Discrimination is A Destruction
by salma bella on October 21, 2015 - 10:24pm
The article "Discrimination During Adolescence has lasting effects on body”, published by Northwestern University on Science Daily (September 9th, 2015), addresses a study that links the level of cortisol, a stress hormone released by the body, with the accumulation of perceived discrimination over lifetime. In fact, researchers have followed white and black adolescents from age twelve to 32 by measuring the discrimination they perceive as well as their levels of cortisol for seven days when they became adults. Their observations led them to conclude that the African-American young adults’ cortisol rhythms are more dysfunctional than whites, because they have experienced more discrimination. Other factors that influence the stress level, such as education, depression, and time of waking, have been controlled, so it is unlikely that the stress is caused by one of them. The study finally insists on pointing out that adolescents’ cortisol levels can be affected the most and have less chances to be regulated, due to the physical and psychological changes that occur over that time period.
What I found the most interesting in the article is that it is the first study that clearly establishes that the human body is affected by accumulated discrimination over time. In fact, previous studies have already shown the effects of discrimination on body, but only at the time it was happening. The study is a good support to the article “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn About Race”, written by Erin Winkler, where the author points out that racial discrimination comes from unbroken bias about races that children start developing as young as age three. As a matter of fact, she explains that society teaches kids, in both subtle and obvious manners, that race matters when it comes to classifying people. They then assume it is meaningful and make it a social rule, which leads to discrimination that can last even during adolescence. To me, what could have improved the article in stressing that discrimination has undeniable and undesirable effects is that the researchers provide concrete solutions to allow persecuted people to better deal with the racial inequalities they face. For instance, Winkler highly recommends to caregivers to address freely and in a straightforward manner the issues related to race, as well as to intervene against racism by insisting on the moral wrongness of the behavior. Overall, I liked the evidence showed in the article, but I think that having added more content about the issue would have enriched it.
Northwestern University. (2015, September 9th.) Discrimination during adolescence has
lasting effects on body [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150909213514.htm