Racism and Ethnoviolence as Trauma

Helms, J. E., Nicolas, G., & Green, C. E. (2010). Racism and ethnoviolence as trauma: Enhancing professional training. Traumatology16(4), 53-62. doi:10.1177/1534765610389595

…The stress inducing effects of obviously life threatening racist or ethnoviolent events may be readily apparent to service providers and researchers although they have not been treated or investigated. However, observers seem not to view other types of racism and ethnoviolence as life-threatening (e.g., vicarious experiences, exposure to microaggressions) because the historical roots of the trauma are invisible. Such events may arouse immediate or delayed PTSD and related symptoms in the experiencing person if the experienced event(s) serves as a catalyst for recalling previous personal memories or identity-group histories of extreme threat…

…It is imperative that mental health professionals and trauma researchers work toward developing more comprehensive understandings of the experiences of traumas for ethnic cultural groups living in the United States. The focus of this quest for understanding, should start with improving the service providers or researchers’ knowledge about the cultures of the groups in their surrounding communities, including their own. The quest should also include extensive examination of the racial dynamics that have characterized contexts in which the ostensible traumatic event occurred. Failure to recognize or acknowledge the mental health relevance of the sociopolitical, racial, and cultural factors that intersect with trauma experiences for the survivors of trauma as well as for the service providers will greatly inhibit one’s ability to provide effective treatment programs or to conduct meaningful trauma research.

Examples of Microaggressions



~ by Brendan Kober on November 17, 2011.

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