Study finds health drawbacks in blatantly biased communities

A new UC Berkeley study reports this about the health consequences of explicit racism:

Living in unabashedly racist communities can shorten the lives of both blacks and whites, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.

Researchers compared the racial biases of nearly 1.4 million people nationwide to death rates in more than 1,700 U.S. counties. Their findings suggest that blacks and, to a lesser degree, whites who reside in overtly racist communities are more prone to dying from heart disease and other circulatory diseases.

“This suggests that living in a racially hostile environment might be detrimental to both the group targeted by this bias, in this case blacks, as well as the group that harbors the bias, in this case whites,” said study lead author Jordan Leitner, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at UC Berkeley. The findings were just published in the online edition of the journal Psychological Science.

What’s interesting is the study’s look at the toll on both races. While they’re still exploring the reasons, one idea is that whites holding more explicit racial biases bond less with others in their community, reducing the social supports that are known to lengthen lives. For blacks, the researchers are assessing whether those in communities with higher levels of racial bias experience less access to health care or may even avoid seeking it out of fear of unfair treatment. I’ll also propose one idea: Blacks too in these communities experience lower levels of social supports.

To view the study, visit:–wrt090616.php

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