Racism: Historical Legacy, Exploitation, and Oppression

Published: 2023-09-17
Racism: Historical Legacy, Exploitation, and Oppression
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Discrimination
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1154 words
10 min read


Racism underscores an emotional, elusive, and historical pervasive fact in the society of the United States. In the societal context, racism is depicted in the realms of historical legacy, encompassing involuntary slavery, legal support of second-hand citizenship, constitutional denial of equal rights, and ubiquitous (Jones, 1988). That is together with numerous forms of emotional, social, economic, psychological exploitation, and oppression of black Americans of African descent (Jones, 1988). Such oppressions, discriminations, and exploitations have been normalized as problems that present unequal opportunities on minorities who are considered in the status of immigrants, the elderly, chronic poverty, and ethnicity in the spheres of color. Racism has developed and refined regarding black Americans due to their black skin and biological roots that further masks merger fundamental problems of in-group preferences, cultural ethos, and individual comparisons. The big question is, what effects does racism present on black men? Racism therefore shows dangerous effects through institutional and interpersonal racism, which have an adverse physiological and psychological impact on black men.

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Interpersonal Racism

Interpersonal racism underlies the discriminatory and extreme behaviors directed towards individuals because of their race and ethnicity. On the other hand, institutional racism underscores both the informal and formal policies and practices aimed at denying individuals their values and forcing them into internalization of the conceptions of racism as held by their oppressors (Clark, 2001). Such interpersonal and institutional racism may exhibit aspects of stressors, especially among black men that subsequently results in increased psychological reactivity that, when sustained for an extended period may lead to cardiovascular diseases and disorders (Clark, 2001). Therefore, there is the imperative need to eliminate racism and its effects, coupled with ways of shielding the black men from such menacing stressors of racism that have adverse effects on them.

The unique psycho-social and contextual factors emanating from the pervasive exposure of racism and discrimination create additional daily stressors for African-American men. Such effects can be manifested in the spheres of trauma, especially on racial violence (American Psychology Association 2020). Moreover, racism presents adverse impacts on the self-consciousness of black males’ conceptions of masculinity and their psychological functioning. Racism furthered presents complexities in black men's gender role socialization, especially in the paradigms of historical colonization and slavery which shapes their world view experiences in the United States and their adaptations to the Eurocentric standards of masculinity (Pierre et al.,2001). It is also worth noting that racism affects the black men's well-being, hence a need for an Afrocentric counseling approach, coupled with indigenous healing to traditional counseling models.

Similarly, racism affects black men in the realms of high-profile shootings by the police and deaths of many black men in custody and some even when jogging, thus presenting cries across the entire country. A typical example is the death of a black man George Floyd on May 25th 2020 by a white police officer in Minneapolis. The shooting to death of Ahmadu Arbery on Feb 23rd, 2020, at Brunswick in Georgia by a white father and son (Assari,2020). Such incidences provoked a wide protest and outrage in the cities across the US. Therefore, racism has adverse effects on the livelihood and health of black men, which go beyond the shootings by the police, and black men have to pay the highest costs of racism.

Additionally, black men's life expectancy is 79.9 years, which is far much below white men, that is 76.4 years, white women, which is 81.2 years, and black women, which is 78.5 years as a result of racism and its associated injustices and poverty. Black men are more vulnerable to dying from vast types of cancer stroke, HIV, and homicide (Assari, 2020). Many researches link such deaths, the poor physical and mental outcomes of black men to racism (Assari, 2020). Racism is an experience that daily harms the health of black men and subsequently resulting in chronic diseases and poor health. A report shows that approximately 66% of black men experience daily discrimination at higher levels. (Assari, 2020). Some of the common examples of racism experienced by black men juxtaposed being turned down for a job, being treated differently at the workplace, thus presenting primary risk factors for health problems.

Also, racism affects black men in the realms of education, which protects black men less than it protects black women in the effects of attainment of knowledge, on their psychological distress and symptoms of depression. As a result of that, there are higher diminishing returns on economic and non-economic resources, which is more pronounced on black men. Black men with higher levels of motivation and aspiration hence get discouraged, feel unhealthy, get sick, and die earlier. Conversely, black men are still unfairly treated in the realms of health care systems by receiving lower-quality healthcare as compared to white men. That subsequently results in deteriorating their ability to manage diseases, develop worse outcomes, get sicker, and die earlier. Also, the recent shootings of black men by police and others have depicted that black men are targeted by white men and the group in charge of law and order (Assari, 2020). That is a depiction of how biases and social structures resulting in poor health, depressions, and deaths of black men.

Racism also underlies blocked opportunities for black men among other types of discrimination that are very considerable, and such discriminatory experiences make livers harder and shorter for black men. Racism confers risk factors on black men encompassing heart diseases, suicides, depressions, and even deaths, since black men experience racial discrimination more than other groups, including black women (Assari,2020). Therefore, racism affects the ethnic and racial minority, especially the black men in the spheres of discrimination and racism, which are the realms of anxiety, depression, use of substances, suicide, and adverse effects on both their mental and physical health.


In a nutshell, racism has adverse interpersonal and institutional effects on black men's psychological and physiological well-being. Racism on black men comes on the forms of prejudicial and discriminatory behaviors directed towards them, coupled with denying equitable treatment because of their race or ethnic affiliation. Effects of racism may make black men develop vast stressors that may subsequently result in diseases, cardiovascular disorders, psychological disorders, and depressions.


American Psychology Association. (2020). Physiological and Psychological Impacts of Racismand Discrimination for African Americans. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/racism-stress

Assari, S. (2020). George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery deaths: Racism Causes Life-ThreateningConditions for Black Men Every day. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/george-floyd-and-ahmaud-arbery-deaths-racism-causes-life-threatening-conditions-for-black-men-every-day-120541

Clark, V. (2001). The Perilous Effects of Racism. PubMed, National Library of Medicine.11(4):769-772. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11763300/

Jones, M. (1988). Racism in Black and White. In: Katz P.A., Taylor D.A. (eds) EliminatingRacism. Perspectives in Social Psychology (A Series of Texts and Monographs).Springer, Boston, MA.DOI. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-0818-6_6

Pierre, M., Mahalik, J., & Woodland. M. (2001). The Effects of Racism, Africans SelfConsciousness, and Psychological Functioning on Black Masculinity: A Historicaland Social Adaptation Framework. Journal of African American Men. 6 (2):19-39. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41819424?seq=1

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