In 2020, the wounds of racism have been publicly opened, again and again, reminding those of us who are privileged that people who experience racism don’t get to look away or forget. Knowing that there is still much to learn, it’s vital we discuss racism and mental health, specifically surrounding the Black and African American experience. Let’s start with the groundwork: How does racism affect Black and African American mental health?
Racism is detrimental to mental health
This one is pretty obvious. After all, racism is the sum of ways that society discriminates and commits violence against Black people. It withholds justice, fairness, and resources. It demeans and gaslights.
But, beyond our intuitive knowledge of racism and its effects, there’s research to support racism’s traumatic trappings. A 2018 briefing paper by the Synergi Collaborative Center introduced the existing research well. In brief, experiencing racism makes a person more likely to