Racism is a Psychological Disease – Let’s Heal It
June 12, 2020

Racism is a psychological disease passed down from generation to generation, by society and its institutions. Like any contagious disease, you have to both personally heal from it, and also collectively, prevent and mitigate it. Same applies to any other less-than-human behavior (and thinking) that causes harm and divides us, such as sexism, classism, ageism, able-ism, ethnocentrism, homophobia and more.

All of us carry some amount of these diseases, whether the symptoms are relatively mild (well-intentioned white folks w/inevitable blinders) or severe (police brutality). We internalize the disease, acting it out toward others and sometimes even ourselves (e.g., in the context of sexism, women holding themselves to harsh standards).

None of us are immune to these psychological disease states, as it’s what we’re exposed to, what we all learn. Don’t get stuck in the shame, discouragement, overwhelm or defensiveness. Instead, love yourself – and all people – by finding ways to heal your psyche and (non-violently) interrupt, protect, protest and vote.

It takes effort, it’s not easy or comfortable, but it’s necessary…and worth it. Just like a vaccine, this work promotes health in yourself, and in turn protects others; it’s a win-win. Let’s raise the bar people. There’s far too much sub-human behavior out there.

Further Resources:

Woman holding sign that says solidarity, in support of Black Lives Matter
Photo Credit: Shira Bezalel Photography

Below are some additional resources to explore.  We will try to add to this list:

Racial Trauma is a Public Health Emergency, article on PsychologyToday by Dara Winley, PhD.

Dad explains in viral post why he won’t walk alone in his neighborhood: ‘This is my reality’, from The Today Show/Today.com

Anti-Racism Resources for White People: a list of many books, podcasts, videos and articles “intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work” compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.

Teaching Tolerance: affiliated with the Southern Poverty Law Center, this organization “provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners, emphasizing social justice and anti-bias” (paraphrase).

Solidarity Is: “a project that generates tools, trainings, and narratives to facilitate transformative solidarity practices for movement building organizations and activists who are invested in meaningful social change, coordinated by Deepa Iyer, a South Asian American lawyer, facilitator and writer, and hosted at Building Movement Project.” Includes a useful framework to “Map your role in your social change ecosystem.”

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