Why We Think Black People Feel Less Pain Than White People And How It Affects Society (VIDEO)
Posted: 10/17/2013 6:17 pm EDT | Updated: 10/17/2013 6:17 pm EDT
For centuries, society has grappled with both implicit and
explicit examples of racism that have played out in many different
areas, including legislation and the criminal justice system. But now
scientists may be able to provide more insight as to why this may be the
A recent study examining racial disparities
reveals that people are more empathetic towards whites than towards
blacks, particularly when related to medical treatment or pain. The
discovery, known as the racial empathy gap, shows that people, including
medical personnel, assume black people feel less pain than white people
and helps explain disparities in areas from health care to criminal
The findings come just several months after a study published in a March issue of the American Journal of Public Health reported researchers found that two-thirds of doctors harbored "unconscious" racial biases toward patients.
The racial empathy gap serves as an explanation for these
"unconscious" racial biases, as assumptions about what it means to be
black-- as it pertains to privilege and adversity-- could, in fact, be the reason behind the findings.
HuffPost Live host, Marc Lamont Hill, hosted a conversation about the
study, discussing the possible reasons behind why people think black
people feel less pain and how it affects society as a whole.