Strategies to Recognize Internalized Racism Traits

To understand internalize racism, you must first understand what is racism, or even better the concept of Critical Race Theory. You cannot unlearn what you do not know.

Internalized racism is when you have been socialized to accept as a stigmatized, marginalized member of a non-elite racial group the negative societal beliefs, stereotypes, racial prejudices, or discriminatory behaviour about people who look like you, mostly relating to your skin color. In most cases this further leads to the rejection of cultural or religious practices of their own racial group and that of your ancestors. In most cases, you will find that people may be aware of their own acceptance, but in most cases people are unconscious of this because the dominate white race makes it the default of how societies should be structured.

Racial prejudices amongst other components are considered to be part of racial, gender expression and sexual identity doubt, and are also considered part of the construction of internalized racism.

The internalization of racism has a psychological impact and is a process that might affect all BIPOCs racial, gender and sexual groups.

There are many manifestations of internalized racism, which can range from:

  1. Not embracing your skin color (melanin) and attempting to change it by bleaching
  2. Being ashamed of your natural, kinky hair and accepting that it can only look decent when your straight perm it to look like white people’s hair texture
  3. Believing that white people or white read people are the more superior race, and whatever they say or do is the measuring rod and a guideline for other races to follow
  4. Your inability to stand-up or call-out a white or white read person out when they wrong you or anybody who looks like you.
  5. Your inability and fear to learning and understanding structural racism because of fear that it will offend your partner or even destroy your relationship
  6. Always being grateful to be that chosen person, and not understanding the concept of tokenism
  7. Being ashamed of your non-christian names and taking up Christian names to make it easier for White people to pronounce.

……and many more.

I too was socialized to believe that there is nothing good that people who looked like me could achieve and the reason why we were “backward”, lacking ability to develop like the Western societies was because we were not working as hard as white people were. It never occurred to me that there was a system and reason why we were made to internalize racism, and that structure racism was a global pandemic that was constructured to control power and privilege – globally.

If you want to learn more about internalized racism, join my discussions on TikTok and Instagram @raceThink where I will be highlighting the different layers of racism.

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