A disproportionate number of children and youth of colour fail in school and become trapped in the pipelines of treatment, social service, and justice systems. This presentation examines racial trauma and highlights strategies for healing and transformation. Racial oppression is a traumatic form of interpersonal violence which can lacerate the spirit, scar the soul, and puncture the psyche. Without a clear and descriptive language to describe this experience, those who suffer cannot coherently convey their pain, let alone heal. The source of their hurt is often confused with distracting secondary symptoms. As with other forms of trauma, we ask the wrong question about struggling youth of colour. Instead of asking “What is wrong with them?” we need to ask the trauma-informed question, “What has happened to them?”.
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