Day 7: Racism: Asking What Happened

  • An act of racism obviously is concerning at the moment it occurs, but that experience also can have a long-lasting impact that leads to harm being perpetuated after an incident takes place. 

    Racism doesn't have to be physically violent to be traumatic or felt to the core. Its effects often linger. Future actions, behaviors, decisions, emotions, and perceptions can be impacted by racism and its lasting effects. In fact, studies have shown that racism and discrimination can cause lingering psychological effects that can be linked to post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is becoming more commonly diagnosed among members of marginalized communities.  

    How should someone who has experienced this kind of harm be addressed? Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy, professor of Family Therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, suggests that we not ask, “What is wrong?” Instead, he says it might be more productive to ask, “What happened to you?” The resources below include a list of ways to contribute to healing racial trauma, and a local resource for self-care and equitable access to yoga.

    Did You Know?

    Rush-Henrietta provides a full range of health and mental-health staff that reflects its strong commitment to all students and their unique needs. From school nurse-teachers to social workers to a substance-abuse counselor, and from psychologists to school counselors to a district nurse practitioner, our district long ago realized the importance of providing these types of additional services to meet the wide-ranging needs of students.

    Resources for Learning

    Option 1: Read Healing the Hidden Wounds of Racial Trauma

    Option 2: Read The Link Between Racism and PTSD

    Option 3: Read Self-Care Can Be Social Justice

    Option 4: Meet the Rush-Henrietta Mental Health Staff

    Consider these ways to reflect, grow, and take action:

    Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection: 

    • Can you think of a time when you attributed a negative behavior to a person rather than what they might have experienced? How could you think or react differently in a similar situation in the future?
    • Think about your own friendships. How many friends do you have who don't look like you? What are some consequences of missing out on more diverse friendships?
    • Consider the importance of approaching someone of a different background to check in with them and ask how they are doing.

    Ways to Get Involved: 

    • Attend the second workshop in our Wellness Workshop series, “Fostering Mental Health & Resilience in Children and Families During Challenging Times,” live online 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. Visit to register.
    • Watch a recording of our first workshop in our Wellness Workshop series, Rush-Henrietta Depression and Anxiety Workshop.”
    • Explore the practice of yoga for self-care with Yoga 4 A Good Hood. 
    • Support your family’s overall wellness with Mindful Moments, a series of nine short videos offering mindfulness tips and easy-to-learn basic yoga poses.

    Office of Professional Learning Google Site Offering: 

    Additional ResourcesCultural Competence Now

    "Cultural Competence Now," by Vernita Mayfield

    This book from a veteran educator provides activities, discussions, and readings to begin meaningful conversations about race, culture, bias, privilege, and power within school.


    R-H Equity Journey Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved.

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