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 Episode #1: Internalized Racism

Internalized racism refers to the subtle yet pervasive ways in which individuals from marginalized racial or ethnic groups internalize negative societal messages about their own race or ethnicity. It can manifest in self-hatred, low self-esteem, and a distorted self-perception. Internalized racism can also result in individuals adopting harmful stereotypes and beliefs about their own racial group, leading to self-limiting behaviors and perpetuating systemic racism. Overcoming internalized racism requires self-awareness, education, and conscious efforts to challenge and reject negative societal messages, and embrace positive aspects of one's cultural heritage. It is a complex and ongoing process that necessitates collective efforts to combat racism at both individual and societal levels.

This episode of Shelley's Plumbline discusses the pervasive problem of internalized racism with Brother Ezekweh.

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Dive Deeper

THAT GOT WEIRD: A True Story of Internalized Racism Episode 3

Jo points out that racism and microaggressions don’t always come from white people – internalized racism is real and harmful. Whether within her own community or in inner-city youth, Jo talks about her opinions and experiences with internalized racism, the way we process racism, and how to be better than our mistakes.

Racial Equity Tools
Internalized Racism

Donna Bivens provides this definition of internalized racism in her chapter from Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building on “What Is Internalized Racism?”: “As people of color are victimized by racism, we internalize it. That is, we develop ideas, beliefs, actions and behaviors that support or collude with racism. This internalized racism has its own systemic reality and its own negative consequences in the lives and communities of people of color. More than just a consequence of racism, then, internalized racism is a systemic oppression in reaction to racism that has a life of its own. In other words, just as there is a system in place that reinforces the power and expands the privilege of white people, there is a system in place that actively d [...]

SAGE Journals
The Associations Between Internalized Racism, Racial Identity, and Psychological Distress

Internalized racism, or the acceptance of negative stereotypes about one’s own racial group, is associated with psychological distress; yet, few studies have explored the longitudinal impact of internalized racism on the psychological well-being of African American emerging adults. Furthermore, racial identity’s role as a protective factor in the context of internalized racism remains unclear. This study examined the longitudinal impact of internalized racism on psychological distress...

Ted Talk
Black Self, White World: Lessons on internalized racism | Jabari Lyles | TEDxTysonsSalon

Community leader, activist and educator Jabari Lyles discusses his personal journey to understanding and loving himself as a black man, in spite of growing up among a predominantly white community. Jabari Lyles is an educator, nonprofit leader and community leader in Baltimore, Maryland. His work focuses on positive outcomes for youth and the LGBTQ community, especially LGBTQ youth of color. He is currently Director of the Maryland chapter of GLSEN, the leading national organization championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 schools. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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