination of the whites over people of color. A very clear manifestation as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is hate crimes. The reports further indicate that 57% of the cases of hate crime that had been reported were as a result of racial discrimination (Williams & Sternthal, 2010). Racism is a major problem particularly in the United States of America.

Racial discrimination is said to be a significant aspect in the lives of the people of color particularly the African-Americans as they must deal with racism on a day-to-day basis. This may result from the proactive police surveillance, institutional discrimination such as disparities when it comes to employment, as well as workplace tensions (Xanthos, Treadwell & Holden, 2010). The three most important forms of racial discrimination experienced by the people of color include disproportionate incarceration rates, limited access to quality education, and reduced access to employment opportunities.

African-Americans are normally exposed to numerous environmental and social conditions that will in most cases put their health in jeopardy. It is important to note that social conditions such as racial discrimination can have negative impacts on the health behaviors of these African-Americans (Viruell-Fuentes, Miranda & Abdulrahim, 2012). Therefore, they find themselves engaging more in unhealthy health behaviors than the healthy ones. Reports have revealed that unhealthy health products such as tobacco and alcohol are in most cases marketed disproportionately among the black community. Even after the control of the census tract socioeconomic status, the location of liquor stores is still disproportionate in areas that are predominantly occupied by the African-Americans. Additionally, studies have revealed the existence of a correlation between the location of liquor stores and risks of social problems that are related to health among the low-income neighborhoods.

As previously stated, it is additionally important to ascertain that the social conditions such as racial discrimination experienced by the African-Americans can lead to a serious psychological stress (Pieterse, Todd, Neville & Carter, 2012). As a result, the health behavior of the affected individual is negatively impacted. The African-Americans may thus resort to unhealthy eating habits and drug use to cope up with their stressful lives. Furthermore, the fact that the African-Americans are subjected to proportionately low incomes, they find themselves residing in unfavorable neighborhood locations. They end up worrying more about their personal safety which may discourage the engagement in physical exercises and other leisure activities. These unfavorable neighborhoods also reduce the access to goods and services that are required to ensure healthy living. It is further revealed that most businesses may avoid the segregated urban centers thus leading to the delivery of fewer goods, which are poor in quality which may, in turn, lead to poor nutritional practices (Woolf & Braveman, 2011). Overall, the African-Americans are exposed to several social conditions such as racial discrimination that impacts on their health behaviors and status.

The African-Americans also experience some barriers at the point of health that generally affect their health thus leading to poor health conditions. These people normally receive limited access to quality healthcare due to racial discrimination. This reduced access to quality healthcare may be attributed to the lack of cultural competency and diversity in the workforce allocated to a particular healthcare setting (Gee & Ford, 2011). There are several healthcare practitioner and providers who are not familiar with diverse populations and may, therefore, be driven by the stereotype against the African-Americans and as a result, jeopardize service delivery.

Research has revealed that African-Americans receive lower health qualities when compared to the whites in a range of diseases that include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, mental health, HIV/AIDS, and several other chronic conditions. Additionally, the same piece of research that had been performed by the Institute of Medicine revealed that compared to the whites, the likelihood of African-Americans to receive undesirable health services such as total amputation of all limbs was higher (Hudson et al., 2013). Moreover, disparities still exist when other clinical factors that include the severity of a particular disease and the stage of representation of the said disease are taken into account. The research went further to reveal disproportions across a range of clinical settings that included both private and public hospitals. The mortality rates also showed disparities whereby the rates were higher among the African-Americans when compared to the whites. The end-stage care for renal diseases was also found to exhibit significant differences whereby the African-Americans were constantly subjected to worse care when compared to their white counterparts (Jee-Lyn García & Sharif, 2015). Blacks even confessed that they felt the reason why they were being treated poorly was solely based on their race which thus affected the quality of care.

Regarding the quality of mental health care provided, there are disparities in the quality of service provided to the whites and those provided to the African-Americans with the whites receiving better services. In fact, evidence reveals that the African-Americans are subjected to the older and less utilized antidepressants whereas the whites are given the newly invented antidepressants that have less severe side effects (Griffith, Ellis & Allen, 2013). Additionally, as opposed to the whites, the African-Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia even when the signs and symptoms displayed point towards other conditions such as depression. The quality of health is thus a very crucial social determinant of health among the blacks or the African-Americans.

These social health determinants can be classified into three categories as distal, intermediate and proximal. The social determinants affect several health capacities and vulnerabilities, health management, and health behaviors. The African-Americans who are subjected to the inequalities of social determinants of health carry the burden of health problems in addition to the restrictions towards the healthcare services and facilities that may be fundamental in ameliorating the problems (Awofeso, 2011). Apart from influencing diverse health dimensions, the social determinants of health also create some health issues that may in most cases lead to environments and circumstances that subsequently represent the determinants of health.

The health impacts of racial discrimination can be very dangerous if they are not addressed appropriately. It is thus important to incorporate a number of stakeholders who may help in addressing this issue of social discrimination and thus reduce the negative health impacts that it comes with. Some of the stakeholders that can be fundamental in addressing this social injustice include the educators, mental health counselors, bioethicists, and the community among others. In this section, we aim to describe the role of these stakeholders in addressing the issue of social discrimination.

