Though Black males with internalized self-image problems had shorter telomeres, Black males with positive attitudes had longer ones.
“African-American men who have more positive views of their racial group may be buffered from the negative impact of racial discrimination,” Chae said. “In contrast, those who have internalized an anti-Black bias may be less able to cope with racist experiences, which may result in greater stress and shorter telomeres.”
The results come around extensive media coverage of issues like stop and frisk and store profiling. Respondents most-commonly reported police discrimination, followed by employment discrimination, in the study.
Chae warned that there is a need to follow the participants over time to ensure the findings.
“Despite the limitations of our study, we contribute to a growing body of research showing that social toxins disproportionately impacting African-American men are harmful to health,” he said. “Our findings suggest that racism literally makes people old.”