Essay on Effects of Psychological Trauma-Induced by Racism

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1473 Words
Date:  2022-05-21


Racism has plagued several countries around the globe and continue to gain a foothold becoming one of the significant concerns that our society encounters. In the Western nations, the non-whites have been subjected to individual and institution types of racism regardless of the efforts implemented by to eradicate any kind of discrimination. Despite the energy invested by civil rights groups and political leaders in the battle against racism, people continue to disregard the perceptions and contributions of other individuals due to racial discrimination (Crocker 1). Racism has continued to slow the progress of such countries and placed citizens in a situation of hopeless discontent. Therefore, the paper will analyze effects of psychological trauma orchestrated by racism. Racism has been perceived as a significant stressor that negatively affects the well-being of individuals. Mental trauma caused by racism is believed to perpetuate shame, self-sabotage, and self-hatred. Finally, social inequality has become the primary focus of the racial discrimination debate.

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Racial trauma has been associated with experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, self-sabotage, and despair because of continuous exposure towards discrimination. Additionally, racism trauma has exuded social isolation causing reluctance towards associating with white people. Racial harassment has been known as the trigger of psychological trauma. African Americans have suffered because of cultural stigma and more prolonged exposure to the situation as such formulate negative coping mechanisms. Racism has the capacity of slowing and interfering with the normal functioning of individuals and community. Several persistent ways have been established as for how racism has affected marginalized community causing trauma. Racial discrimination causes hurt, humiliation, anger, and trauma.

Often racism has attributed instances engulfed with despair, devastation, neglect, and exhaustion. Renowned incidences of racism include racial profiling in colleges, police brutality, political grounds, and religious platforms. In the current era, the prevalence of racism has been rooted in the society, institutions, and individuals (Carter). Racism does not select who to affect thus everyone within the affected group become future victims despite class or age. Numerous researches have been established to understand how racism is becoming a source of psychological trauma, especially on marginalized people.

Racial encounters can occur in several forms that can be direct, indirect, or abstruse. The encounters can be applied on personal levels or be a result of systematic actions. Therefore, a racism encounter capable of causing psychological trauma might be sudden, overwhelming, and harmful. African American has become the constant target of racism in America, and occasionally, there are reports and images of people of color being brutalized or dead. According to Wortham, the string of events experienced by the people of color has caused them anxiety and fear in a country where they are expected to feel safe. The psychological trauma impacted causes the citizens to live with terror and uncertainty concerning their well-being.

Williams affirmed that racism continues to be a norm in the American culture and oppressors get to experience the overwhelming impact. Williams recognizes the massive researches conducted concerning social and economic inequities and political effects of racism, but little has been done on psychological impact exuded by racism. Racism has been associated with the increased mental disorders among the minorities. Despite Williams's research focusing on individuals who have direct experience with racism, she suggests that a repetitive form of events triggers racial trauma.

The psychological trauma is a by-product of the experiences that the people of color have to encounter daily. The disorder is something that warrants for clinical intervention because when neglected it matures to a mental disorder. However, the condition is unrecognizable to most people unless under strict scrutiny. The symptoms are depression where an individual lack proper cognitive abilities, sleep deprivation, anger, aloofness, and loss of appetite. Most people have mastered the art of masking their emotions to ensure their vulnerability is not exploited. The people of color have experienced racism since the beginning, and this has impacted their functioning leading to relayed traumatization.

According to the APA staff, racism formulates a unique environment that engulfs the minorities with emotional stress and the consistent events of racial discrimination lead to decreased self-esteem and internal hatred. The psychological trauma forced the African Americans to be conservative, defensive, and acquire an apologetic mentality. In a study done at the University of Arizona, 18.2% African Americans stated to have experienced emotional stress while 9.8% of the people of color confirmed to have endured physical stress because of racism.

Blatant actions of racism such as police brutality are not the only ways that race can stress and impact a community negatively, any environment that tends to discriminate and look down on people of color are considered as attributing to the psychological stress. Furthermore, the anticipation of encountering racial discrimination is sufficient to warrant mental trauma. A study highlighted that African American students who interacted with anyone presumed as racists and an increased "fight or flight" response are heightened. As a black man, it is evident to encounter racial discrimination between 20-23 accelerating anxiety and depression. Certain levels of mental distress can focus on formulating unhealthy coping techniques, and they lack excitement about the future. People suffering from psychological trauma lack the long-term goal and always expect worse as an outcome.

Racism is experienced in workplaces where the black people are often demeaned, despised, and asked menial tasks below your aptitude level. Such actions heighten psychological trauma resulting in a disastrous outcome. Racism assumes a vital role in the illness development. People who have experienced the racism encounters severally are likely to have psychotic episodes. While a group of Harvard researchers established that 1% of anticipated racism disrespect that decodes to increase of African American death rates (APA Staff). This is because being on the receiving end; racism triggers intense and constant stress that triggers depression and anxiety, factors that are popular with causes of cardiovascular illnesses. Most of the black community are always thinking about their faces because they are often reminded of their skin color.

Furthermore, the people of color have extensively received poor healthcare quality compared to the white counterparts. The people from the minority groups tend to be sicker and die early compared to whites because of the array of disadvantages encountered including lack of adequate income and quality health insurance. When a black and white individual having the same income and insurance situation are rushed to a health facility, the white person is likely to receive better treatment. The black community has the less privilege of accessing a mental facility, and if they obtain the facility, they are likely to receive inadequate quality care. Racism has gained root even in the least familiar places such as a health institution where services should be provided equally and exceptionally. However, the people of color continue to build up mistrust with the health practitioners; thus, limiting their cooperativeness in seeking the required medical assistance.

As a society, it is best to start with acknowledging psychological trauma from racism is real and affects the well-being of our loved ones. Therefore, in the battle of tackling and preventing the condition, it is imperative to comprehend that every person has a problematic past. Accepting each person challenging history creates a friendly environment between members of a community and medical and mental health practitioners. People's past influence their psychological and emotional health, and comprehending a person's culture including their history and stigma ensures that they receive high-quality medical care. Psychological trauma is sourced from several social determinants that affect the community including the patient's life. Therefore, when relating to anyone, it is essential to be mindful of the racism impact in their lives and that of their families. Racism impacts are a crucial concern in the medical field because it concerns the welfare of the public.


In receiving treatment, it is advisable for the psychologists to evaluate the extent to which the racism experiences might have affected the client. Determining the client's trauma history provides a solid ground for assisting in rehabilitation. Furthermore, a person of color might find it challenging to talk about racism with the white therapist; thus, as a mental health profession, it is best to prioritize the well-being of clients by devising a secure reservation for them to seek for healing and redemption. Therefore, it is imperative to educate oneself concerning the psychological impacts of racism.

Works Cited

APA staff. "Racism And Mental Health". Psychiatry.Org, 2017, Accessed 26 Apr 2018.

Carter, Robert T. "Racism and psychological and emotional injury: Recognizing and assessing race-based traumatic stress." The Counseling Psychologist 35.1 (2007): 13-105.

Crocker, John. "The effects of racism-related stress on the psychological and physiological well-being of non-whites." Rivier academic journal 3.1 (2007): 1-3.

Williams, Monnica. "Can Racism Cause PTSD? Implications For DSM-5". Psychology Today, 2013, Accessed 26 Apr 2018.

Wortham, Jenna. "Racism'S Psychological Toll". Nytimes.Com, 2015, Accessed 26 Apr 2018.

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Essay on Effects of Psychological Trauma-Induced by Racism. (2022, May 21). Retrieved from

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