“There is no such thing as being ‘not racist’. We are either being racist or anti-racist.” - Ibram X. Kendi
Symptoms of Racial Trauma and Racial Stress
Re-experiencing of distressing events
Somatization when distressed (e.g., stomach aches, headaches, rapid heartbeat, difficulty with sleep and/or appetite)
Depression and/or Anxiety
Avoidance and Withdrawal
Coping with Racial Trauma and Racial Stress
Being seen and heard is essential to healing. Connect with friends who are able to engage in racially conscious conversations and willing to help you process your thoughts and emotions.
Do a self-check and ask yourself if you need help or someone to talk to.
Limit your media intake of racial violence.
Engage in prayer, mindfulness, spiritual practices, and use of mantras.
Exercise, eat healthier foods, get enough sleep.
Practice self-care by engaging in activities that you enjoy and make you happy.
Learn to be aware and recognize the symptoms of racial trauma (e.g., fatigue, anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping.)
Make a list of situations, people, or places that trigger your symptoms of stress, and make a similar list of ways to cope for each of these situations, people, or places.
Recognize when you are not able to perform optimally because of the stress and rest if you are able.
Roleplay how to respond to negative racial encounters with trusted people in your network.
Engage in activism. Feeling empowered involves participating in actions to solve difficulties. Agency and self-advocacy are associated with leadership, academic engagement, self-esteem, and prosocial behaviors.
Develop a positive cultural identity and strong sense of self. Take classes that focus on the historical experiences and contributions of your cultural group and join campus organizations that celebrate your cultural norms and ideals.
What Can White People do to Address Racism
Understand White Privilege
Recognize unconscious bias
Take multicultural and diversity-based classes. Join diversity-based groups, committees, organizations.
Do not rely on BIPOC to educate you about matters related to racism and discrimination. Do your own research.
Challenge other White people.
When in racially mixed groups and discussing discrimination, don’t play “Devil’s Advocate.” Also, consider leaning in, speaking less, and listening with an open heart.