PsyD Students: Joy NNadi and Justine Brown
Joy Nnadi and Justine Brown believe BIPOC students at UPEI need a space to discuss their issues and reflect on their mental health.
“There is not even enough support for Canadian students, and then out of all of that, the support for students of colour is even lesser,” Nnadi said.
The two doctorate students from UPEI’s Department of Psychology are hosting support sessions to discuss student experiences of vicarious racism and trauma, and how to deal with them healthily.
Like vicarious trauma, vicarious racism comes from witnessing or hearing about racism, and empathetically feeling the trauma of it, Brown said.
“You could consider it as second-hand racism, it’s not something you experience directly yourself.”
Brown and Nnadi plan to discuss other issues BIPOC students face such as microaggressions, being stereotyped, self-blame, mental exhaustion, and tokenism.
As this month is recognized as Black History Month, tokenism becomes a concern, Brown said.
“It could be focusing on hosting events targeted at black people, or promoting them (in a job) only during that month.”
Doing such is wrong because the motivations aren’t sincere, Brown said.
“The underlined message is ‘we would not be doing this otherwise’.”
Tokenism is virtue-signalling, and it doesn’t solve real problems, Nnadi said.
“When you put people in the spotlight for a time being, you feel like you’ve fulfilled something and you don’t have to focus on their real issues.”
Brown and Nnadi held their first support session last Wednesday.
They plan to host more sessions in the SDU main building (Room 213), starting on the 24th.