Discrimination: Black Lives Matter

Discrimination: Black Lives Matter

Due to the current protests going on in America, the UK and other countries in solidarity, over yet another example of police brutality and institutional racism towards the black community, I thought I’d write a post about discrimination. That’s because discrimination is as much a societal, political, and legal problem as it is a mental health and health problem.

 

Types Of Discrimination

 

I thought I’d start this post off with a look at some of the different forms of discrimination, with the last one being institutional discrimination, which is the one people are currently protesting to change. That’s because racism is an unpleasant reality that exists in many forms and acts not only through
interpersonal assaults but also through societal structures (The Synergi Collaborative Centre, 2018).

 

Direct discrimination

This is where an individual is treated unfavourably because of their protected characteristic under the law. This is the obvious form of discrimination that we can witness or be subjected to.

For example:

Being refused service or entrance to a business because you’re black.

 

Indirect discrimination

This is when there’s a rule, a policy, or a practice that applies to everyone, but which particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic protected under the law. But it should be noted that indirect discrimination can be justified if it’s shown that the rule, policy, or practice is intended to meet a legitimate objective in a fair, balanced, and reasonable way. In such instances, it would be lawful.

 

For example:

If your elderly grandparents who are Muslim are living int a care home, and they ask to have their evening meals after sunset due to Ramadan, then this would become an example of indirect discrimination if this was refused unless there’s a legitimate reason for denying the request.

 

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Discrimination by association

This occurs when a person is treated less favourably because they’re associated or linked with a person from a protected characteristic under the law.

 

For example:

Being refused entry into a club because the person you’re with is from the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Discrimination by perception

This happens when a person is discriminated against because they are thought to have a particular protected characteristic under the law (rightly or wrongly), or are treated as if they do.

 

For example:

Being treated as if you’re Muslim just because you’re from the middle east, or someone thinking you’re gay because of how they think you act or look.

 

Institutional discrimination

This is the discrimination that is embedded in the procedures, policies, rules, and/or objectives of large organizations, such as the American police force and judicial system.

 

For example:

A police officer kneeling on unarmed black man’s neck until he died, even after pleas of not being able to breathe, with other offices in the vicinity doing nothing to save said black man. Then, not being charged for murder until after protests start in order to demand justice for yet another pointless death of a black American.

 

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Above The Law

 

As a Brit, I won’t be aware of all the tragic deaths of black people at the hands of the police in America, but some are so bad that they are global news, much like George Floyd. The ones that have really stood out over the years, but by no means is anywhere near a complete list, are:

 

Botham Jean

Amber Guyger, a police officer at the time, somehow managed to shoot and kill her unarmed black neighbour while he was in his own apartment. Her excuse, she thought that was her apartment, even though she was on a different floor.

 

Tamir Rice

The video of the killing of this 12-year-old boy playing in the park was shocking. They appear to just shoot the kid without any attempts to evaluate the situation. This spurred Tamir’s mother to help create a guidebook for how children should behave when dealing with the police. This isn’t how society is meant to function. We’re not meant to be teaching our children that the police aren’t safe to interact with.

 

Eric Garner

Much like how the knee to the back of the neck resulted in the death of George Floyd, an illegal chokehold performed by an NYPD cop ended the life of Eric Garner, all because he was selling cigarettes.

 

Charles Kinsey

Luckily, this is one of the rare occasions where the police shot an unarmed black man and they didn’t die. Nevertheless, it’s still a shocking story. Charles Kinsey was the carer of a person on the autistic spectrum. While on the ground with his hands visibly in the are, Charles Kinsey tried to explain the situation to the police who for some reason still felt the need to shoot him.

 

Everyday Experience Of Discrimination

 

Anyone familiar with me and my blog will know I’ve had to put up with discrimination my entire life, but during my childhood, it was especially damaging. The racism I was subjected to growing up broke me, leading me to be suicidal by the age of eight. That experience has left a permanent mark on who I am, and I still, at close to 40, haven’t recovered from what happened to me.

 

An experience also shared by @FaizablogsUK whose blog can be found here.

