From Microaggressions to Hypervigilance: How Racism Affects Black Mental Health

 

Feb. 1, 2024 -- When we think of racism, we often think of overt acts of prejudice and discrimination, but what about subtle microaggressions, bias, and systemic barriers? February is Black History Month, and we are looking at the ways trauma and stress due to racism can impact the Black community physically, mentally, and emotionally. We'll discuss covert racism, explore the psychological impact of working twice as hard to attain what others might take for granted, and unpack the ways hypervigilance takes a toll on mental health. We spoke with Riana Elyse Anderson, PhD, LCP, clinical psychologist and Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, about the intergenerational impact of racism, tools for Black families to discuss this with the next generation, and how the brain responds to racial trauma.