BLACK VOICES
10/17/2013 06:17 pm ET Updated Oct 18, 2013

Why We Think Black People Feel Less Pain Than White People And How It Affects Society (VIDEO)

For centuries, society has grappled with both implicit and explicit examples of racism that have played out in many different areas, including legislation and the criminal justice system. But now scientists may be able to provide more insight as to why this may be the case.

A recent study examining racial disparities reveals that people are more empathetic towards whites than towards blacks, particularly when related to medical treatment or pain. The discovery, known as the racial empathy gap, shows that people, including medical personnel, assume black people feel less pain than white people and helps explain disparities in areas from health care to criminal justice.

The findings come just several months after a study published in a March issue of the American Journal of Public Health reported researchers found that two-thirds of doctors harbored "unconscious" racial biases toward patients.

The racial empathy gap serves as an explanation for these "unconscious" racial biases, as assumptions about what it means to be black-- as it pertains to privilege and adversity-- could, in fact, be the reason behind the findings.

HuffPost Live host, Marc Lamont Hill, hosted a conversation about the study, discussing the possible reasons behind why people think black people feel less pain and how it affects society as a whole.

Check out the clip in the video above and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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