How to work with internalized racism to improve mental wellness


How to work with internalized racism to improve mental wellness

Tell me about a time when your beliefs about people of your own race limited what you believed to be your potential in this life? 

So many of us stumble into the stereotypes we have been marinating in our entire lives.  

Maybe you felt your opinion mattered less because of how often you have been dismissed or devalued.  Maybe you believe the work you do is worth less than that of a white person because society tends to devalue it.

Feeling angry? Yes, that’s good!! Anger is a good emotion to have because it allows us to externalize the stereotypes that have affected us.  How do we work with internalized racism?  

Recognize it.  No need to feel ashamed.  It is almost inevitable that someone with a marginalized identity would internalize it, because we grew up as a minority with a majority group in power. 

Assign responsibility where it is due.  Who told you that you were inferior?  To, whomever said that to you, that’s on them.

Next, acknowledge your feelings about the stereotype or belief.  It is good to get angry, good to express rage in a non-destructive way.  Let it out!

When we recognize our own agency to move beyond limiting beliefs, then we own our power.  Stand up, fight back!  You are your own advocate and now you get to throw off those limiting beliefs and take your power back!!

by Yan Lin Tso, LCSW. 


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