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Internalized Racial Oppression in Students

People have different identities that they associate with, be it religious, cultural, or national, but the most important is the racial and ethnic identity. Ethnic identity has to develop from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Identifying with one’s ethnic group shows solidarity. Nowadays, people have multiple ethnic personalities due to factors such as demographic relocation and intermarriage. Sometimes one can feel more attached to the foreign ethnic culture than their native ethnicity. When individuals get biased toward their ethnic group, they may have guilty thoughts towards themselves and feel that they have let down their kind. Students who have more than one ethnic identity may experience impacts in learning and association with their schoolmates. This discussion aims to help one of the students who feel she does not identify with her ethnic group, a situation referred to as internalized racial oppression. The paper will focus on recommendations that will empower, reclaim, and integrate a new understanding of racial oppression, including building support, self-examination, ethnic identification, and therapy.

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Building Support

Jessica may share her experience with other schoolmates who have undergone through the same psychological problem. An appropriate way of sharing experiences may be done by creating a support network where members can relate their stories and deal with them. Talking and interacting with others relieves a substantial amount of tension and gives more understanding of what the individual is going through (Muller & Boutte, 2019). By sharing familiarities and opinions, the brain will become acquainted with the situation and have a broader perspective. A person understands that they are not the only ones affected, thereby finding support among peers.

Self- Examination

A self-examination of personal feelings can help understand the source of an individual’s ethnic and racial bias. Exploration of one’s feelings and emotions helps in solving the internal conflict that one is experiencing. One should take time to go through the negative feelings of what they are going through and counter them positively. For example, they could tell themselves that the lack of interest in their ethnic group is not because they are a minority but because one has less in common to interact with. Having positive thoughts can help to lessen the self-imposed feelings of guilt.

Ethnic Identification

One may have to identify what they may have in common with their ethnic group. It is natural to be different, but there is always something that can strongly connect a person to their ethnic group. The individual should find an activity that can help them to interact more with their ethnic group. It may be a social or cultural event, or maybe a celebration of cultural heritage. A person needs to identify with their race and share the experience with others. Despite having a common goal, it is good for an individual to acknowledge that they are different, not assuming or ignoring their ethnicity.


Therapies that focus on self-reflection are recommended since they help an individual understand internalized oppression and how to find ways of identifying with their ethnic identity. A therapy that focuses on the development of implicit consciousness is also recommended. In this treatment, the problem is internalized from the source of the oppression, and internal self-conflicts are addressed (Muller & Boutte, 2019). Psychologists insist on the importance of racial identity as an important factor of an individual’s well-being socially and emotionally. Therefore, internalized racial oppression, recommended solutions that are self-examination, ethnic identification, building support, and therapy should be included and integrated into the learning curriculum to cultivate an inclusive social environment for students of all races. Topics on emotional distress concerning race and ethnicity should be embraced by all instructors so that more students with similar cases can get help.


Muller, M., & Boutte, G. S. (2019). A framework for helping teachers interrupt oppression in their classrooms. Journal for Multicultural Education, 13(1), 94-105.

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