New research shows that racism comes with a shocking price tag.
A study conducted in Australia reveals that racial discrimination costs taxpayers nearly $45 billion dollars a year in that country alone. The study focused on the public health costs of discrimination concerning mental health, such as depression and anxiety. Researchers also concluded that one in five Australians experience racism.
The study was partly funded by Australian Human Rights Commission and VicHealth; research was conducted by Yin Paradies and Amanuel Elias. Paradies states, “We focus on a few specific health outcomes, mental-health outcomes — depression, anxiety and psychological disorders. Obviously, there would be other impacts of racism, but that’s the cost for those particular disorders, from our study. So, basically, racism is a form of stress. It contributes to poor health. That’s been known for some years.”
A similar study was conducted in the U.S in 2013 by the W.K Kellogg Foundation that suggested that racial discrimination costs nearly $1.9 trillion per year. This study focused on intersection of race, class, residential segregation, and income disparity. These studies show that racism is still very much an issue, and it’s costing people both health and money problems.
Dr. Paradies has faced some criticism for the study. Simon Breheny, the director of policy at the Institute of Public Affairs, thinks that the study paints a false picture of Australia. He states, “The significant risks that come out of this are that we’re misled about the seriousness of racial discrimination in Australia. The reality is that we are a very open, very tolerant, country. If you go to a lot of places around the world, they’re nowhere near as open and as tolerant as we are here. And so I think this gives a misleading picture of where Australia is at the moment, socially.”
Dr. Paradies rejects the criticism, stating, “There are limitations to the study. Certainly, more work could be done looking at what other forms of stress contribute to these health outcomes.”