A study conducted by the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, examined how often Blackteens experience racial discrimination each day – either personally or vicariously and online or offline.
The researchers surveyed 101 Black youth between ages 13 and 17 from predominantly black neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., each day for two weeks about their experiences with racial discrimination and measured changes in their depressive symptoms across that period. The teens reported more than 5,600 experiences of racial discrimination in total – an average of more than five experiences per day.
“This research reflects what researchers and activists have asserted for years: Black adolescents are forced to face anti-Black microaggressions on a daily basis. Whether it is being teased by peers, asked to speak for their racial group in class or seeing a racist post on social media,” said lead author Devin English, an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Public Health.
The study exposed that Black teens experience a range of bully, from teasing about physical appearance to overt discrimination, which mainly occurred online and led to short-term increases in depressive symptoms.
Discrimination came in the form of teasing by peers about wearing their hair natural, seeing jokes about their race online and witnessing a family member or friend being treated poorly due to their race or ethnicity.
English suggested that young teachers often see this teasing as harmless, but the results show constant and severe racial teasing are harmful for Black adolescents.