Racial trauma is the emotional and psychological harm that is experienced as a result of being subjected to racism, discrimination, and other forms of racial violence. It can take many forms, including microaggressions, verbal abuse, physical violence, and systemic discrimination.
Racial trauma can have a profound impact on an individual's mental and physical health, and can lead to a wide range of negative outcomes, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions. It can also contribute to physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
Racial trauma is a common and often overlooked form of trauma that disproportionately affects people of color. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people of color are more likely to experience racial discrimination and violence, and are therefore at an increased risk for developing racial trauma.
The effects of racial trauma can be long-lasting and can extend across generations. For example, historical trauma, which is the collective trauma experienced by a group of people as a result of past events such as colonization, enslavement, and genocide, can have a lasting impact on the mental and physical health of individuals and communities.
Post Trauma Slave Syndrome
After 12 years of research author Dr. Joy DeGruy coined the term Post Trauma Slave Syndrome. She explains that there are adaptive behaviors that are a direct result of generational trauma. Here’s an example of how deep these traumas are. A white mother and a black mother are having coffee while their children have a play date. The white mother brags about her child and how talented they are. She senses discomfort in the other mother and asks, “Surely your child excels at certain things too”, and automatically she answers “They are a handful!” The child hears their mother and internalises inferiority or lack of love or any number of things. In actuality the mother said this because it’s what her mother said about them. If we go back just a few generations we can see that this was in actuality an act of love and protection. It doesn’t take much knowledge about the horrors of slavery to know that the white slave owners would always be on the look out for children to be taken from their mothers. Mothers wanting to protect their children would say the child was a challenge, weak, or not very smart.
Approaches that can help:
There are several approaches that can be helpful in addressing racial trauma and helping individuals to heal from the effects of racism and discrimination. These approaches include:
Trauma-informed EFT delivered by a person qualified to work on racial trauma: EFT can be an effective way to address the emotional and psychological effects of racial trauma. EFT can help individuals to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors, and to develop coping skills and strategies for managing difficult emotions and situations.
Support groups: Support groups can provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to share their experiences, feelings, and challenges related to racial trauma. Support groups can be a helpful way to connect with others who have experienced similar traumas, and can provide a sense of community and belonging.
Self-care: Self-care is an essential aspect of healing from racial trauma. It's important for individuals to take care of their physical, mental, and emotional health by engaging in activities that promote relaxation and stress relief, such as exercise, meditation, getting enough sleep, and use EFT on a regular basis.
Advocacy and activism: Advocacy and activism can be a powerful way to address the root causes of racial trauma and promote social and political change. By participating in campaigns and initiatives that challenge systemic racism and discrimination, individuals can help to create a more just and equitable society.
As an EFT Practitioner it behooves you to educate yourself on these topics. We recommend the following books: 'Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome' by Dr. DeGruy, 'How to be an Antiracist' by Ibram X. Kendi, 'My Grandmother’s Hands' by Resmaa Menakem and 'White Fragility' by Robin Diangelo.
In conclusion, racial trauma is a common and often overlooked form of trauma that can have a profound impact on an individual's mental and physical health. By seeking EFT, participating in support groups, practicing self-care, and engaging in advocacy and activism, individuals and in turn communities can take steps to heal from the effects of racism and discrimination and work towards creating a more just and equitable society.
EFT Master Trainer of Trainers training and mentoring practitioners since 2006. Contributing author of 8 EFT books. Author of How to Want Sex: Using EFT to Rekindle Your Passion. Co-director of EFT MBA: Marketing and Business Academy for EFT Coaches www.eftmba.com. Organizer of annual NW Tappers Gathering, raising over thousands of dollar for continuing EFT research. Matrix Reimprinting trainer since 2011. Producer of the Science of Tapping documentary. Director of EFT Relationship Coach Certification www.eftrelationshipcoach.com EFT and Matrix Training website www.efttappingtraining.com. Member of Training and Accreditation Board at EFT International.