“All I know is that there is a lot of discrimination”: Older African immigrants’ experiences of discrimination in the United States

Manka Nkimbeng, Janiece L. Taylor, Laken Roberts, Peter J. Winch, Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, Roland J. Thorpe, Hae Ra Han, Sarah L. Szanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Discrimination is implicated in the disproportionate burden of disease and health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities. This qualitative descriptive study explored the experiences of discrimination and its impact on the health of older African immigrants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 participants. Three main themes and six sub-themes were identified. These included: (1) types of discrimination which were: (a) accent-based, (b) unfair treatment during routine activities, (c) experience with systems; (2) consequences of discrimination; and (3) surviving and thriving with discrimination: (a) “blind eye to it”, (b) reacting to it, (c) avoiding it. These themes described common experiences of discrimination, current strategies used to deal with discrimination, and the impact of discrimination on this sample. Health care providers should be aware of discrimination experiences, how to assess for it, and identify when to refer patients to appropriate community resources that include mental health, employment, cultural groups and legal services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar program, the National Institute on Aging (NIA# 1F31AG057166-01 ), and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) which is funded in part by Grant Number TL1 TR001078 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Johns Hopkins ICTR, NCATS or NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • African immigrants
  • Discrimination
  • Older adults
  • Qualitative study


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