7 Signs That You May Have Internalized Racism3 min read

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Black Realities and Signs Of Self-Hate

Internalized racism is the conscious or subconscious acceptance of the dominant society’s racist views, stereotypes and biases. Essentially, if you have internalized racism, it means that you may believe in some or many of the principles that many racists have. Here are a few signs that can help you determine if you have internalized racism:

  1. You only date outside of your race.

I am all for interracial dating, for as they say, Love is Love. However, when you specifically choose not to date people in your race, it most probably means that you dislike some stereotyped quality or qualities that the opposite gender (or same gender, depending on your sexual preference) of your race has. And even further, you have generalized that all men or women of your race have this particular quality.

  1. You Think You’re Different from Other Black People

This may happen for many different reasons. Perhaps, you’re the token black person in your group. You fit in. You hear from your friends that you’re not really Black and you believe this. Or maybe you grew up in an upper-class area where there might have been other Black people but they didn’t fit what the negative stereotypes of media portrayed to be Black and therefore, you distance yourself from the “other” Black people.

  1. You look down on Black people who wear their hair natural.

It’s ok to perm your hair or to wear weave. It’s your head. Do whatever you makes you feel comfortable and confident. However, when you denounce another Black person for wearing their hair natural, you are essentially claiming that Black people need to aspire to White aesthetics and hence, you have some internalized racism.

  1. You look down on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

It’s totally cool if as a Black person you went to a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). We all choose schools for many different reasons, many of these reasons have nothing to do with race. However, to call out HBCUs means that you believe that you don’t believe in Black spaces and structures. Research shows that Black students who attended HBCUs tend to be more confident professionally and more confident in their skin than those who attended PWIs. The power of learning around a diverse group of Black people is beyond powerful.

5.  You Believe Poor Black People Should Pull Themselves up From the Bootstrap

While self-agency is important in bettering one’s self, this premise ignores that inequities are largely systemic. The truth is most people are a product of their environment. Much like most poor white people have been poor for generations, the same goes for many poor black people who have not been exposed to other environments.

6. You skin bleach

You have bought into European aesthetics of beauty believing that fairer skins is better.

  1. You Code Switch Around White People

The truth is, living in a predominantly white society, code-switching is a survival strategy. In order to get a “seat at the table,” i.e . get a good paying job and move up the ladder, we have to tone down our Blackness. Hence, most of us internalize racism in order to survive in a White led economy.

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