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Sharing – How Discrimination Affects Your Mental And Physical Health

As a middle-aged white man, I’m the last person who should be talking about discrimination. Not that I’ve never experienced it, but it’s been at such a small level as to make this article seem ridiculous. On the other hand, I want to talk about this article because I want all of us, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc., to stop and consider where we might be harming others. Because even small acts of discrimination do harm people.

“And while it’s never a surprise to deal with discrimination, it’s always harmful to experience. And that harm goes further than you probably think.”

I know many of you will start thinking, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me,” because that’s what we were all taught as children, right? Someone’s words can never hurt, so it doesn’t matter what we say or believe, but it does. It does because many people in our society are treated differently, discriminated against, valued as less than others, and hated just because of who they are. Now imagine what kind of mental harm that does to someone when they live with it daily. Imagine how much stress they live with knowing that people all around them hate them, and imagine what that high heart rate, pumping adrenalin, and hyperawareness does to them physically.

We need to talk about this for two reasons. One, whenever we talk about mental health, we must remember that for many people, their world causes mental harm. We can’t tell them to ask for help and decide that we don’t need to attempt to change the world that causes this harm.

Secondly, we need to talk about how we lessen this harm and the things we do that increase it instead. As many of you know, I don’t talk about politics often. I sometimes have, but it’s not a massive focus around here. On this topic, though, we need to talk a little about politics because there are far too many political “leaders” who are causing harm to people. (I use quotes because I don’t see inspiring hate, racism, sexism, and discrimination as leadership.)

Each of us has a choice to make. We can acknowledge that millions of people are oppressed and discriminated against. We can recognize that each additional act of oppression adds to the stress and mental health issues, or we can ignore that and do nothing. We can support celebrities, politicians, and religious figures who have no issue oppressing other people, who favor discriminating against people who are not like us, or we can contribute to lessening the discrimination people face and the harm caused.

Read the article below. Read it slowly and thoughtfully. Then choose wisely.

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