There is inadequate concern regarding racial trauma even with continued efforts in psychology, as well as social sciences. As a result, there is no acknowledgement of racial trauma in the lives of both black children, together with adolescents by researchers, scholars, or even practitioners (Daniel 15). A reliable root of personal and systemic occurrences of racism against black youths in school is usual since this happens to be a common environment for black youths. Therefore, this essay takes a look at the developmental perspective in discussing the assessment, along with the treatment of black children and adolescents who certainly undergo racial trauma throughout their lives (Cokley 19). The intricacy of racial trauma gets demonstrated by a case sample; hence, there is a need for providers to acknowledge the significance of assessment models in addition to treatment interventions, which encompass black youths’ racial experiences as a vital element of treatment.
When it comes to race, the environment of American school corresponds with societal dynamics within the United States (Cokley 29). The school environment is also responsible for the messages black students obtain about their specific racial group that signifies a deficit or strength. Therefore, school environments influence the growth of black students similarly to his or her family’s background family especially in adolescence (Daniel 25). As a result, school systems creating environments that distance students of color leads to misidentification as well as subsequent disentanglement from school. A qualitative study conducted on African American students by Langhout (31) investigated the ways whereby school environments suppress students. Analysis of personal observations, along with interview data revealed that teachers applied preconceived unconstructive stereotypes on both students of color and poor students in silencing them and making rules on how students must act. The observations led to the realization that since there was a perception that the populace of black low-income students was difficult in managing, the school administration validated an enhanced attention about their behavior and consequent disciplinary actions. According to Langhout (39), students got stripped off their individuality, as well as their voice thereby rendering them unnoticeable.
Observational data disclosed that students frequently opposed the endeavors from both their teachers and school system of defining who they were or even who they should have been through verbally or characteristically resisting dominant beliefs, giving them the opportunity of creating their own self-definition. Therefore, Langhout (44) suggested the reevaluation of the perceived noncompliance within school systems by students as resistance, instead of solely getting acknowledged as conduct disordered or even oppositional behavior. When student’s behavior gets conceptualized in this manner, there is a gateway to having a better understanding of the racial power dynamics in schools (Cokley 31). Unfortunately, the physical, as well as psychological helplessness and hyper vigilance in the past influenced the way of thinking of black children and adolescents as they perceive that they are in a permanent state of danger due to their race. In the school environment, the competence of black children, together with adolescents gets challenged and curtailed since they go through disproportionate stages of unconstructive disciplinary action, which in turn subjects them to racial bullying (Langhout 53). The majority of black youths who go through an overt racial slur constantly encounter with the fact that their answers get ignored by the teachers in the classroom. These are the occurrences of racism in school systems, which is turn paves way for synonymous traumatic psychological responses (Cokley 47).
In the past, there was no connection between race and trauma; however, all this changed with the first 1994 review of trauma and recovery whereby race got excluded with the one exemption of a case in which a white woman underwent a raped ordeal in the hands of a black man (Daniel 45). Although psychologists tend to encourage open talks to African Americans on racial trauma during therapy, the inability of providers in conducting assessments, as well as implementing involvement to racial trauma continues to be an unsettled subject (Daniel 60). Mental health workers lack research and training when it comes to race and racism; unfortunately, this presents a constant challenge influencing the effectual treatment of both black children and adolescents (Daniel 64). In most cases, there are discussions on consequences of race and racism regarding youths of color; however, white youths tend to ignore race as a subject that has a lot of consequences on their growth, as well. Apparently, school systems ascribing racial privilege and authority to white youths through the reinforcement of societal thoughts of racial oppression by means of administrative procedures and policies develop an unconstructive effect on the racial identity growth of white children, as well as adolescents (Langhout 55). Therefore, observing racially traumatic occurrences whether overt or covert, is capable of facilitating secondary traumatic occurrences such as increased anxiety, sadness and feelings of vulnerability (Cokley 73). There is a need for undertaking more research in this subject in raising awareness on the negative impacts of racism for white children, as well as adolescents.
There is a lot of information obtainable regarding racial awareness; however, along with discrimination in early childhood, there is minimum empirical research on children and adolescents that have taken place (Cokley 81). Lack of investigation in this subject has led to the development and assessment of intervention programs intended for addressing the increase of racial prejudice in children, thereby making it virtually nonexistent. It is necessary for future researchers to apply racial identity models to come up with applied prevention, as well as intervention programs since this will be extremely helpful in their research (Daniel 78). Recognizing reminiscences of racial trauma when undertaking therapeutic interventions make powerful psychological impacts for African Americans. Therefore, providers need to be proactive while facilitating the incorporation of race-related occurrences and providing for clients of color (Langhout 88). Additionally, addressing matters related to race and racism plays a key role in the childhood life of black youths. Early intervention and treatment in addressing and focusing on childhood racial trauma will help black children, as well as adolescents to become more equipped in resisting racial oppression (Cokley 93). This will empower black youths in their attempts of surviving racial trauma thereby leading to less impact when they undergo the reoccurrence of racism. Considering United States’ sociopolitical record of race, it is apparent that youths of color from diverse racial and ethnic family have comparable, yet different histories of racial subjugation (Langhout 96). Therefore, researchers need to conceptualize and examine the effect racial trauma has on the lives of black children and adolescents. Finally, children and youth with different racial and ethnic backgrounds should also be examined in this research (Daniel 89).