‘We're carrying so much': How Indianapolis parents are talking to kids about race and pain | NAMI

‘We’re carrying so much’: How Indianapolis parents are talking to kids about race and pain

Posted on April 22, 2021

Dr. Christine Crawford, Associate Medical Director for NAMI, previously told IndyStar that dealing with the emotional stress and trauma that comes with being Black in America is like wearing a sticky suit. From the smallest microaggression to the most overt racism, everything remains and takes its toll. “Something as common as, ‘oh, you speak pretty well for a Black person.’ These kinds of subtle comments over time, they add up. They stick to you. They start to weigh you down and you have this burden,” Crawford said. “Seeing someone on TV that looks like you being shot in the back multiple times by police in front of their children in the car, that also stays with you." Crawford adds that people begin carrying that burden at an early age. She says children of color can experience vicarious racism that affects their worldview when people in their lives or people who resemble them are victimized. “When a racist incident happens to someone that the child knows whether that's a parent or someone else in the family, it's almost for that child as though they themselves have experienced that race-related trauma,” she said. “They imagine themselves in the place of that person that was victimized.” Crawford said these emotions can lead to young children being overly worried, irritable, on-edge or clingy the more they hear stories about racism affecting people that they know, or people who resemble them. "It's shaping how they view the world and it can erode our sense of worth," Crawford said.


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