The Effect of Racism on the Self-Esteem of African Americans and the Health Risks Associated with Racism

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Throughout the past, scientists have attempted to explain the health disparity between African Americans and Whites. With the completion of the human genome project, it was shown that there is very little difference between different races on the genetic level. However, “African Americans are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease as their European counterpart,” the question that has arisen is where do these differences stem from (Harell, Floyd, Daniels and Bell). Recently, scientists have begun to believe that racism could possibly explain these differences (Belgrave &Allison, 2010).

Racism has been an issue for African Americans since the early days of slavery. Everywhere they go, they face a possibility of being treated differently because of their race. Within the past fifty years, the racism that African Americans faced has dropped, however it is still prevalent. According to Belgrave and Allison, racism is defined as “the negative beliefs, actions, and emotions based on race” although there are different types of racism, this definition gives a generalization on what racism is. It seems as though racism is the cause of many of the health problems that are faced by African Americans. Whether it is because African Americans generally do not receive the same health service as Whites or because direct racism causes higher blood pressure, racism has a negative health effect on African Americans (Belgrave &Allison, 2010).


The purpose of this experiment is to see whether racism has an effect on the self-esteem of African Americans and the health risks associated with racism, mainly high blood pressure. The independent variable is perception of racism and the dependent variables are the self...

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...nd blood pressure. Racism is a problem facing many African Americans in the United States. It is affecting both their self-esteem and health. Until they are given the help they need or racism dissipates from society, they will always have these problems.


Belgrave, A. Z., & Allison, K. W. (2010S).African american psychology, from africa to america. (2nd ed., pp. 96-112). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Fischer, A. R., & Shaw, C. (1999). African americans mental health and perceptions of racist discrimination: The moderating effects of racial socialization experiences and self-esteem. Journal of Counseling Psychology,46(3), 395-407. Retrieved from

Harrell, C. P. J., Floyd, L. J., & Bell, S. R. Psychophysiological methods: enduring value to research within black psychology.
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