 

Discrimination - BLM

 

I also talked about how there were spikes in hate crimes as a result of Brexit in a previous post because it’s hard to feel safe in a country that hates the people they view as alien, which is anyone who doesn’t look like their idealised version of British whiteness. Even the coronavirus has brought with it a rise in hate crimes, although it’s not just Asian people who are being targeted as you would expect. As always with these kinds of events, antisemitism is always present.

 

My personal experience of discrimination hasn’t been limited to the colour of my skin, I’ve also experienced discrimination for being a man with an eating disorder. I’d brought up my issues with food that ranged from starting myself most days through my 20s to binge eating and starvation cycles in my 30s which lead to me developing reactive hypoglycaemia as a result. Because I wasn’t female, none of the doctors and counsellors I tried to talk to about it took me seriously, and as a result, I now have a permanent health condition that makes my life miserable: I have hypos every 2-3 hours.

 

Discrimination doesn’t always show itself with a knee in the back of your neck. Any form of discrimination can and will cause harm, harm you won’t always see.

 

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The Effects Of Discrimination

 

There’s a huge and growing body of evidence that demonstrates how racism results in mental health problems, such as depression, as well as reducing those affected by racism ability to properly cope with severe events (The Synergi Collaborative Centre, 2018).

 

Paradies (2006) did a review of 138 empirical quantitative population-based studies of self-reported racism and health. The review found that racism was a factor in mental health issues and health-related behaviour problems suffered from those from an ethnic minority group. Although this is based on self-reported data, it’s not hard to believe how racism can damage your mental health, as anyone subjected to abuse can suffer damage to their mental health.

 

The study identified that health-related behaviours can be affected by racism, which is likely due to the fact that poor mental health results in the person not looking after themselves as they would if they weren’t struggling with poor mental health. I know when I’m having a hard time with my depression, any attempts at being healthy go out the window. This negative change to health-related behaviours will obviously have a knock-on effect down the line, which is what Paradies (2006) seems to have found evidence for as well, stating that the longitudinal studies that were reviewed highlighted a link between racism and ill health.

 

Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities continue to experience inequalities within the U.K - Grey, Sewell, Shapiro, and Ashraf (2013) Click To Tweet

 

A cross-sectional study performed by McKenzie (2002) showed strong evidence of a link between perceived racial discrimination, psychosis, and depression in people from an ethnic minority. Which is hardly surprising, abuse will claim its pound of flesh. I know that first hand.

 

For decades, inequalities in mental health for ethnic minorities have been a concern (Grey, Sewell, Shapiro, and Ashraf, 2013), with these inequalities leading to a disproportionate amount of black people being detained under the Mental Health Act, at over four times the rate of their white counterparts, according to NHS England (2018). This detention rate has increased from 288.7 per 100,000 population in 2018 to 306.8 per 100,000 population (NHS England 2019).

 

There is no reason why black people or other people from a minority group should be detained more against their will under the mental health act. We aren’t more likely to be violent, we aren’t more likely to be severely affected, and we’re not more likely to be chaotic (The Synergi Collaborative Centre, 2018).

 

Let’s not forget the children. Trent, Dooley, and Dougé (2019) reported that discrimination affects the self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-image of children and adolescents, impacting their mental health enough that it’ll affect developmental milestones and achievement in school. I know this first hand from my own experience (Suicidal Child #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek). America seems to want black people to live in constant fear for their lives, to the point that they can’t even feel safe in their own homes anymore. This will not only take its toll on their mental health but also their physical health as well, as stress manifests itself in the body.

 

Discrimination: Black Lives Matter

 

Privilege

 

I image a lot of people would be familiar with the study that was conducted into the discrimination that occurs just because of the name you use when looking for a job. Some of you might have also experienced this problem yourself.

 

A job applicant with a name that sounds like it might belong to an African-American – say, Lakisha Washington or Jamal Jones – can find it harder to get a job. Despite laws against discrimination, affirmative action, a degree of employer enlightenment, and the desire by some businesses to enhance profits by hiring those most qualified regardless of race, African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed and they earn nearly 25 percent less when they are employed

David R. Francis

 

If you’d like to read the complete study ‘Whitened Résumés: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market’ by Kanga, DeCellesa, Tilcsika, and Junb (2016) you can do so by clicking here.

