Though many minority groups face discrimination and bigotry, certain patterns of intergenerational trauma, othering, and colorism are unique to the Black community within the US, which undergoes the constant stress of racial discrimination, police violence, health-care biases, and generations of economic injustice—among many other systemic stressors. Social pressure and cultural messaging can have a great impact on our feelings of self-worth and can make us struggle with self-acceptance. Everyone has the right to live a vibrant life in their full identity, and the struggle for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being can find support from those who understand and validate the complexities, nuance, pain, and joy of the community’s lived experiences. We’ve started gathering valuable information on this topic, but haven’t yet curated the findings.
There’s growing research into racism’s real impact on the body, especially how stress can impact health and how your DNA works. Resmaa Menakem, a therapist and trauma specialist has been drawing on this research for years.
Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., ABPP, is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Disparities, and Director of the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Pediatrician, CEO and Founder of the Center for Youth Wellness provided expert testimony on the physiological impact of children being forcibly separated from their parent(s) in a hearing organized by Sen. Jeff Merkley and other members of the Senate Democratic caucus.