A new study by University of South Carolina researchers shows a link between past occurrences of unpunished, racially-motivated lynchings and recent mortality rates.
South Carolina Rural Health Research Center director Janice Probst told South Carolina Radio Network the effects can linger.
“Those attitudes, the attitudes that one race is better than another,” Probst said. “That it’s OK to be mean to some kind of people. Those attitudes don’t go away just because lynching itself has gone away.”
The findings by Probst and professor emerita Saundra Glover show when socio-economic and educational factors are taken into account, the death rate for the overall population of a county was higher if lynching events had taken place there in the past.
Probst found higher mortality rates among both minority and white residents in many areas. Although she is not sure of the correlation, Probst speculated the reasons could be that a divided community is less likely to support or trust healthcare institutions
Probst and Glover have written an article on the study, which is published in Springer’s Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
Probst said, even though lynchings are not being done the racial tension still exists. “That they may still be expressed, although in more socially acceptable terms, but they’re still there.”