Language as Racial Stress: Building Interactions that Promote Wellness

February 1, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Anna Lee, PhD, Dawn Henderson, PhD, and Maya Corneille, PhD

Language use can convey meaning and influence beliefs toward individuals and groups. Across settings, to include learning institutions and work environments, those described as largely black (Black/African American) and brown (Latinx, Hispanic, and Native American, Native Hawaiian, etc.) encounter interpersonal and symbolic interactions where language use and symbols, either implicitly or explicitly, invalidates or interrogates their competence, intelligence, abilities, or capabilities. Moreover, increased encounters with interrogation towards expression, linguistic patterns, and even hairstyles become sources of stress and can trigger previous memories of other adverse race-related experiences.

This session will provide examples extracted from interviews and stories gathered from racially and ethnically diverse adults and how language use and symbols function as racial stressors. The presenters will discuss how resistance and reframing strategies help people deal with such racial stressors but also provide guidance on how individuals can reduce the use of racialized and harmful language/symbols. Passcode: 770658
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