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The Mental Health Effects of Racial Profiling
|Page||111||Total Pages 20|
|Author(s)||Robert T. Carter, PhD.
Siliva L. Mazzula
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|Abstract||The findings of the study are consistent with previous research that has shown racism to be a stressor that leads to various psychological reactions. The overwhelming majority of the respondents (89%) indicated they had an experience with racism or discrimination. Of those who did encounter discrimination, approximately three-quarters reported some lasting mental health or emotional and psychological effect. Moreover, while Black Americans have been historically the most visible target for overt and covert acts of racism, they were not the only racial group to report such experiences. It was found that Latinos, Asians, and Biracial people also reported repeated experiences with discrimination and racism some in the form of being profiled. For most of the respondents experiences with discrimination occurred in many aspects of the participants lives including, work, school, and social situations, as well as were they lived and shopped. Hostile discrimination or racial harassment occurred more often, and with a higher psychological and emotional or mental health cost to the target. Overall, the results of this investigation have shown that for people of Color, experiences of racial discrimination and harassment were stressful and signs and symptoms of associated with traumatic reactions were reported. It was found that, in general, nearly all of the mental health effects reported by respondents were consistent with models of traumatic stress, and that a smaller proportion also fit the narrower criteria for PTSD or Acute Stress. Additionally, the results revealed that there are apparent differences between the types of experiences that constitute hostile and aversive racism and they result in different mental health effects. This later finding provides support for Carter and Helms (2002) proposal to deconstruct and redefine racism into hostile and aversive forms. The frequency with which the participants in the study reported extreme distress and other psychological and emotional reactions suggest mental health effects associated with racism including being profiled are both acute and chronic and as such violate targets rights and their psychological well being. Attention has been directed at the violations of legal rights in racial profiling and discrimination but less attention has been directed at mental health violations. We hope more attention will be given to the mental health or psychological cost of racial profiling.|