Dear STP Members,
As many of us begin a spring term in the midst of a pandemic marked by racial health disparities, the insurrection that occurred this week in the capitol of the United States adds an additional layer of painful experience for many students and faculty. Personally, I want to be mindful of the psychological impact this moment is having on students and faculty who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). As I read through the comments and reactions of BIPOC persons, I see mostly descriptions of being "stressed", "drained", and "psychologically threatened" after seeing these acts of violence and white supremacy. We are witnessing the psychological impact of racial trauma and race-based stress, which may also impact students and faculty at our institutions.
A number of psychologists have conducted work in the area of racial trauma which is described as the "ongoing individual and collective injuries due to exposure and reexposure to race-based stress". In 2019, APA published a special issue on Racial Trauma and Healing which can be found HERE.
Another resource that might be useful to students and faculty currently experiencing the effects of racial trauma is the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture's Racial Trauma Toolkit found HERE.
As teachers of psychology, we can also look to resources on trauma informed teaching methods to help navigate racial trauma in our classrooms. I am also linking to a TALK I recorded for a teach-in a few months ago, where I briefly discuss racial trauma and trauma informed teaching. There are many more resources and expertise about trauma informed educational practice. A good start may be the work of Carello & Butler:
Carello, J., & Butler, L. D. (2015). Practicing what we teach: Trauma-informed educational practice. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 35(3), 262-278. https://socialwork.buffalo.edu/content/dam/socialwork/home/teaching-resources/1-2-Carello-Butler-2015-Practicing-What-We-Teach.pdf
Kelley Haynes-Mendez, Psy.D.
Vice President, Diversity and International Relations
The Society for the Teaching of Psychology