Racism is one societal stressor that not only plays a negative role in individuals, but also in society and community as a whole. This type of stress can affect behavioral and mental health.
According to the United Nations, racism is defined as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”
Most recently, the United States saw examples of blatant racism when Sebastien De La Cruz took the floor to sget of blatant racial judgments on Twitter and other social media outlets, claiming that he must be “illegal” possibly due to the Mariachi outfit he was wearing.
Nicknamed “El Charro de Oro”, De La Cruz explained that his father served in the United States Navy and that he could really care less as to what people were saying about him. “I knew that I would be judged for my singing,” he said on a television interview. He then said that he didn’t care what people were saying about him.
“They don’t know my life,” he said.
A Social Construct
It has been said repeatedly that race is a social construct and is a mechanism in which unequal distributions of risks and opportunities are created. It is an ideal that is created through our race-conscious society on nothing but the physicality of other people. But however imaginary this construct is, it has a lasting affect on people’s feelings and emotions which can eventually lead to a difference in physical health.