The Many Costs of Racism


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What is it like to be a black person in America today? The voices of middle class African Americans captured in this book will surprise those who think the era of racial discrimination is past. The Many Costs of Racism is a vivid account of the mental, physical health, and economic effects of everyday racism for Black Americans and of racism's high costs for all Americans. Even in the last decade, many thousands of discrimination complaints have been brought to U.S. courts and governmental agencies. Many Americans are familiar with overt cases of discrimination in the workplace such as the nooses hung recently by white employees at some worksites as racially harassing reminders of lynchings. While most whites of good will abhor blatant forms of discrimination, they rarely attend to the millions of subtle and covert cases of discrimination that take place yearly. Few white Americans are aware of the array of economic, stress-related, psychological, physical health, and family costs that are imposed on discrimination's many targets. Drawing on their own interviews and on other research studies, the authors document the substantial damage done to black individuals, families, and communities by the stress of everyday discrimination. The strong voices of African Americans here also tell how active resistance and coping strategies become a way of life. Beyond the toll on individuals and families, the authors assess the costs that society as a whole pays for the age-old structures of racial inequality that persist in workplaces, communities, and other major institutions. That cost is much too high and the book explains how all Americans can work to reduce it."

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