Education can be an important strategy in addressing racial discrimination against the African-Americans. The educators play a crucial role in enlightening everyone that every race is just as important as the other. The main aim and intention of the educators are to correct the misinformation and contradicting negative attitudes among the African-Americans. These educators counter the inaccurate myths regarding different races with factual information that aims at addressing the problem of racial discrimination (Bierema, 2010). The existing stereotype against the blacks is thus eliminated and as a result, the health conditions of the African-Americans improve as they find the purpose to engage in appropriate health behaviors.

The educations campaigns are normally designed for any available scale that may either be local or national. The educators, through education of the affected African-Americans, help in combating stigma and the discrimination against the blacks. As a result, the African-Americans learn how to manage their levels of stress and stigma in a better manner. Additionally, it helps in boosting the self-esteem of the affected population as it is delivered as a component of behavior therapy. Research has revealed that education is very fundamental in changing the stereotype towards the African-Americans in a lasting manner. Everyone, including the whites and the African-Americans, need to be educated so that they can understand that race and racism is just a social construct (Bierema, 2010). Education thus will lead to a reduction in the disproportions that are witnessed in the service delivery in healthcare facilities. The result is that every individual whether the whites or the African-Americans are treated with equality thus ensuring quality care for everyone and patient safety.

The mental health counselors are tasked with designing programs that intend to address the issues of mental health illness. There is a growing importance for schools to address the mental health needs of the young African-Americans that are subjected to racism on a daily basis. Evidence from various studies has revealed that mental health programs help in improving the knowledge and attitude of the affected population. Basic mental health education and counseling have been revealed to be fundamental in lowering the stigma that comes with racial discrimination (Nguyen, Ho & Williams, 2011). As a result, the African-Americans learn how to manage the depression of racism without resorting to unhealthy behaviors such as poor eating habits and drug abuse.

The mental health education program also helps in encouraging the African-Americans who are usually a target for racial discrimination and their families to seek the necessary help when they experience racism (Bell, Funk, Joshi & Valdivia, 2016). This will help them in managing the psychological effects that such social injustices can have in them. The counselors in mental health programs seek to educate the African-Americans on stress management and behavior management when they are faced with the cruelty of racial discrimination (Nguyen et al., 2011). They also encourage the victims to not only seek medication on the symptoms that relate to a normal illness but also mental health disorders that may arise from stress, anxiety, and depression due to racism and racial discrimination. The outcomes of counseling must not be overlooked as they are very fundamental in ensuring that the African-Americans do not slide into unhealthy behavioral activities like substance abuse as a way of getting over their depression.

The community is considered as another very essential stakeholder who can help with addressing the issue of racial discrimination and reducing its impact on the health of the African-Americans. The victims of racism and racial discrimination need to feel a connection to the community to help them in managing the psychological effects of racial discrimination. It has been revealed that the absence of contact may cause discomfort, fear, and distrust among the African-Americans. Community intervention will, therefore, help in bridging the divide that exists between the whites and the African-Americans and as a result, help in addressing the issue of social injustices such as racial discrimination (Reynolds, 2015). The outcome of this strategy is the reduction of the public stigma and the stereotype towards the blacks and an improvement in the self-esteem of the African-Americans, who in most cases experience racism.

Furthermore, the community may encourage the use of the internet and other social media pages to maintain contact and discuss the problems of discrimination against the African-Americans. Studies indicate that most people are more comfortable in discussing their problems over the internet rather than face-to-face. A survey conducted among the blacks belonging to a particular community revealed that the online sites where the victims can meet and share their experiences about racism are normally very empowering (Waymer, 2010). It is thus evident that the community, as a stakeholder plays a very crucial role in dealing with racial discrimination and addressing the negative impacts that come with racism.

Bioethicists should strive to address the issue of racism and racial discrimination among the African-Americans. They can actually offer very meaningful contributions to the training, teaching, research, public discourse, and policy development among others in response to the rising patterns of racial discrimination and the associated bias that it comes with (Danis, Wilson & White, 2016). The bioethicists thus play a significant role by collaborating with the other stakeholders towards addressing racism and reducing the negative impacts that racial discrimination has on the African-Americans. There are several bioethicists that also double as ethics consultants and are the best suited in addressing the issues of social injustices such as racial discrimination. This is so because these bioethicists possess the necessary competencies that help in addressing racial discrimination against the African-Americans. The bioethicists also teach the community, both the whites and the African-Americans regarding the importance of racial equality (Danis et al., 2016). The outcome of the strategy employed by this group of stakeholders is that the whites get to understand the necessity of treating the African-Americans with equality. Therefore, service delivery in the healthcare setting is improved and quality healthcare provided thus guaranteeing patient safety.


Racism and racial discrimination can have adverse effects on the mental and physical health conditions of the victims. Discrimination is mainly experienced by the people of color, in particular, the African-Americans. Racial discriminations impacts on the lives of people in several ways that include limited access to employment opportunities, limited access to quality healthcare and reduced access to education. Racial discrimination only seeks to reinforce the domination of the whites over the African-Americans. The result is that the blacks who experience this social injustice undergo adverse effects that may include psychological stress, depression, and anxiety among other mental health disorders. Additionally, an encounter with racial discrimination may force the victims to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse that may jeopardize their health. The African-Americans may also not feel comfortable about seeking medication from healthcare facilities due to discrimination which may further threaten their safety as patients. There are however some stakeholders that may help in addressing this issue of racial discrimination and reducing the negative impacts it has on the health of the people of color. These stakeholders include educators, bioethicists, the community, and mental health counselors.


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