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Discrimination Hurts Everyone

Discrimination Hurts Everyone

The psychological consequences of social rejection, exclusion, and discrimination can be similar to those of physical assault. Teaching students of all ages about the value of diversity and the serious mental health impacts of bias and stereotyping will help end widespread discrimination in the United States, according to an American Psychological Association task force report.

The task force looked at decades of psychological research and listed ways organizations and individuals can reduce prejudice and work to improve psychological wellbeing:

  • Organizations can work to improve contact among diverse groups.
  • Schools and caregivers can encourage children from different racial or ethnic groups to cooperate in learning exercises.
  • Individuals can make a special effort to interact with and befriend others who are not part of their particular group.

Also included in the report were recommendations for the field of psychology to play a larger role in decreasing disparities in health care for diverse populations:

  • Develop and distribute educational materials on prejudice and discrimination to day care, Head Start, preschool and kindergarten teachers and parents.
  • Develop and distribute classroom curricula that incorporate research evidence illustrating the effects of bias and stereotype.
  • Develop and encourage diversity training for psychologists and other mental health care providers.
  • Devote more psychological research to age, gender, disability status, economic and sexual orientation discrimination.

“Not only is discrimination wrong from the perspectives of morality and justice, it is ultimately detrimental to our entire country. Diversity increases our strength,” said task force Chair James M. Jones, PhD. “To thrive in a global economy within the context of the rapidly changing demographics in the United States, we must maximize our country’s potential through its diversity.”

Source: American Psychological Association

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

57 comments

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8:21AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Discrimination and prejudice comes from ignorance.
What kind of la la land does Peggy M. live in-she seems to believe that the media only reports violent crimes of whites against blacks and thinks the media never shows the reverse. I have seen all sorts of reports of crimes by people of every background in the media, does she drink too many Tea party concoctions or what?
Some Republicans keep posting things on Facebook about some nonsense that President Obama is not really an American citizen...and since it is illegal for any one to become president in the U.S. without actually being born in the States that is not really possible. Yet the myth continues to be perpetrated.

Spice is Life, a mix and variety is always intriguing-no one ever heard of a one colour rainbow!
So many difference in the world that it makes life interesting. I suspect if the world were all white then there would be prejudice because someone had red hair or blue eyes or brown eyes...humankind seems to find something to quibble about! We can never all be the same and who would want that boring monoculture!

5:21PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

thank you so very much

7:18PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Thanks for this great article. Discrimination exists because of people's ignorance. When people fear 'differences', that's when they start to discriminate. The way to get rid of this is to be educated about it and to learn to accept each other.

3:04PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

we need to stop being so ignorant!!

11:02AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

and it is not just a racial issue. It also concerns deeply the disabled and others of different sexualities.

7:04AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Discrimination is illegal but it happens; some might even call it morally reprehensible, but some religious texts are used to justify discrimination (particularly racial discrimination and the subjugation of women).

Social isolation and exclusion are not illegal nor should they be, yet these are defined as bullying and people want to make bullying illegal. No one is obligated to befriend nor include anyone in anything for any reason. There are just some people you choose not to interact with unless it's absolutely necessary. For example, I choose not to interact with someone who constantly has body odor but pretends that they don't. I also choose not to interact with people who drug or alcohol problems or who are abusive or rude. No one can make me interact with such people; children also have the right not to interact with such people and should not be deemed bullies because they choose not to interact with people they don't like.

4:14AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Discrimination is heart and soul breaking. Why do we need to feel superior to others to feel good about ourselves?

12:15AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

The smallest children need to be taught and re-taught because we have all seen parents being humbled when confronted by the truth from the mouths of their own little children.......

12:50AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

Discrimination is wrong and we need to teach more in schools as to WHY it is wrong

11:34AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

One thing that this article didn’t talk about is how important it is for the history of other cultures to be taught in school. We all come from different places with unique histories that shaped the culture we derive form, but in school any culture that is not US or British is just a side note in the text book. This is a real shame. How are our kids suppose to value other cultures if our history books just marginalize them?

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