How Indigenous People Can Protect Their Mental Health When Facing Racism
When you look at the world now, it seems like racial segregation is genuinely a thing of the past. It is not only the white people who can play leading roles on TV or pursue a particular profession. No line separates the African Americans, Asians, and other folks from various ethnic groups. Furthermore, any terminology that means to degrade to talk about people based on their skin color has become unacceptable to the general public.
Nevertheless, within billions of individuals on this planet, it should not be surprising to hear that many indigenous folks still experience racism at times. When they take the train or bus, for instance, a nasty co-passenger might comment about their “kind” ruining the ambiance in the vehicle. Other racists also get caught in the act of discriminating against individuals due to their clothing or accent.
Steve Taylor, PhD, wrote, “Racism has been—and unfortunately still is—such a prominent feature of so many human societies.”
Despite the laws in place that try to protect indigenous people against racial discrimination, its effect on the victims does not honestly stop when the offender pays a fine or serves time in jail. The memory of the verbal or physical abuse that they dealt with tends to stay for a while. The younger is the discriminated fellow too, the longer he or she may carry the burdening emotions that racism often brings.
“It may allow me to be perceived by my colleagues in my workplace as being this hostile, angry, frustrated individual who nobody wants to be around,” said Thomas A. Parham, PhD. “What they can’t see is the pain and the anger.”
If you are a part of an ethnic community or you know someone who is, here are some ways to protect your mental health in the fact of racial discrimination.
Ignore The Judgmental Person
The first thing you should consider doing is turning your back on someone who mistreats you due to your origins. You cannot help it if your complexion is different from theirs or if your clothing style follows the trend in your culture. Similarly, you do not need to say sorry to a judgmental person for being yourself because that is who you are and will always be. It is tiring to have to explain your way of living to everyone; that’s why it is better to ignore the discriminating ones.
Stick To Your Beliefs
When you often get criticized in a location where you belong to the minority group, there is a chance for you to doubt your beliefs at some point. “Should I keep wearing my hijab?” “Will people like me more once my accent sounds like theirs?”
The truth is that your value as a person does not depend on the things you grew up following. Who cares if some folks cannot accept your uniqueness? There will be others who won’t mind and may even love you more for it. Just focus on finding the latter and try not to stray away from your beliefs.
Stand Up For Yourself
In case the racist in your midst won’t stop talking crap about you and your ethnic group even when you stay silent, that should be your cue to stand up for yourself. Diana Ro, PsyD, wrote, “Microaggressions occur every day. When you hear someone making a derogatory comment or stereotype, speak up.”
Talkback to this person and fight every rude comment he or she gives with facts. You need not worry about doing it in front of your colleagues because you are not arguing for no reason. You aim to set the ill-mannered individual straight so that he or she cannot victimize anyone else anymore.
Now Is The Time To Think Positive
Your mental health won’t be in much danger despite needing to face racial discrimination on a regular basis if you think positively about yourself. So, you don’t look like everyone else in your town. That’s okay. Are the beliefs that your family follows diverse from what others put their faith in? No problem. Things will only become problematic when you allow the negative words you hear to stress you out.
Deep breaths, my friend. Remember the tips above whenever acts of racism try to get in your head. Good luck!