How racism impacts the health of Black Americans

Dr. David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, was recently interviewed by MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Mika Brezinski in “How racism impacts the health of Black Americans”.

“Racism has negative effects on the health of the African-American population and other populations of color, particularly in the stress of interpersonal relationships,” says Dr. William. “I have developed measures to capture the experience of discrimination such as The Everyday Discrimination Scale.”

He continues, “For example, the scale asks individuals if they have been treated with less courtesy and with less respect than others. It also asks if other people have acted afraid of the individual or think of the individual as less smart.”

“Individuals who have scored high on this scale have higher levels of blood pressure, higher levels of inflammation, and higher development of heart disease. Across a range of health indicators, the interpersonal experience of discrimination adversely impacts health.”

Watch the full interview.

Quotations edited for clarity and brevity.