Race plays an important role in shaping our identity and in turn, can shape the way we think or see the world around us. Additionally, there are mental health considerations unique to certain racial and cultural groups. Learn more about the relationship between your identity, your racial group, and your mental health.
The dictionary by Merriam-Webster defines race as “a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.”
Race is usually associated with biology and linked with physical characteristics, such as hair texture or skin color, and covers a relatively narrow range of options. Yet people of similar complexions/hair textures can be defined as different races, and definitions in the United States have changed over time.
When completing paperwork that asks for race, you may be asked to identify yourself as belonging to one or more of the following categories:
While some may be considered to be of a certain race, Black people, for example, may identify more with their individual ethnicity, as opposed to race. This could apply to any member of any race.
Conversations about race and ethnicity are key to building empathy, facilitating acceptance, understanding, and respect for those with people from other backgrounds. Such histories of other cultures and races are often erased or minimized from mainstream narratives, so it is essential to learn about the struggles and experiences of marginalized groups.
The acronym BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color" and is pronounced "buy-pock" as opposed to saying each letter individually. The BIPOC acronym builds on the former acronym of POC ("people of color"), acknowledging that not all people of color have the same experiences or deal with the same types of injustice.
Inclusion refers to "the act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability)."
Diversity refers to the quality of representing people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.
A microaggression is a subtle verbal or nonverbal behavior, committed consciously or not, that is directed at a member of a marginalized group, and has a harmful, derogatory effect.
Cultural assimilation refers to the act of sacrificing one's own culture to adopt the lifestyle, behaviors, and beliefs of the dominant culture/group.
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