The hard times have affected all of us, but the recession has really taken a toll on Black men- even the ones you wouldn’t expect.
More prone to be negatively affected by the downswing in the economy, Black men are experiencing levels of joblessness not seen since decades past. When the unemployment rate among Black men reached 16.7% in 2010, some compared their experience to the great depression.
With more and more African-American men losing their jobs, new research from the National Survey of American Life showing poor Black men at high risk for depression does not come as much of a shock. But what is raising many eyebrows is the survey’s other notable finding: affluent Black men are at higher risk for depression than those on the other end of the income spectrum.
According to the recent survey, black males who earn $80,000 and more were more likely to report symptoms of depression than those who made $17,000 and below. Besides proving that every baller doesn’t look as gleeful as Dipset’s Jim Jones, the study gives new insights into black men’s measurements of wealth and emotional well being.
Darryl Hudson, Ph. D at the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of San Francisco said that the depression in affluent Black men could be linked to the stress of “integrated environments” where they are “more likely to be exposed to racial discrimination.” However, he cautions that the issue is less abut blame than complexity, saying:
“African-Americans with greater socioeconomic resources are farther away from their social support network, both physically and socially.”
The alienation felt by affluent Black men is only part of what is making them more likely to experience depression. Dr. Earlise Ward of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Nursing, says many affluent Black males often feel as if they are “riding solo.”
“They might have to worry about tokenism, the lack of African-American role models, social isolation from peers who make less money, and pressure from family and friends to provide for them…when all these things come together, you have the perfect storm for depression with African- American men making over $80,000,” said Ward.
While Black men making over $80,000 made up only 24% of the study’s sample and even less in the general population, their responses raise questions on the price paid for rising to the top. While it is commonly assumed that success can breed feelings of accomplishment, it seems that many negative emotions can arise as well. If depression and anxiety are the price Black men pay for “making it,” one has to wonder if race to the top really produces winners.
Tell us what you think Clutchettes- share your thoughts!