What is Racial Trauma?
Racial trauma is the term used to describe the emotional and physical reaction People of Color often have to acts of racism. People of Color may react to acts of racism with fear and hypervigilance, headaches, insomnia, body aches, memory difficulty, self-blame, confusion, shame, and guilt after experiencing racism. The more often you experience acts of racism, the more profound these symptoms can be.
Why is important to learn about racial trauma?
The power of acknowledgment and validation. As a Person of Color, you may find yourself having a very difficult time feeling calm, feeling safe, feeling empowered when you are reminded of the racial injustices in our world. Knowing that you are not alone and that this reaction is warranted and normal can help. There is not “right” way of processing or reacting to racial trauma. But, the first step is learning about it.
What related resources can I find on this site?
You will find many resources to help validate the experience racial trauma, learn about intergenerational trauma and the potential impact of repeated experiences of racism. You will also find resources that will help you feel calm, feel empowered and feel safe despite the consistent reminders of racial injustice. The Counseling Center is here to offer continual support with hopes that you find this list helpful.
As always, if you would like to meet with a counselor to talk more about racial trauma or feel triggered by any of these resources please contact the BMCC Counseling Center at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide additional support through counseling.
Resources for Black-identified Individuals and Communities
- Common Coping Strategies, Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM)
- Daily Coping Tips, The Steve Fund
- Discrimination: What It Is and How to Cope, American Psychological Association
- Emotionally Restorative Self-Care for People of Color, Youtube
- Filling Our Cups: 4 Ways People of Color Can Foster Mental Health and Practice Restorative Healing, Threads of Solidarity: WOC Against Racism, Medium
- Grief is a Direct Impact of Racism: Eight Ways to Support Yourself, Roberta K. Timothy, York University
- Liberate Meditation App (by and for people of color)
- Proactively Coping with Racism, Ryan C.T. DeLapp, MA, and Monnica T. Williams, PhD, Psychology Today
- Racial Trauma is Real, Institution for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture
- Radical Self-Care in the Face of Mounting Racial Stress, Grace A. Chen, Helen A. Neville, Jioni A. Lewis, Hector Y. Adames, Nayeli Y. Chavez-Dueñas, Della V. Mosley, & Bryana H. French, The Psychology of Radical Healing Collective, Psychology Today
- Recovering Emotionally From Disaster, American Psychological Association
- Talking about Race: Self-Care, National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Tips for Self-Care: When Police Brutality Has You Questioning Humanity and Social Media is Enough, Dr. Imani J. Walker, The Root
- Tips for Supporting Each Other, Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)
- We Heal Too (non-profit)
Individual Counseling and Crisis Lines
- African American Mental Health, National Alliance for Mental Illness
- Crisis text line (chat with a crisis counsellor over the phone)
- New York Association of Black Psychologists
- NYC resources: Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355)/Text “WELL” to 65173/Chat at NYC.gov/nycwell
- Therapists Specifically Tailored for Black Women