Discrimination Affect On Individuals and Society

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America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. (Dinesh D’Souza) If this were to be true, why do poverty, violence, crime, and discrimination still exist? Moreover, discrimination is an issue of great consequence. Discrimination: the unjust treatment of different people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex (English by Oxford Dictionaries). Hispanic discrimination began around 1848 when the United States won the Spanish-American War. If America is a great, free, and decent society, why is discrimination still a problem today, after all of these years? According to a Pew Research Center survey on race in America, 50% of high school graduates said they had regularly or occasionally experienced discrimination. The discrimination against Hispanic high school students is a major issue that can lead to mental health issues such as depression, aggression, and low efficacy.

One of the major health issues caused by discrimination in high school is depression. The young minds of teenagers are fragile and sensitive, and discrimination drastically affects one’s mindset. A study led by Selcuk Sirin, associate professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt, surveyed 173 Hispanic teens, grades 10-12 in New York City high schools. There were higher depression issues found in students in the eleventh and twelfth grade. The increase in symptoms of depression was a result of discrimination-related stress (Harrison 6 & 7). Depression leads to changes in appetite, sleep, energy level, concentration, and daily behavior. It also leads to other unhealthy issues, such as low self-esteem, isolation, and suicide. The outcome of these negative effects on teens will follow them in the future when entering society. Notably, some people believe the cause of depression is actually created outside of school. They believe that it may result from disputes or personal conflicts from home. This is proven incorrect by the article Discrimination Leads to Depression in Minority Children by Elements Behavioral Health. The article claimed, although personal reasons may be a cause, discrimination at school is more likely the cause of depression in students. The most common forms of discrimination were by being called insulting names or being accused unfairly of disrupting the class. The population of Hispanic students is continuously rising in America. These teenagers are the next growing generation; they are the future of society. Due to discrimination, their newly developing minds continue to be contaminated. This corruption prevents Hispanic students from entering the world with a full, healthy mindset.

The second major issue caused by discrimination in Hispanic students is aggression. The result of aggression in students from discrimination can lead to violence, which includes bullying, threats, and shootings. Aggression could also cause other behavioral issues such as alcohol consumption and drug use. The article, The Relationship Between Community Violence, Ethnic Discrimination, and Aggression claimed research reported exposure to higher levels of ethnic discrimination was positively related to aggression (?–zdikmenli-Demir 8). The outcome of the aggression and experience of discrimination could lead to threats of others and puts teens at a higher risk of criminal activities.

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