It’s Thursday – so that means new Living Well episode day!
Today I’m continuing the conversation on the emotional toll of racism that we started on the show last week. I wanted to start by learning more about the trauma that both direct acts of racism and racist violence cause, but also about the vicarious and intergenerational trauma that can also result.
I spoke with Noi Quao on this. He’s the director for global critical incident response for Morneau Shepell. We talked for a long time, and you’re only getting a small snip of that in the episode itself (a really good snip). His insights really opened my mind to the depth of trauma that BIPOC communities face when tragically commonplace things like the death of George Floyd occur. This isn’t just a random event. This is yet another picking of the scab, yet another retraumatisation that contributes to the complex trauma most people of colour are exposed to from birth.
Then, to understand more about that exposure from birth, I talked with my old friend, advisor, mentor from graduate school. Dr. Tonya Bibbs is an assistant professor of social work at the Erikson Institute for child development in Chicago, Illinois. Kids learned to see and show preferences for race, among other things, from a very early age. Tonya helped me to see that how we shape those reactions, and the exposures and communities we build for kids, can be extremely influential in how those early beliefs either change or ingrain as the child ages into an adult.
I hope that you enjoy this episode. I sure learned a lot and, I hope you do too.