 

It’s little things like this that make life harder than it needs to be, but life for an ethnic minority is full of these little issues, which all adds up to a being huge weight holding us down. White privilege is that no matter how bad your life might be (and you can still have a hard life), your life isn’t then made harder simply for the colour of your skin.

 

All we’re asking for is the same treatment and human rights applied fairly and justly to all of us, so we can exist without the fear we’ll be harmed or killed simply for existing. How is that too much to expect from a civilised society?

 

Discrimination: Black Lives Matter

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with discrimination and your thoughts about the current protests in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up to my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new posts by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom left corner.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

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References

 

Grey, T., Sewell, H., Shapiro, G., & Ashraf, F. (2013). Mental Health Inequalities Facing U.K. Minority Ethnic Populations: Causal Factors and Solutions. Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture, 3(S1). Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/jpoc.21080

McKenzie, K. (2002). Does racial discrimination cause mental illness? European Psychiatry, 17(S1), 84. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.180.6.475

NHS England. (2018). Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures 2017-18. Retrieved from https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-act-statistics-annual-figures/2017-18-annual-figures

NHS England. (2019). Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures 2018-19. Retrieved from https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-act-statistics-annual-figures/2018-19-annual-figures

Paradies Y. (2006). A systematic review of empirical research on self-reported racism and health, International Journal of Epidemiology, 35(4), 888–901. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyl056

The Synergi Collaborative Centre. (2018). The impact of racism on mental health. Retrieved from https://synergicollaborativecentre.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/The-impact-of-racism-on-mental-health-briefing-paper-1.pdf

Trent, M., Dooley, D. G., & Dougé, J. (2019). The Impact of Racism on
Child and Adolescent Health. Pediatrics, 144(2). Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/144/2/e20191765

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77 thoughts on “Discrimination: Black Lives Matter

  1. Really good post hitting so many points. There is so much discrimination, leading to hatred in the world. I really do hope the current events are at least a catalyst for something good. We seem to have gone backwards over the last few years.

  2. I always love your articles because the topics are so great and relevant and also comprehensive. This is such a tragic topic. I live in the heart of where this is all happening (Minneapolis) and it’s been a nightmare. While I don’t believe that one bad seed makes them all bad, there’s too many bad seeds in a role of authority here. Something needs to change not only in policing but society in general – skin color shoudn’t be a factor. Period.

  3. The recent events have opened my eyes to the bigger issues at hand. Thank you for using your platform to educate others like myself. I really hope we can change history here.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I’m an American living outside of Washington DC, and things are really really bad here. They’ve been bad for such a long time now, but with our current administration, and police getting away with murder, things have finally come to a head (understandably). It’s so frustrating and infuriating when you feel powerless against an oppressive white-supremacist government. And I’m white!! I can’t even begin to imagine how bad it feels to be a black person living in America. I’m doing what I can to be anti-racist (reading, donating bail for people who are being arrested during the protests), but it doesn’t feel like it’s ever enough. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with racism, and that it led you to feel suicidal. Racism is a disease. One I hope we’ll be able to eradicate. Until then, stay strong. And let me know if you need anything.

    1. I wish it was solely due to the current administration that this happened, but this hatred towards black people has infected every aspect of the American government, and voting out Trump won’t fix it unless you also take back control of both chambers as well. Even then, it still might not be enough. Police and judicial reform is going to be hard

    2. Voting at the local level for police reform is a good start. Donating to youth programs in your local, underfunded black community is also helpful. I’m originally from Cincinnati and plan to donate to organisations there.

  5. I appreciate how you used simple language and examples to explain the different types of discrimination that people face. This post is very helpful for anyone trying to get a better grasp on what is occurring.

  6. This is an amazing post. I like that you divided up each type of racism into categories and gave examples of each. I think your article will really help someone to differentiate between different types. Some types are less acknowledged than others but all racism is wrong. Thank you again for this post.

