Racial trauma refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias, ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Since the murder of George Floyd and the protest that followed (BTW, guilty on all three counts #hallejuah) social scientists have provided insight on how racial trauma affects BIPOC. It’s a trauma that we experience repeatedly and generationally from slavery to the recent murder of Daunte Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant. It’s also the microaggressions and biases we experience in our everyday lives. It’s a trauma that feels inescapable because it’s violent, suffocating, and intentional.
When we experience stress and trauma our body reacts in either fight, flight, or freeze. Admittingly, since the murder of Trayvon Martin, my response to racial injustice witnessed on a national level has been flight. I avoid as much news coverage as possible because I don’t want to feel that pain. It’s overwhelming and it’s heavy. So I avoid it. But avoidance is not sustainable and it’s not helpful. It’s not helpful to those who are fighting because my voice is needed and it’s not helpful for me either because the pain is still there. I’m still processing and working through it all but while I’m doing that I created affirmations to repeat whenever I need to work through the emotions I feel due to race-based trauma. I hope these provide solace and comfort to you when you’re experiencing the same.
I am allowed to celebrate Black joy and Black love.
I have the support of my Black brothers and sisters across the diaspora.
Abundance and excellence are my birthrights.
I will not conform to European standards of beauty. My Black skin and features are regal and beautiful.
I am the manifestation of my ancestors’ hopes and dreams.
My life has value and it matters.
I rebuke the stronghold of white supremacy.
I am the descendant of greatness and not the image that has been written for me throughout history.
The strength and love of my ancestors sustain and carry me through the hard times.
The injustices of our oppressors will not prevail. I will hold steadfast to faith and not fear.
I am allowed to feel anger whenever I witness or encounter racial violence, injustice, and hate.
I am more than the racial bias and discrimination opposed over me.
I affirm that everything about my Blackness is beautiful.