“From the lab to neighborhoods: An examination of the psychological and physiological consequences of racial discrimination”
Mounting research evidence indicates that racial discrimination has harmful psychological and physiological consequences for African Americans. However, existing studies are often laden with methodological issues, including issues related to retrospective recall bias, the use of hypothetical scenarios, and limited ecological validity. Two of the studies I will present utilize a novel laboratory experimental design wherein I manipulate racial cues (e.g., nonracial versus racial) for a situation in which African Americans are treated unfairly and examine African Americans’ responses to the unfair treatment. Across the studies, I found evidence that the racial event(s) was more strongly associated with negative responses as compared to the nonracial event, suggesting that racial discrimination may be a distinct stressor with consequences that exceed those of nonracial stressors. I then introduce some of my current work focusing on neighborhoods as critical spaces in which African Americans, especially African American males, interact with police officers and are burdened with racial discrimination, racial profiling, and surveillance. Implications will be discussed.