    1. Thank you. I just wish I could at least stop my white mum being a bigot. I swear I’m just her, “I’m not racist, I have family members who are black” excuse

      1. Oh man, I’m sorry to hear that. All we can really do is our part and try to help educate our family and friends. It’s up to them to change their minds

  7. This is a lovely post to open up eyes that may be closed to what discrimination does. I love that you have covered the different types of racism and provided examples. So many little things discriminate against people of different religions, and I bet many people might not even realize their actions are discriminating. It is so easy to walk through life blind, so I love that you have written this and, hopefully, given more people a reason to see.

  8. I really hope that we, as a society, can take this time to really step back and discuss the situation – open the eyes of those who are still unaware of how bad the situation is. I can’t imagine living in blissful ignorance, but there appear to be so many that are right now. I’ve seen ongoing discussions trying to explain to many why white privilege DOES exist and why the black lives matter movement is so important. The fact that racism STILL exists at this level today is disgusting, and it’s time for a MAJOR shift in our society!

  9. I’m so sorry for what you experienced growing up! Thank you for writing this, we must keep this conversation going. It’s time for racism to end.

  10. This is a really great and informative post!!! This kind of content is exactly what we need right now – packed with educational and informative content. You’ve done really well here with making clear points on discrimination and then also more in depth discussion, cases and links.

    I am planning to write a post on my own blog compiling a list of really great posts from other bloggers that i have read about Black Lives Matter and I would love to include a link to this post. If that is okay with you!!

    Xxxx

  11. You know this made me think. What about people we don’t know about that has suffered like this? I mean, just imagine all the people out there who couldn’t speak for themselves and with who no one was there to stand with. I feel ashamed to be living in such a world. It is just sad.

  12. I’m really sorry that you’ve had to deal with this, and that here we are in 2020 and so many of these issues are still present. What you said about privilege being as simple as your skin colour not making your life harder is so so simple, and it should be one that we all have. Thank you for sharing these studies, some of them are about areas I currently don’t know a huge amount about so I’ll be sure to some further reading x

    Sophie

    1. Racism is annoyingly simple to resolve, or at least it should be. But there are those that’ll fight tooth an nail to keep humans down simply for being the wrong colour or being the wrong kind of white person

  13. I still cannot believe that we live in such an evil world where people discriminate others just because of their skin colour. I’m sorry for all that had to deal with this issue and I hope that we can all stand up together and fight this discrimination and fight for equality! I understand I probably will never understand as a white person how it feels but I will do anything to stand by and fight for equality.

    xoxo Olivia | http://www.oliviaandbeauty.com

  14. This is such an important post! Like wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope it further educates those who may not have realized that this is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. Loved how you hit all of the points, included citations and examples, and shared personal experiences. I am so sorry you had to endure this, especially during childhood. Such disgusting behavior to experience during developmental stages. Know that I stand with you and I will fight for you in America.

  15. Powerful piece. As a mature person I was around in the black power movement of the 70’s. I don’t think it will ever go away sadly such is the nature of humans. My generation really got inspired by the black power movement. Black music ruled and we all enjoyed it and watched it together. Sadly as I said about humans being humans that is discrimination in everything. Being the bigger person and treating people as you would wish to be treated yourself is somehow one of the strongest things you can do

  16. Great post. I like that you gave examples of each type of discrimination. It makes it easier to understand. I’ve been trying to read as much as I can about what’s going on and the importance of the black lives matter movement.

      1. thank you for posting this 💜 recent events have certainly opened my eyes a lot more and have made me realise that there’s a lot more I can do to help push for change

  17. Thank you for creating such an informative post to help people identify the many forms of discrimination that exist. I’ve spent the morning highlighting on social media about the harmful affects of othering in my community in Ireland. Originally from the USA, I’ve experienced many forms of overt racism with a white mom and black dad. In Europe racism is just as prevalent though less deadly. I hope this moment will see genuine change as many Caucasian people worldwide begin to open their eyes to their privilege and recognize even the subtle ways that racism is perpetuated.

