If racial trauma is not addressed, young men of color may experience barriers to developing a healthy sense of dignity, self-love, hope, deservedness of care, and identity.
To be most effective, healing processes with young men of color must embrace the very real trauma inflicted on them in society.
Racial oppression is a traumatic form of interpersonal violence which has a psychological and emotional impact on young men of color. The impact of racial trauma may not always present in obvious ways. However, the hidden wounds can produce a very detrimental effect on the psyche of those who suffer racial trauma. These wounds—whether the product of acute harm, micro-aggressions, or the cumulative impact of inequity— can manifest as anger, hyper-vigilance, self-segregation, and hopelessness. Furthermore, they can undoubtedly exacerbate acute trauma.
Any and all of these manifestations undermine the healing process and distort people’s ability to function healthily and feel safe and normal in their lives. If racial trauma is not addressed, young men of color may experience barriers to developing a healthy sense of dignity, self-love, hope, deservedness of care, and identity. A distorted or diminished sense of these things leaves those harmed unable, and sometimes even unwilling, to engage fully in healing.
On the other hand, addressing racial trauma head on can help those harmed to understand the violence they survive in a larger context, feel recognized and validated, and experience a sense of deservedness and dignity.