How can racial discrimination affect a person?
One very profound way that racial discrimination can protect a person is economically, financially. I have seen people who didn’t get jobs they applied for that would have been a great financial benefit to their family. I’ve seen people being fired because of their race and having to go out and, maybe file bankruptcy or have other adverse financial implications. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. That’s usually the easiest to measure, because you can measure how much you would have made if you hadn’t been discriminated against, and show what you actually made, and that difference is what we call back pay and front pay. That’s to help ameliorate the financial ramifications of race discrimination.
More insidious is the emotional and mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life that people suffer because they’re fired wrongfully. When you’re fired, not because of anything you’ve done but just because of who you are, that can have a devastating effect psychologically on people. In America, many of us measure our self worth not so much by who we are but what we do. When our livelihood and our professions are taken away from us because of our inclusion in a racial group, that can have tremendous detrimental effects on people’s mental health. That’s not to be underestimated.
While you’re pursuing your legal options, you should also be pursuing your mental health options. Maybe getting some therapy or other physical care, because the stress, the frustration, the humiliation, the anger, frankly, that comes from all of that can take a tremendous toll psychologically and also physically. That’s one way, those are many ways that racial discrimination can have a pervasive effect on the victim.
*This is a transcript of the Facebook Live video from 7-26-18 Click here to watch the video.