Part 3: The psychological effects of racism and discrimination

In part three, Psychologist and Psychotherapist Ferdinand Garoff discusses the psychological effects of discrimination and racism.

Racist speech and actions have a psychological impact on the targeted individuals. Members of the groups favoured by racist ideologies may find it beneficial not to question the underlying values and views, and simply to defend their own power position.

Persons in a minority position experience more stress and threats in social interaction than persons belonging to the majority group. Psychological safety is the experience of feeling good and safe in a community.

Materials supporting learning

See Ferdinand Garoff’s slideshow (pdf 732 KB)

Key concepts:

  • racism
  • discrimination
  • white standard
  • internalised racism
  • minority stress
  • identity
  • microaggression
  • psychological safety

Read more about the key concepts.

Reflect on the following questions: 

  • In what ways can microaggressions emerge?
  • What does minority stress mean?
  • What is a psychologically safe community like?
  • How can you promote psychological safety in your work or study community?
  • What kind of effects can internalised racism have on an individual or community?