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Based on research and studies, not to mention real-life experiences, there are multiple ways that racism can affect health. According to a study done by the National Institute of Health, racism creates discrepancies in socioeconomic status which can then result in differential health outcomes; impact the quality in which people receive health care and adversely affect psychological and physiological functioning.

In Native American communities as well as Black communities, discrimination has lead to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. In other communities of color, the problem with internalizing racial discrimination has lead to behavioral conditions linked to anger and conduct problems. Additionally, it was found that discrimination has also lead to poorer self-esteem and higher levels of hopelessness.

Shaking It Off

Like any other type of stress, it is important to de-stress and relieve oneself of the anxiety that comes with racial comments from outside individuals.  However many studies that have been conducted, coping mechanisms for these experiences have not been professionally concluded.

As a community, though, learning from 11-year-old De La Cruz is a place to start. Many ignorant comments are made based on outside judgments. The fact that this Mariachi singer could quite literally shake it off and say that it didn’t matter what other people thought of him is a step in the right direction.

1. Know your worth. Self-esteem is the number one tool you need to strengthen to fight internalization of racial discrimination. Tell yourself why you’re special and important to those around you.

2. Know where you come from.  The more you know about who you are and where you come from, the prouder you will become. Latinos have a long history in the United States. Get to know about it and don’t let it anger you. Let it make you proud.

3. Know who loves you. No one can make you feel less than, besides yourself. These words have been uttered multiple times in various ways, but it’s true. Keep yourself surrounded by those who will make you feel better, who love you and support you. Find a support system and stick to it.

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