    1. Racism in most the so called developed world is far less deadly than America’s particular version of racism, but it can none the less be deadly in those other countries. I know in the UK you’re far more likely to be subject to a violent arrest and possible death in police custody if you’re black

  18. Once again your writing touch my heart. When I was studying in Manchester more than 10 years ago, I also face racism discriminations. Not just from fellow students, but also fellow lecturers. I had a hard time learning when I was in Manchester.

    1. That’s disappointing that you not only got it from your fellow students, but from the lectures too. I would have hoped the educational leaders would have improved since the 80s

  19. This post was really insightful and informative for me (and I’m sure many others too!) so thank you for putting it together and sharing! I’ll be sharing it over on Twitter for it to hopefully reach some more people. I’m sorry to read that you have experienced racism and discrimination and how massively that has also impacted your health. Sending love your way xx

  20. Thanks for writing this! I hope there comes a time when articles like these won’t be required. Issues like this will not be controversial. Black lives matter. And, we need to understand that.

      1. As an Afro-Latino male in the U.S, it is difficult on a daily basis. Im of a lighter color, but I have african ancestry in my blood and heritage. Hate seeing my people continue to suffer as we “supposedly” made strides as a society. As minorites, we have to come together and find a solution that end it for all one day

        1. It often feels likes it’s two steps forwards, one step back. But when a populist racist gets voted in, it’s more like two steps forward then you get hit in the face by cop with a baton

  21. I like how you broke down and educated people reading the different forms of racism that exist. I want to start by saying I hope you are continuing to heal from your experience. I remember being profiled after being a victim (pedestrian) struck by a motor vehicle because of my name (Alghashiyah). Mind you I am a u.s citizen born and raised, this occurred shortly after 9/11. The officer took my id without consulting me because he assumed it was fake. I as a black women isn’t exempt from racism. I guess because I was in an “affluent” neighbor I didn’t belong. It’s so sad what African American folks have to go through. Be safe!!

    1. I count myself lucky that I was born as a black man in the UK and not the US, racism in the UK is still very much a problem, but a cop can’t just walk up and shoot you and expect to get away with it here. Take care and be safe, as it looks like Trump is trying to go full dictator in his response to the protests

      1. He’s proving himself to be the buffoon everyone thought he was. My country is… in a very scary place right now. COVID-19 has only magnified every issue our government has.

  22. You always have such well-researched posts! Sadly, there were a few names you mentioned I didn’t recognize, and I’m American. Nobody should have to experience hate or prejudice, especially based on something that is completely out of their control.

    1. Thank you. There are a lot of these events, so it’s not a surprise you wouldn’t know them all, even with living in America. It would be nice if everyone could live with discrimination and hate, but it doesn’t appear like everyone is willing to let that happen

  23. Thanks for this post! I learned something about the various forms of discrimination listed here. As a black woman, confronting racism and colorism is part of the experience growing up in America. I believe what we are experiencing here is the next Civil Rights Movement and that something good will eventually come from all the injustice. We will be better than we were before. I’ve seen people actively reaching out to learn about implicit bias/racism to gain more understanding of the black experience which is important. Change first starts in the heart. Thank you for sharing the information!

    1. A slave trade statue was pulled down and dumped in the sea in the UK, so what we’re seeing is a global Civil Rights Movement. Hopefully this global effort will bring enough pressure to create real changes

  24. This was a very informative post. Finding ways to begin to change things isn’t going to be easy as we all know. Learning about the different ways injustice and racism impact people’s lives is a solid start.

  25. Thanks for sharing this information. You broke down the information very clearly. I am so ashamed that discrimination and racism still exists today. I might be Caucasian, but this still makes me angry. We need to stand together, and make sure that this ends.

  26. Thank you for taking the time to be part of the change. Discrimination is everywhere and people get hurt from. There are too many stories to count and I think the recent even did a huge impact on the world.

  27. It’s a shame that we still live in a world where people like you still have to write these types of articles. I hope all the current situation brings about positive change for the future. Really informative x

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