Have Human Good Samaritans Gone Racist And Lack Empathy?

developing empathy 5 1

"It's very surprising and disappointing to find such low rates of people helping each other and that African-American patients and those in poorer counties are left to wait longer for help," says Erin York Cornwell.

People who have a medical emergency in a public place can’t necessarily rely on the kindness of strangers, sociologists report.

Only 2.5 percent of people, or 1 in 39, got help from strangers before emergency medical personnel arrived, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.

For African Americans, these dismal findings only get worse. African Americans were less than half as likely as Caucasians to get help from a bystander, regardless of the type of symptoms or illness they were suffering—only 1.8 percent, or fewer than 1 in 55 African Americans, received assistance. For Caucasians, the corresponding number was 4.2 percent, or 1 in 24.

People in lower-income and densely populated counties were also less likely to get help, the researchers say. Conversely, those in less densely populated counties with average socioeconomic levels were most likely to get assistance.

“It’s very surprising and disappointing to find such low rates of people helping each other and that African-American patients and those in poorer counties are left to wait longer for help,” says lead author Erin York Cornwell, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University. York Cornwell wrote the study with Alex Currit, a doctoral student in sociology.

York Cornwell points out that the types of support bystanders could offer require little to no training, and could include offering a glass of water, covering someone with a blanket, putting pressure on a wound, or assisting with medications.

“We find evidence that bystanders can provide help in a huge range of scenarios, but the rates of assistance are so incredibly low,” she says.

In the paper, York Cornwell and Currit analyzed data on nearly 22,500 patients from the 2011 National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) data set, which they linked to characteristics of counties where the incidents occurred.

The data came from emergency medical services providers, who fill out a form after each ambulance call. The form includes an indication of what type of help, if any, patients received from bystanders before medical staff arrived on the scene. Because of underrepresentation of Latinos in the data, the researchers focused on African Americans and Caucasians.


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

York Cornwell thinks that disparities in receiving help could stem from differences in the social context of the neighborhoods where emergencies occurred. Sociological research suggests that socioeconomic disadvantage within an area shapes how people relate to each other. For example, neighborhoods that have a high degree of poverty and residential instability tend to have fewer social institutions like synagogues, churches, and community organizations—and this can make it difficult for residents to get to know each other.

“When you have a neighborhood environment where people don’t know each other, where people are wary of strangers on the street, and someone needs help right in that moment, people may be more likely to just look away or keep walking without lending a hand,” she says.

Sociologists have used this theory to explain disparities in the development of stress-related illnesses over the long term. But York Cornwell is applying the theory to brief, urgent moments when people could use help but don’t get it; over time those moments could add up and contribute to health disparities across racial groups, she says.

“Disparities in health across race are persistent and growing in many cases. We don’t really have a good understanding of the reasons why we see such large disparities. These day-to-day processes could be an important contributor,” York Cornwell says.

About the Authors

Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences, where York Cornwell is a faculty fellow, contributed support.

Source: Cornell University

Related Book:

at InnerSelf Market and Amazon

 

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

INNERSELF VOICES

Lunar eclipse, May 12, 2022
Astrological Overview and Horoscope: May 23 - 29, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
05 21 rewilding the imagination in dangerous times 5362430 1920
Rewilding the Imagination in Dangerous Times
by Natureza Gabriel Kram
In a world that often seems intent on destroying itself, I find myself curating beauty -- the kind…
group of multi-racial individuals standing for a group photo
Seven Ways You Can Show Respect to Your Diverse Team (Video)
by Kelly McDonald
Respect is profoundly meaningful, but costs nothing to give. Here are ways you can demonstrate (and…
elephant walking in front of a setting sun
Astrological Overview and Horoscope: May 16 - 22, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
photo of Leo Buscaglia from cover of his book: Living, Loving and Learning
How to Change Someone's Life in a Few Seconds
by Joyce Vissell
My life was changed dramatically when someone took that second to point out my beauty.
a composite photograph of a total lunar eclipse
Astrological Overview and Horoscope: May 9 - 15, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
05 08 developing compassionate thinking 2593344 completed
Developing Compassionate Thinking Towards Self and Others
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
When people speak of compassion, they mostly are referring to having compassion for others... for…
a man writing a letter
Writing the Truth and Allowing the Emotions to Flow
by Barbara Berger
Writing things down is a good way to practice truth telling.
From Dirt to Soil: Life's Manure Makes For Excellent Growth Potential
From Dirt to Soil: Life's Manure Makes For Excellent Growth Potential
by Alan Cohen
If you or I had met Joe during his risqué comedy stint, we might have judged him as a crude or…
The Relationship Myth of Living Happily Ever After
The Relationship Myth of Living Happily Ever After
by Linda & Charlie Bloom
True or false: *Couples with great relationships don’t fight. * Most people expect too much from…
Obeying Your Intuition Can Bring Up Emotions, Fear, Doubts, Criticism...
Obeying Your Intuition Can Bring Up Emotions, Fear, Doubts, Criticism...
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
Aligning with your gut feeling can cause unexpected emotions to arise. The trick is to handle them…

MOST READ

finding what you are looking for 5 25
Use Horary Astrology to Find What You Lost
by Alphee Lavoie
There has always been a lot of controversy among astrologers as to what time (and even location) to…
rebuilding environment 4 14
How Native Birds Are Returning To New Zealand’s Restored Urban Forests
by Elizabeth Elliot Noe, Lincoln University et al
Urbanisation, and the destruction of habitat it entails, is a major threat to native bird…
The Story Of Suffering And Death Behind Ireland’s Abortion Ban And Subsequent Legalization
The Story Of Suffering And Death Behind Ireland’s Abortion Ban And Subsequent Legalization
by Gretchen E. Ely, University of Tennessee
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the…
how much sleep you need 4 7
How Much Sleep You Really Need
by Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge, et al
Most of us struggle to think well after a poor night’s sleep – feeling foggy and failing to perform…
benefits of lemmon water 4 14
Will Lemon Water Detox Or Energize You?
by Evangeline Mantzioris, University of South Australia
If you believe anecdotes online, drinking lukewarm water with a splash of lemon juice is…
trusting societies are happy 4 14
Why Trusting Societies Are Overall Happier
by enjamin Radcliff, University of Notre Dame
Human beings are social animals. This means, almost as a matter of logical necessity, that humans’…
group of multi-racial individuals standing for a group photo
Seven Ways You Can Show Respect to Your Diverse Team (Video)
by Kelly McDonald
Respect is profoundly meaningful, but costs nothing to give. Here are ways you can demonstrate (and…
economy 4 14
5 Things That Economists Know, But Sound Wrong To Most Other People
by Renaud Foucart, Lancaster University
A curious thing about our profession is that when we academic economists largely agree with each…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.