Racial Trauma

Djeneba Sanogo

Hey everyone, it’s Djeneba and welcome to “Blossom With Me.” In this articleI’ll be talking about racial trauma. 


With everything going on around this world I think this is an important topic. From Asian hate to police killing black people, there are many people dealing with racial trauma. 


Let’s start off with a definition: Racial trauma is psychological harm caused by encounters with racial bias, racist acts, threats of harm, hate crimes, and ethnic discrimination. It can also be the result of small occurrences building up, such as everyday discrimination or micro-aggressions. 


One can directly experience these harms or observe others being harmed, and still experience racial trauma. It can also be passed down from generation to generation. If people frequently experience racism or have for a long period of time, they can experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. This includes depression, flashbacks, numbness, nightmares, etc. 


Another symptom of racial trauma is avoidance. People of color who go through racial trauma are less willing to take academic risk and more willing to drop out of school. Dropping out stops people of color from getting careers that they’re actually passionate about, like nursing, teaching, engineering, etc. I see a lot of really talented and smart people of color stop their education once they graduate high school. Some never finish high school. Even if you’re not passionate about careers that require a college degree, you should stay in school to become educated. Nelson Mandela said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”


A recent example of racial trauma is the fear and depression that Asian-Americans endured following the incidents of anti-Asian racism that happened throughout the US in response to COVID-19. Asian-Americans across the country have been both verbally and physically attacked. Another example is the trauma that black people face due to the inequality of the US police and “justice” system. Black people make up only 12% of the US population but 33% of the prison population, as a result of racial bias in the police force, prosecution offices, judges, and legislature itself.


They say that everyone should go at their own pace when it comes to changing their mindset—even if they don’t understand now, they will eventually. This is probably controversial, but I honestly don’t think that should apply to situations that put lives at risk. Racism is a big problem and even if those racists become anti-racist as they become more educated, they still hurt a lot of people. Speed up a bit. If your actions impact a large group of people, please hurry up and change. Or if you don’t change, just keep your mouth shut because racist people hurt people of color financially, mentally, and physically. Racists should not get to take their time while they are taking people’s lives. 


To cope with racial trauma, practice self-care. I know almost everyone says this, but it’s true:  you must take care of yourself. Distract yourself by doing activities that genuinely make you happy. And educate yourself on racial trauma: you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what it is. Practice how you will respond to the situations that trigger you, so that you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you. 


This also relates to another topic: trigger warnings. People get mad when they aren’t warned in certain situations, like on social media. They may put a warning before showing a graphic clip or picture, out of respect. But in real life people won’t give you that warning. So it’s better to prepare for situations that trigger you. Social media isn’t reality. 


Lastly, racism can’t be solved by a single person. Everyone has to work together to stop racism. Also, don’t be annoying on purpose. Don’t start an argument just to annoy people or get a reaction. Stop getting people angry over serious stuff just for your entertainment. The negative impact on the other person is more important.


All right. That’s all I have for today’s episode. I hope that you enjoyed it and thank you for blossoming with me!