A collaborative study between the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, and School of Public Health suggests that race, and not gender or socioeconomic status, has the biggest impact on African-American teens’ mental health. The study found that affluent African-American teens are actually more likely than poor African-American teens to suffer from major depressive disorders due to the discrimination they experience. The researchers theorize that affluent African-Americans experience more mental health issues because of psychological phenomenon like “John Henryism:” a response to stress that involves increasing the level of output to the detriment of one’s physiological well-being. The findings highlight the critical role racial discrimination plays in the lives of African-Americans, no matter and perhaps even in spite of, their socioeconomic mobility.
A new study from the University of California and the University of Arizona finds that college and university recruiters making off-campus visits target high schools with predominantly white and affluent student populations. Not only were recruiters from both public and private institutions more likely to visit private high schools than public high schools, they also visited affluent and predominantly white schools more often than high-performing schools with more diversity. Karina Salazar, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona and co-author of the study, elaborated on the findings: “The debate around access to higher education too often focuses on students’ abilities while ignoring the role that colleges and universities play in targeting specific populations of potential students. We hope that our data will provide the attention and insight needed to create change that will make college access more equitable.”
In a feature from the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History magazine, trans history scholars reflect on the development of their field. They explain that the field is broken up into two camps—those who study the lives of trans people through history, and those who use the trans perspective as a critical lens for understanding historical events. The historians point out that studying the history of trans people is full of archival challenges: many accounts of trans lives come from “people looking from the outside,” like police, doctors, psychologists, judges, and newspaper reporters. According to scholar Emily Skidmore, when trans voices are documented, they’re usually interacting with authorities, and may have given “curated responses they hoped would allow them to continue to live.” Historians using a trans lens see trans as destabilizing the concept of gender itself, and often engage in interdisciplinary work with gender studies scholars. One of the most compelling promises of the field is that studying the history of trans lives debunks the political notion that trans people are somehow new. The historians close by noting that there’s a lot of work to be done regarding trans people of color. Scholar Elizabeth Reis writes, “The relation between race and trans identities is an avenue that I imagine will be pursued by scholars in the next few years.”