Recent Corporate Commitments To Racial Equality

Recent Corporate Commitments To Racial Equality

Racial equality is an issue that has been on the books for quite some time. However, in recent years, the spotlight has been on companies and what they are doing to implement real change. The idea of inclusive growth is neither new nor a passing trend. The nation’s legacy of racism and the growing public outcry for inclusivity has spurred business leaders in the private and economic sectors to do what they can to help level the playing field.

The Corporate Response To Call For Change

The pandemic has affected the Black population more severely than any other in America. When paired with the wholesale abuse of power by the police department and the justice system, movements that support people of color have picked up steam. NAACP, Black Lives Matter, UndocuBlack Network, and the Color of Change among many others have called for those in power, specifically corporations, to support change and racial equality in the country. While businesses usually take a neutral stance in issues of politics, religion, and race, these calls simply could not be left unaddressed. Many leaders in both the private and public sectors have publicly shown their support of the African American Community. The method in which support has been shown varies depending on the company, but every ounce of support is appreciated.

How Corporate America Is Supporting Racial Equality

Some companies are using philanthropy to show their support while others are giving direct donations to communities in need. While these are welcomed, they are more of a stop-gap than a working solution. Changing business practices by investing in POC communities and making racial equality changes from the top will support more lasting change. In various industries, CEOs have taken note and made a point of adding more black and other people of color not only to their employee roster but also into higher positions of power. To take things even further, a large number of companies have used their influence to force or encourage change within local institutions and civic organizations.

Supporting The POC Community Where It Counts

Companies from all industries such as fashion, technology, beauty, and more have committed their wallets to the cause. These funds have gone to help raise awareness about racism and its effects in addition to helping communities that have a high population of POC. Not to be overlooked are the billions of dollars corporate America has poured into funds that are dedicated to increasing diversity in the workplace and also ending police brutality. In fact, by the middle of 2020, there were close to 2 billion dollars pledged by operations to help and address racial inequity as a whole. One of the most notable contributions is by Google. As the world’s largest and most used search engine, they are in a unique position to effect real change in the USA. They provided $25 million dollars worth of Google Ad Grants to groups and organizations that are fighting racial injustice and working towards racial equality. The importance of these grants is that they allowed groups that may not have been able to afford prime placement to disperse critical information to the public.

Companies Fighting Back Against Racial Inequality

While not everyone has joined the fight, there are plenty of companies both large and small that are supporting the fight against racial inequality. PayPal has pledged $530 million to help support businesses owned by black people and other minorities. Google has made a point of increasing the number of blacks and other POC represented in the C-Suite. Bank of America has pledged $1 billion to help with racial inequality caused by the pandemic. PepsiCo used $400 million to create an imitative that deals with racial inequality in business relationships and hiring decisions. Amazon has distributed 10 million dollars to a dozen organizations fighting racial inequality.

More than money is needed to help root out and cure racial injustice. Corporations have also issued statements and promise to address internal issues that cover a lack of diversity and racially charged business practices. Diversifying the leadership is one of the main ways corporations have stated they will start remedying racial inequality. A diverse power structure will better place companies in a position to not only identify bias but to mitigate it more effectively. At the retail level, many popular chain stores have made a commitment to remove theft deterrent casing from black products which have long been seen as symbolic segregation in the POC community. This year has already seen major rebranding of many products that were racially charged or otherwise formed on antiquated ideas that supported racist stereotypes.

Is It Enough To Make A Difference?

Race has been a problem in the country since well before its formal creation. As long as it has taken for the country to be formed, you can expect it to take just as long for the population to reach some semblance of equality. Slavery was abolished more than a century ago, but segregation was abolished less than 60 years ago. Racial discrimination has been a problem ever since, but with time, education, and a concentrated effort, the population can start to put real changes into effect. While the monetary pledges and even the changes to the corporate structure may never be enough, it is a great start to help the nation start to heal. True racial equality will happen when people stop viewing those around them as different, but rather as fellow human beings. Until then, changes in the corporate field will help fuel changes from the top down.  

