I have been feeling really angry the last couple of days and after a mammoth yoga session and some reflection I now know why. With all the stuff I am seeing about #harryandmeghan and so many white people denying racism is part of it, I thought this would help those of you that are also tired.
Racial gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where white supremacists (consciously and unconsciously) seek to maintain power and control through manipulation and bullying of non-white people. This is acted out through sowing doubt around the definition, experience and impact of racism (white supremacy) with an individual or as a group, making it difficult for them to trust their instincts, feelings and core sense of self.
Examples include, pretending not to see or understand racism, refusing to listen to those impacted by racism, minimizing our experience and the traumatic impact of racism. Verbal examples include:
‘It’s not that bad.’
‘Not everything is about race’
‘That happened along time ago’
‘There’s only one human race.’
‘You’re imagining things’
‘You’re to sensitive.’
‘ Why are you always so angry?’
‘ You have a chip on your shoulder’
This list goes on and on, I’m sure you have others. When your ability to trust yourself has been broken down, you are more likely to experience shame and put up with this type of abuse. Tools for wellness include setting verbal boundaries around what and who you choose to talk about racism with, then focus on taking care of yourself with these 3 principles of racial wellness.
1.Release. Racial stress can leave you feeling angry and frustrated so use physical activities on a daily basis to transform the trapped energy and emotion inside the body.
2.Reflect. Self-reflection is a crucial part of emotional literacy so schedule quiet time to observe and understand your feelings and reactions to the events. Use safe spaces in therapy, recovery and support groups to reduce isolation, shame and miseducation.
3.Renew. Use self-soothing behaviors and cultural nourishment to reset the balance and maintain your sense of self. No matter how small, these are powerful revolutionary acts inside a system that feeds your self hate.
You deserve peace so take the time to make these rituals part of your daily practice.