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How Racism Makes Us Sick


From this week’s readings and the TED Talk video, I have learned that racism has a plethora of implicit effects, including the way people of different ethnicities are treated within the healthcare system. For example, David R. Williams discusses an example of a comparison of the life expectancy for different groups of people, where one can see that white individuals with only a high school diploma live longer when compared to black college graduates (“How racism makes us sick,” 2016). However, in Module 10 presentation, “Experiencing prejudice,” there is a statement about how negative expectations may affect the outcomes, which is a stereotype threat. Finally, Pascoe and Richman (2009), through a meta-analysis, found that the expectations of discrimination lead to poorer health outcomes both in the case of mental health and physical health.

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Although this module has been insightful in terms of understanding the potential effect of negative expectations, such as expecting racism and racially biased behavior from the healthcare workers, a discussion of how to separate the actual racism and stereotype threat has been missing. Even the study by Pascoe and Richman (2009) that confirms the link between stereotype threat and poorer health outcomes has a limited discussion of how this stereotype threat can be addressed and reduced. Hence, there is a need to focus more on improving the way that we approach an understanding of racism and its negative effects since racism still exists and needs to be addressed on a societal level. However, by attributing all of the issues that one ethnicity faces to racism and discrimination, this social group does a disservice to themselves since they distract attention from the real problems, such as the fear of racism when coming in contact with the healthcare system that can lead to poorer health outcomes.


Experiencing prejudice: Module 10. (n.d.).

How racism makes us sick. (2016). Web.

Pascoe, E. A. & Richman, S. (2009). Perceived discrimination and health: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 135(4), 531-554.

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