The Psychological Toll Of Racism On Black & Minority College Students

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In recent weeks, stories of students at the University of Missouri, Ithaca College, and Yale taking a stand against racial discrimination and racial inequality have surfaced. We’ve also learned of threats being made against students at the HBCU campuses of Bowie State University in Maryland and Howard University in Washington D.C. that have put both law enforcement and students on edge.

With all the tension being felt across college campuses in America, NewsOne Now looks at the psychological toll racism and discrimination is having on African-American college students enrolled at predominantly White institutions.

A number of college campuses are increasing security measures and offering counseling services to protect students’ physical and mental well-being. America’s Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere joined NewsOne Now guest host Mo Ivory to discuss the damaging effects racism and discrimination is having on some of our best and brightest young minds attending college while Black in America.

“One of the reasons we see such low rates of PhDs being given to minority students is because they don’t feel comfortable attending many of these colleges and they don’t feel safe on campus,” Gardere said.

“We also see that not only for African-Americans — under-represented minorities, LGBTQ, and so on — they are having those issues too. Not only do they not feel safe, not feel welcome, but even when they’re there, they’re not able to produce the way that they really should, they’re not able to get the grades that they can because they’re worried about their safety, they’re worried about their lives, they’re worried about how people perceive them.”

Ivory then asked Gardere if it would be better for African-American students to “just come on home to the HBCUs,” to which Dr. Gardere said, “Trying to run away from an issue is not what we do, it’s not American in any way.”

“We have to understand that the protests, the very silent protests, the peaceful protests, are not just from African-American students, but also from White students, Asian American students — people who believe in justice and fairness, and we have to begin to change these institutions,” Gardere said.

“In many ways, African-American students and others are becoming the psychological martyrs to get to this goal of making these institutions fair to all students.”

As a result of the issues of racial discrimination and inequalities receiving so much attention through social media, “we are getting those people who are very racist who are trying to fight back against it in a very inappropriate and in very dangerous ways.”

Dr. Gardere believes it is empowering all students, especially African-Americans, to say, “‘Enough is enough, this has being going on for years on our campuses and we are holding administration[s] accountable.'”

He wrapped his comments saying minority students are “doing a favor for the administration because these are the things that administrations need to wake up about — institutional racism, unconscious racism — those are very real and need to be addressed.”

Watch NewsOne Now guest host Mo Ivory and Dr. Jeff Gardere discuss the psychological toll racism and discrimination is having on African-American and other minority college students in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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