Hispanic teens at higher risk for suicide

I spotted this on Yahoo yesterday:




The story about Hispanic teens notes that in addition to being at higher risk for suicide, Hispanic teens are also more likely to use coke, heroin, X, and meth, and are less likely to use condoms. Dr. Glenn Flores from the Medical College of Wisconsin said, "We really don’t understand this phenomenon as well as we should."

Huh. Well, maybe it has something to do with our president using primarily Hispanic undocumented immigrants as a political football, and conservatives calling for a fence to keep Hispanics out of the country, and racists standing along the border, spouting off into any camera they can find their intent to shoot illegals on sight. I don’t know. Maybe it's just me, but I believe if I were a Hispanic teen, I'd find the constant drum of anti-Hispanic sentiment among the ruling political party in my home country fairly fucking depressing.

Kids tend to internalize that kind of thing. It hurts them. Not that the family-values-moral-majority-protect-the-children GOP cares a whit.

The relationship between societal views of groups and mental health--including self-esteem--are well documented, as is the relationship between the perceived threat of violence and mental health. LGBT teens are at higher risk for suicide, depression, and self-destructive behavior for the same reasons; one of the effects of policy rooted in discrimination is to legitimize public expressions of said discrimination. Hate crime doesn't happen in a void, and when we see such a juxtaposition of headlines--one which references a policy that is red meat for anti-immigrant conservatives (a group through which runs a decidedly racist streak) and one which suggests that children within the politically targeted (and marginalized) group are more prone to self-destructive behavior--we must not ignore the relationship between the two.

Politics, even and especially the cynical politics of hatemongering and scapegoating, has consequences. When "rallying the base" depends on making political hay out of the lives and concerns of another group, we are fools to believe that if diminishing those lives and concerns can excite the people outwith the group, they can't also affect the people within.

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