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Psychological Impact Paper

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Psychological Impact

The cultural perspective of human being focuses various differences in social groups and traditions. The relationships between individuals in a society or group with cultural diversity may produce significant discrepancies. This paper analyzes racism, discrimination, employment and unemployment, and describes the psychological impact of these sociopolitical components on human behavior in a multicultural society.

Racism

Racism represents the belief that justifies discrimination in groups and society, and is associated with illegal harmful activities such as extremism, separatism, xenophobia, or genocide. Racism describes discrimination based on ethnic and cultural factors. Racism leads to irreversible changes in the society such as economic crisis, wars, insecurity, poverty, and fear. Racism has the origin in "the fear of strangers", an attitude present in social setting, and represents the ideology which states that a racial group is superior over other group of people. This belief determines human traits based on idea that a certain race is superior, having the right to dominate other races. Racism is influencing human behavior, affecting ethnic tolerance and trust. Racism owns destructive variables that lead to social inequality and negative effects on physical and mental health of people. "Racial discrimination is a stressful experience for non-whites (Clark, Anderson, Clark, & Williams,1999; Harrell, 2000; Nyborg & Curry, 2003)". There are six types of racism-related stress that affect the members of a social group exposed to racism: "racism-related life events, vicarious racism experiences, daily racism micro stressors, chronic-contextual stress, collective experiences, and trans-generational transmission (Harrell, 2000)".

The racism-related stress is determined by feelings of the individual exposed to discrimination, harassment, or judgment (Harrell, 2000). Also the stress may appear when the individual hears about a racist experience of another person. The racism related stressors appear when non-whites individuals are forced to live in a social setting in which they are exposed to differential or unfair treatment. The historical injustices against racial groups are transmitted to the new generations. This represents a factor of stress that may affect the individual's behavior who perceives that his/her identity has been historically mistreated or oppressed (Harrell, 2000). The individual may experience anxiety, fury, and frustration, feelings of being hopeless or helpless, fearful or resentful behavior, when exposed to racism (Clark, 1999). These racism-related stressors can influence the individual's ability to work or function in the social setting, increasing violent or suicidal behavior. Personal experience with racism may produce low self esteem and depression, impacting psychological well-being. "Increased hostility and aggression are common forms of active coping responses that have been associated with racism-related psychological distress (Clark, et al., 1999, p. 811; Harrell, 2000, p. 47-48)". Substance abuse, anger, and smoking tobacco represent coping strategies as a reaction to racist stressors. The coping strategies try to alleviate depression, anxiety, frustration, or anger. This can lead to stigmatization of the individual, psychological distress, and poor physical health condition.

Participants in stress therapy have avoided discussing racist experiences with psychologists because they had the fear that the therapist would not understand this type of situation (Thompson, 2004). "Racist incidents are associated with symptoms of psychological suffering and emotional disturbance, such as depression, general distress, generalized anxiety, and hyper-arousal, and physical reactions, for Whites, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, and African Americans (Kessler, Mickelson, & Williams, 1999; Noh & Kaspar, 2003; Pieterse & Carter, 2007; Ramos, Jaccard, & Guilamo-Ramos, 2003)". Racist incidents may lead to sleep disturbances, low self-esteem, shame, guilt, and problems with recall.

Discrimination

The discrimination is any distinction, exclusion or inferior treatment given to a person or society by reason of their ethnicity, social or economic status, sex, religion, age, disability, ideology, sexual preference and does not recognize the equal rights and opportunities for people. Discrimination for any reason is a bias that is deeply rooted in the affectation of interest in a social group to another with different characteristics. The discriminatory attitude is maintained only when the discriminated group puts at risk the interests of the discriminating group or individual. This is rooted in prejudice or stigma that is manifested in actions or omissions, whether intended or not, without reasonable or justifiable cause and it restricts and excludes one or more of the human rights. The victims in general are homosexuals, disabled, indigenous, women, elderly, migraines, domestic workers and laborers, all considered vulnerable and in most cases, "minorities" who are threatened by acts of discrimination. Mexicans in the United States are profoundly affected by the treatment and negative attitudes, based on the rejection of skin color, language, and of course to their country of origin. In many occasions they are denied the more basic human rights like the one of living a happy life. Discrimination is a social change that generates behavioral modification, different attitudes and positions against the present social reality. The impact of discrimination on mental health may vary in individuals from different cultures: immigrants born in Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic who are currently residing in the New York Metropolitan area (Zea, 2009).

The study of the levels of depression showed that Dominican men reported slightly higher levels than the rest of Hispanic individuals. These results reflect the life circumstances of immigrants.

Discrimination was associated with symptoms of depression and low self-esteem for Asian American students (Lee, 2003). Discrimination predicted poor mental health and high incidence of psychological symptoms among Chinese Americans individuals (Gee, 2002). Similar results have been found in Filipino and Vietnamese Americans population (Lam, 2007), showing that discrimination brought negative psychological effects in Asian ethnic groups. A research on Latino and Chinese immigrants showed that ethnic density is negatively interconnected with depression (Mair, 2010). Also ethnic density was associated with high level of depression

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