Repercussions Of Racism: The Effects on African-American's

by Austin Robson on November 13, 2016 - 11:41pm

Summary of Academic Article


Lambert, Herman, Bynum and Ialongo's (2009) study was based on the relation  between how African-Americans perceive their race and control over their lives and the potential depressive symptoms that come along with a negative perception. The authors believed that negative perception of race and control led to depression symptoms later on. 500 first year middle school students, consisting of both genders and mostly African-Americans, were the main demographic used in this study. Studies were also done with this demographic in grades 8 and 10 to see the lasting effects that perceived racism has on depression among the target area. Lambert, Herman, Bynum and Ialongo's way of gathering this data was by way of face to face interviews with the students within school grounds. However, for the minimal population that could not attend at school  meetings were held at a place of their choosing. The authors had different ways of measuring each variable such as perceived racism, perceived control and depressive symptoms. Perceived racism was rated on a scale of 1-7 on how often the subject experiences racism in a given year, depression systems  were done in a similar except it was rated on a scale of 1-4 on how often a person feels depressed and perceived control was also used on a 1-4 scale on how often people feel like they have control on the outcomes that occur during their life. What the authors did for the results was split up the findings between genders to find if there was any disparities between men and women in this issue. However both genders showed that their perception of race (it was mostly negative) led to depression symptoms just two years later in their lives. What the authors did find however in terms of gender disparity was that women may be more susceptible to depression than their male counterparts. What the authors concluded from this study was that there may be other factors contributing to depression (environmental, contextual) that we as a society need to be more aware of. They also state that events of racism in life leads to having less sense of control over your life thus leading to a higher chance of depression.


Response of Academic Article


What this study helps us understand is the actual effects racism has on the victims themselves. We always hear about racist acts and racism in society but we never hear about the psychological toll it takes on the people it effects. It opens the eyes of people who aren't in that minority group that African-Americans are put a psychological disadvantage because of what they have to deal with because of the color of the skin, brining the concept of systemic racism to the forefront. What was also important about this study is that it showed the hardships of black womanhood and the struggles they have to go through dealing with racism and also sexism. African-Americans suffer from subtle, sometimes blatant, racist acts that leads to them believing they have no self control over how they can live their lives and this is something as a white man that I will just never experience. Some drawbacks in this study however was the limited demographic used. Teen's statistically are more depressed than other social groups because of all the changes going on in their lives. This is where I feel the results could be a bit skewed but that doesn't erase the notion that these findings are very much legit and important in progressing the way we attempt to tackle racism.


Lambert, S. F., Herman, K. C., Bynum, M. S., & Ialongo, N. S. (2009). Perceptions of racism and depressive symptoms in african american adolescents: The role of perceived academic and social control. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,38(4), 519-31. Retrieved from


The title of this post motivated me to read more, when I saw the title I was curious to learn what the consequences of racism are on an individual. I find this interesting information to know because it allows us to be aware of what others of minority groups face. I did not realize that the consequences of racism were this drastic, reading this post and learning that racism leads to depression a lot of the time is alarming. I think as a society we know that racism plays an effect on individuals but we never think of how severe these consequences are which prevents us from regarding the topic as extremely problematic. When you said that black women face the biggest struggle compared to everyone else, it made me think of the concept of white privilege and male privilege talked about in my class. In class we discussed how there is an invisible backpack of privilege that is associated with white people, it is not something white people work for and earn but simply something they are born with due to the fact that they are white. Same goes for men, due to the fact that they are not born a women, they are rewarded with an invisible backpack of privilege. Learning this, I am aware of how disadvantaged African-American women are, they face the disadvantage of not only black skin but also being born a woman. I agree with what you are saying and I find this topic is something that should be given more thought and attention due to its large importance.

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