As a student who may identify as black, indigenous, or as a person of color on a predominantly white campus, you may experience oppression in multiple forms such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism. This intesection of trauma can have multiple stressful impacts.
The intersectionality of oppression as defined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, is a framework designed to explore the dynamics between identities (race, class, gender) and connected systems of oppression (patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism). Oppression is a key factor that allows abuse and assault to occur through the use of power and control, causing many black, indigenous, and people of color to experience multiple forms of abuse throughout their lives. If you have experienced trauma as a victim of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and/or stalking, there are options that you can pursue for safety, healing, and reporting.
Recommendations for Coping with Stress:
- Build a support network. Connect with other people with similar experiences and feelings to help you successfully navigate your experiences of oppression.
- If spirituality plays an important role in your life, utilize your belief system as a way to cope with stress. This could involve connecting with others who share your spiritual beliefs, confiding in your spiritual leaders, or participating in your spiritual rituals.
- Take classes that focus on the historical experiences and contributions of your cultural group and join campus organizations that celebrate your cultural norms and ideals.
- Become involved in social action.
- Call people out when you witness acts of injustice or intolerance as you feel comfortable and safe to intervene.
- Try not to get discouraged. Change can be a long process. Remember that your contribution is a vital component of change.
- Don't underestimate the power you have to make change.