Resisting Racism

We continue to be interested in the ways that people of color experience racism and the related effects on mental health. Research indicates that racism has a negative impact on both psychological and physical health and well being for racialized minorities, including associations with stress, lower life satisfaction and well-being, depressive and anxious symptoms, and a variety of other negative health and mental health outcomes (e.g. Broman, Mavaddat, & Hsu, 2000; Carter, 2007; Carter & Forsyth, 2009; Chou, Asnaani, and Hoffman, 2012; Deitch et al., 2003; Harrell, Hall, & Taliaferro, 2003; Landrine & Klonoff, 1996; Scurfield & Mackey, 2001). For Asian Americans, specifically, racism is associated with multiple issues, including lower self-esteem, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, interpersonal relationship issues, career problems, and a number of chronic health issues such as poor cardiovascular health, respiratory illness, and chronic pain symptoms (e.g. Gee, Spencer, Chen, & Takeuchi, 2007; V. W. Huynh & Fuligni, 2010; Liang & Fassinger, 2008; Tawa, Suyemoto, & Roemer, 2012).

Individuals experiencing racism enact a range of coping strategies to manage detrimental effects, although there is relatively limited research on coping, and even less on the possible protective effects of empowerment and resistance. In collaboration with Tahirah Abdullah and her research team, we have been working on a primary project focused on exploring the impacts of racism and the possible ameliorating effects of behavioral resistance. Papers in progress related to this project aim to examine how experiences of different aspects of racism relate to symptoms of psychological distress, approaches to coping, and the moderating effects of ethnic identity, racialized affinity, and resistance. We are also interested in further developing our understanding of inetersectionality and the ways that experiences of racism may be influenced by gender, sexual orientation, social class, etc. and are including comprehensive measures of demographics in our study. Data collection is ongoing.

The foundation of this project is the development of the Resistance and Empowerment Against Racism (REAR) Scale, accepted (April 2020) for publication in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. The accepted article and scale are available below

Development of the Resistance and Empowerment Against Racism (REAR) Scale
Resistance and Empowerment Against Racism (REAR) Scale

Teaching and Learning about Racism and Oppression

With my colleagues, Grace Kim (Boston University) and Roxanne Donovan (Kennesaw University), I am currently developing a 2-book project under contract. Unraveling Assumptions: A Primer for Understanding Oppression and Privilege is a primer text for university students and the general public which defines core concepts related to race, diversity, and social justice; describes the foundational framework of systemic power, privilege, and oppressions; and provides a multilevel ecological analysis that connects the individual experience to the systemic dynamics. Teaching Diversity Relationally: Engaging Emotions and Embracing Possibilities is a book for educators teaching about race, racism, and related issues which identifies the relational and emotional challenges; offers analysis of the intrapsychic and relational dynamics that are the foundation of these challenges; and provides concrete strategies for successfully meeting these challenges.