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Navigating Racism and Imposter Syndrome

As people of colour, specifically Black people, unfortunately we face a unique set of circumstances and barriers that other races do not. As such, it is important for us to be able to address these barriers and circumstances, therefore, our last workshop covered the topics of navigating racism and imposter syndrome.


  • Racism: based on the idea that different races possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another

  • Racism = belief while discrimination/microaggressions = actions

  • Imposter syndrome: an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be; the experience of feeling like a “phony”

  • How are they connected?: Negative stereotypes and societal expectations can create a powerful feeling of self-doubt, resulting in imposter syndrome

Here are some interesting and thought-provoking videos pertaining to racism and imposter syndrome that we watched as a group.

Michelle Obama Talks about Imposter Syndrome:

Amelia and Maggie discuss racism:

Unsurprisingly, most people cope with race-related stress ineffectively which can foster a lot of negative feelings and eventually health problems. Here is a list of ineffective coping mechanisms that we discussed:

  • Avoidance: ignoring your feelings

  • Disengaging: isolating yourself

  • Substance use: the use of alcohol or drugs as escapism

  • Can lead to emotional reactions and health concerns such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Self-doubt

  • Heart disease or hypertension (high blood pressure)

As Black people, it is important that we begin to cope with race-related stress, before the burden becomes too harmful. Here is a list of healthy and effective coping mechanisms that aid in the navigation of race-related stress and imposter syndrome:

  • Build a network of support

  • Connect with people who have similar experiences

  • Utilize your belief system

  • I.e., confiding in your spiritual leader(s)

  • Develop a positive cultural identity

  • Learn about the history of your cultural group

  • Reframe negative situations

  • Identify negative feelings

  • Perform a reality check

  • Make a positive reinterpretation

  • Get involved

  • Social action groups or school clubs

If you want more information about this you can read about it here

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