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Interesting, Social And Scary; The 2:1 Suicide Rate Between Caucasions And African Americans
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Interesting, Social And Scary; the 2:1 Suicide Rate Between Caucasions And African Americans

Whilst surfing through a few of our more well known social networking sites, I came across this interesting social curiousity; Caucasians are twice as likely to commit suicide as African Americans.

It's curious because historically, Caucasions are said to have had a better time of it than African Americans. That is, they have been said to have had a better social status generally. Surely then, it would be expected that African Americans would commit suicide at a rate double to that of Caucasions, rather than the mirror of this? Yet here stands this statement: Caucasians are twice as likely to commit suicide as African Americans! Why?

Truthfully, I don't know. I have not seen the data nor validated it. I have merely been activated to write by the statement itself.

The Scottish Enlightenment Philosopher, David Hume, wrote an interesting paper "On Suicide". Although an investigation in to religious reasoning as much as anything else, he did talk of how our natural horror of death generally kept us away from completing suicide, or even trying to complete it a second time; a result of the first time failure being so taxing to the individual.

He also commented on how no-one would really throw their life away unless it was not worth living or having. This is where the intrigue lies; IF Hume was right and it is The Case that a life worth having would not be ended by the person living it; then again the pereceivably better social status of Caucasions ought to reflect the pattern in the suicide statistics. Yet; apparently it doesn't.

I am tempted to say therefore that Caucasions must not truly have a better social standing; a higher worth in living, than African Americans, yet I feel protest coming my way if I give in to this temptation. Never-the-less, I want to look a little further in to this 2:1, Caucasion to African American, suicide statistic.

If twice as many Caucasions as African Americans kill themselves, then we would expect that the drivers of suicide would be twice as high in Caucasions as African Americans. We would expect to find twice as much guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, despair, fear, hoplessness etc etc.

The question then arises; Why are Caucasions twice as likely to have guilt, shame, fear, depression, anxiety, despair, fear, hoplessness etc etc? And since the comparison has been highlighted, is it in anyway related to African Americans? O are Caucasions perfectly capable of double the rate of self destruction from within themselves? Disturbing questions to say the least.

Having said that; if you are Caucasion, like me, and are apparently twice as likely to kill yourself as your African American Neighbour-we have such neighbours in Scotland too you know-then it would be interesting to know if there is something we could do that would bring us into balance with them.

If it is about a decrease in guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, despair, fear, hoplessness etc etc; that would be nice. If it were about an increase in awareness of a self-destructive tendency in us; that would be doubly nice.

Perhaps twice the awareness would give us at least half a chance of addressing this interesting, social and scary statistical assertion.


Street Talk

Kyle  

Interesting stat and I cannot jump to any conclusions as to why. Perhaps it has nothing to do with color and more to do with world demographics. Caucasians tend to live in countries that get less sun. Less sun equates to being less happy typically. If you go on vacation to any of the "equator" countries you will realize how happy people are that live in these places with next to nothing. I wonder if there is a correlation between suicide in the US and the states that are colder? I know for a fact that when it rains here on the west coast of Canada, people are typically grumpy and depressed. When it is sunny out, people's moods tend to shift for the better.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

The interpretations and hypotheses are up for discussion. Without the holistic data we have only partial justification: still as a stat its definitely interest piquing. Off to bed here in dark, rainy Scotland; perchance to dream of sun. Goodnight and thanks for comment Kyle. Take care. David

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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