Hey ladies: the next time you're feeling the sting of racism, don't try to soothe your aching spirit with a mani/pedi, candles, incense or meditation. According to a study published in "Psychology of Women Quarterly," none of the above will ease a black woman's racism-related stress in any meaningful way.
In fact, the study suggests that these rituals and coping methods might actually make women feel worse.
"I expected that higher use of coping efforts would reduce the severity of psychological outcomes associated with individual race-related stress," Tawanda Greer, the study's author, said in a press-release trumpeting the findings.
"African American women are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of race-related stress, given their socially constructed identities as African Americans and as women," Greer wrote. "Thus, it is critical to the overall well-being of African American women that coping efforts are identified that assist in alleviating the psychological impacts associated with race and the intersection of race- and gender-related challenges."
In an interview with Dr. Jan D. Yoder, editor of "Psychology of Women Quarterly, Greer suggests that a combination of venting with friends, prayer and church activities works better than more passive coping methods such as alone time, quiet sulking and fixating on crucifixes, etc.
"Research definitely shows that distraction is not very effecting in the long run unless the person can actively or realistically avoid the stressor in totality," she said during the interview, which is available here.
Wow, Greer's study suggests that by pretending racism doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. And, that distracting ones self with candles doesn't do the trick either.
So, I have to ask: how do you ladies cope with the random, everyday acts of racism you encounter?
This post originally appeared on AOL Black Voices.
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