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Coping With Racial Trauma, Discrimination, and Biases

Statements of Support

India is currently facing a devastating COVID-19 humanitarian emergency. Hospitals are overwhelmed, medical supplies are limited and many countries throughout the world are struggling with inequity of vaccine distribution. The Counseling Center offers our genuine compassion and concern to our International students currently in India; our students who are here with extended families and loved ones living in India; and our Indian students, faculty and staff impacted by this crisis. The Center is here to offer care during this time, whether you may want to drop in for a same-day one time check-in, meet individually, or schedule a consultation to join one of our groups.


In March of this year, the nation was paying close attention to the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer and training officer who killed George Floyd. In the midst of the trial, another Black man, Daunte Wright, was senselessly killed by another police officer. News coverage of the images and videos surrounding the trial and other killings of people of color, although hard to watch for all, can be especially traumatic for Black and African American individuals who have already endured so much injustice, senseless violence, and racism. The Counseling Center recognizes that, although the verdict of the trial may have provided some relief, there is still much work to be done.

Some helpful tips to take care of yourself during and after the trial may include:

  • Give yourself permission to set limits on social media and news coverage
  • Take a moment to be present with yourself and name your feelings and experiences
  • Create a community and trusted support system as well as set boundaries to prioritize and nurture yourself

Seeking therapy might also be a part of your self-care during this time. The Counseling Center stands in solidarity with our students of color and is here to offer you care and support, whether you want to drop in for a one-time check-in, meet individually or join one of our groups HERE (the Center offers a range of groups including a Students of Color group). We are committed to creating a space where students with diverse and marginalized identities are welcomed and understood. You can reach us at counseling@drexel.edu and ask to speak with a counselor.


Our deepest sympathy and loving thoughts go out to the loved ones of Soon C. Park, Suncha Kim, Hyun J. Grant, Yong A. Yue, Delaina A. Yaun Gonzalez, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels, who were murdered in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. Six of these victims were women of Asian descent. This mass violence is occurring at a time where there has been a marked increase in hate crimes, discrimination, and harassment towards Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. A recent poll showed 60% of Asian Americans have witnessed others blaming Asian people for the pandemic. This surge is the most recent part of a long history of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in America. The Drexel Counseling Center stands in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities against racism and senseless acts of hate and violence. We acknowledge the psychological consequences that these traumas have on our AAPI students, students of color, and the whole Drexel community. We stand with you and we are here for you.


The United States has a long, painful history of prejudice, systemic racism, sexism, xenophobia, violence and discrimination against many different cultural, ethnic, religious, and sexual identities and orientations. We are facing a racial pandemic, impacting the physical safety and mental wellbeing of so many communities of color. There have been a number of high profile events which have resulted in a need for support in managing the effects of hate, discrimination, and trauma. There have also been multiple events which have not received the same level of coverage but have impacted our communities significantly.

Racial Trauma

Racial trauma refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Any individual that has experienced an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress injury. Experiences of race-based discrimination can have detrimental psychological impacts on individuals and their wider communities. Symptoms can look different across different cultural groups. Racial trauma is not a mental health disorder. It occur as the result of living within a racist system or experiencing events of racism (Racial Trauma, Mental Health America).

Intersectionality

Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality, which she defines as a “lens, a prism, for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other. We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality or immigrant status. What’s often missing is how some people are subject to all of these, and the experience is not just the sum of its parts.” Understanding intersectionality is essential in acknowledging that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression.

Being Antiracist

Being antiracist is fighting against racism in its various forms, albeit individual racism, interpersonal racism, institutional racism and structural racism. It is not only raising consciousness about race and racism, but taking action when witnessing acts of racial power inequities in everyday life, according to Dr. Anneliese A. Singh from “The Racial Healing Handbook.” Being antiracist is different for a person of color than it is for a White person. See here https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/being-antiracist to explore the different types of racism that exists, how to have conversations when racist behavior occurs, and to read more about becoming antiracist.

Allyship and Education

Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. Allies start by educating themselves and taking action where and when we can. Learning about how American society privileges whiteness, racist ideas become considered normal. To work towards creating an equal society, we must commit to being anti-racist, and examining whiteness and white fragility, privilege, bias, social and racial identities and systems of oppression. The Counseling Center is here to provide you tools and guidance to empower your journey and spark conversation.

The resources on this page are meant to be used as a guide to support to our Drexel students who have experienced racial trauma, injustice and biases and for those who are interested in becoming allies. We recognize this is an ever-changing directory and a non-exhaustive list and may not encompass all the identities and experiences you might be facing. We invite you to provide us with feedback on our resources; please email us at counseling@drexel.edu with comments or questions.

Resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

Resources for Black and African Americans

Resources for Asian and Asian Americans

Resources for the Latinx Community

Resources for the Muslim Community

Resources for Other Communities

LGBTQIA+ Community

Jewish Community

Anti-Racism and Ally Resources

Resources at Drexel University

 

The content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.