Racial Trauma occurs when people are harmed psychologically from events that are racist and traumatizing. In light of COVID-19, many Asian Canadians and Asian Americans experienced racial trauma as a result of being targeted through Anti-Asian racism. Racial Trauma can come in three different forms, Direct, Indirect or Transmitted. Like all Black, Indigenous, and other People of Colour, Asian Canadians experience covert and overt forms of racism as well as positive and negative racial stereotypes. Historically, under the white male gaze, Asian women experience objectification; racial trauma can intensify when identities intersect (i.e., race and gender). Japanese internment camps and the Chinese head tax are examples of Canada’s history of systemic violence towards the Asian community.
Direct Racial Trauma: This can be in the form of racial slurs, being overpoliced, experiencing physical attacks and microaggressions.
Indirect (Vicarious) Racial Trauma: These incidents can take place when we witness other racialized people being victimized and brutalized as a result of racism in society. Often highlighted in the media, these events garner attention from social justice advocates and can result in indirect racial trauma for the BIPOC community.
Transmitted (Intergenerational Trauma): An example of this would be the difficulties passed down generational lines because of previous generations being racialized. When Indigenous peoples were forcibly placed into residential schools and when the sixties swoop took place, trauma began making its way through the generations.
Are you experiencing racial trauma? Some possible signs are:
1) Depression – You might have feelings of sadness over a lengthy period of time.
2) Avoidance – You might feel less motivated to complete schoolwork or complete work while on the job
3) Hypervigilance – Are you constantly evaluating your surroundings, people around you while evaluating possible threats in your world?
Despite the barriers stacked against us as a racialized people, there is always room for healing and owning our power.
“I changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” Maya Angelou
If you are seeking a new beginning and you need guidance, counselling, and life coaching, speak to me today about starting a New Chapter in your life!