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Racism and Mental Health In The Black Community

Racism and Mental Health In The Black Community

Racism has always been an important topic in the black community, and in recent years the spotlight has brought an increased awareness of the issue to the nation as a whole. Mental health is also an important topic, but one that is not often admitted or addressed in communities of color. One aspect of racism that many healthcare providers are starting to point out is the emotional and mental side effects of systemic racism on people of color. Although Clinicians of Color have been speaking on this topic for years, it is only recently that non-POC experts started paying attention.


The Effects of Racism on Mental Health

People of color, especially those in the African American community have completely different life experiences than other races. As a whole, black lives have been marginalized since before the formation of the country, and have always been viewed as “less than” in just about every aspect of life. Bigotry, oppression, fear, and lack of proper access have created a generational mental health burden that is unique to the black community. In addition, the usual mental health concerns and triggers that affect society as a whole are also present. Living in a society where racism is a normal part of life causes mental trauma that is not fully understood. These traumas directly translate to an increase in mental illness which should be taken seriously, but is often overlooked.


Trauma & Mental Health In The Black Community

In the majority of mental health conditions that exist, the most common reason is past trauma. This can be as simple as a difficult childhood to a traumatic event. However, until recently racism and bigotry were not viewed as traumas that could lead to various mental health problems. Racial trauma that is obvious is very much a concern, however, the subtle and repeated traumas that black people experience on a daily basis are even more harmful.

Being a target of suspicion or being avoided due to fear and ignorance plays on the psyche in a myriad of ways. The systematic denial of services, loans and even proper medical care breeds inherent distrust that can seldom be remedied. The constant fear of arrest and incarceration is an ongoing trauma that is further exacerbated by wholesale racial profiling.


The Effects of Racism Against African Americans Seeking Mental Health Services

The black community has a strong distrust of doctors and psychiatrists, all with good reason. Aside from the fact that the black community has long been used as an unauthorized testing ground for all manner of treatments, many doctors overlook basic problems in lieu of giving severe diagnoses. For example, the percentage of people of color who suffer from schizophrenia is on par with that of whites; however, clinicians tend to focus more on psychotic symptoms when dealing with a black person. As a result, major depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health concerns are overlooked in favor of a schizophrenia diagnosis. 

As a whole, it has been proven that people of color are given a schizophrenia diagnosis at a much higher rate than other races, even when other mood conditions are present. Of course, this leads to the patient being overmedicated and their actual problem left undiagnosed and unaddressed. What’s worse, black children and black teenagers who are suffering from various mental health disorders are referred into the juvenile justice system due to behavior instead of being referred for mental health services.


The POC Community & Avoidance of Mental Health Concerns

Aside from being denied care or given inaccurate treatments, there is a rather large stigma in the black community regarding the need for mental health care. The general distrust of the medical field and the constant burden of racism has led to a generational avoidance of mental health services as a whole. If you suggest a black person visit a therapist, most will deny the need or state that such help is not effective. The fact that there are so few mental health professionals of color further limits the desire or the ability of those in the black community to seek help when needed.

How Racism Affects Individual Mental Health

Constantly being bombarded with outward and systematic racism leads to a myriad of mental health issues. Often this turns to anger and rage when there is no outlet or help is available. The most common condition caused by racism is depression, and in many cases, racial trauma actually results in PTSD. Increase racial stress causes problems not only with mental health, but also one’s physical health. Experiencing and observing racism both result in increased stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination occur almost on a daily basis, this sustained pressure leads to often permanent changes in the brain due to sustained production of stress hormones.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Mainstream clinicians accepting that racism has a very real and tangible effect on mental health is the first step on a long path to health. Now that more medical professionals are aware of how racism can affect the mind and body, those seeking help from the black community have a better chance at receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment for their conditions. Convincing the POC community to actually seek help will take time, but knowing that there is a listening ear is a good place to start. 

Paying Attention To Your Health For The Future

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