A growing percentage of Native and Black parents in the United States said their children had faced racist experiences, according to a study published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine.
The study looked at parents’ reports of racist experiences their children faced between 2016 and 2020. The data comes from the National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationally representative survey conducted by groups from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The researchers, led by Dr. Micah Hartwell of Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, and Amy Hendrix-Dicken of the University of Oklahoma (Tulsa) School of Community Medicine, concluded that it there was an increase in reported racial incidents. by minority children from about 6.7% in 2016 to 9.3% by 2020.
Overall, 1,053 (out of 13,945, 6.7%) parents of minority children said their child had experienced discrimination at some point in their life in 2016. The percentage decreased slightly for reaching 6.4% (n=478 out of 6,275) of parents in 2017, and increasing steadily through 2020 to a peak of 1,455 parents (out of 13,755, 9.3%; Figure 1 and Table 1). Comparatively, 309 (of 34,537, 1.0%) parents of white children said their child had experienced discrimination in 2016; this increased by 0.7 points during this period and peaked in 2020 at 1.7% (n=331 of 27,411).
Structural racism harms children’s mental health
Indigenous children were discriminated against at rates ranging from 10.8% in 2016 to 15.7% in 2020, and black children ranging from 9.69% in 2018 to 15.04% in 2020, according to the report. .
Hendrix-Dicken says the findings are significant because early childhood exposure to discrimination can have long-term health consequences.
“Our study underscores the need for clinicians to expand their anti-racism resources and also highlights the role that culturally competent health care can play in mitigating the effects of negative childhood experiences with racism,” Hendrix said. -Dicken in a press release.
“As an Indigenous person myself, perhaps the most personally significant and surprising finding is the rate at which Indigenous children experience discrimination,” added Hendrix-Dicken.
In a phone interview with CNN, Hartwell described strategies to mitigate the root cause of the results.
“There’s a ton of things that minority communities have done if that was better represented in our education and child care and just overall awareness of coverage, that would provide a more equal context,” Hartwell said. .
“Understanding cultural context, historical trauma and providing mental health services from a culturally informed perspective is the best thing the medical community can do,” added Hartwell, who is also a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. at Oklahoma State University.
Covenant Elenwo, a medical student who worked on the study with Hartwell, told CNN: “Looking at some of the historical traumas of being black and indigenous, we have to understand that some of the traumas didn’t have still been processed in 2022.”