The Role of Racism in Cultural Betrayal Trauma & Healing
Societal inequality, including racism, impacts marginalized youth and young adults, including their experience, meaning-making, and outcomes of interpersonal trauma. Proposed by Gómez in 2012, cultural betrayal trauma theory (CBTT) highlights cultural betrayal in within-group violence in marginalized populations as a dimension of harm that affects mental, physical, behavioral, and cultural health outcomes. In CBTT, within-group violence violates the (intra)cultural trust—solidary, love, loyalty, connection, responsibility—that is developed in-group to buffer against societal inequality (Gómez & Gobin, 2020). This violation, termed a cultural betrayal, can contribute to diverse, costly outcomes (Gómez, 2020a), including dissociation (Gómez, 2019). In this webinar, I will first briefly review the literature on trauma and racism. I then will define CBTT and detail its empirical support, with a focus on Black young adults in the U.S. I will close with micro- and macro-level implications for addressing and ultimately working towards eradicating societal inequality and violence against youth, including the importance of attuning to the context of inequality, discrimination, oppression, and second-class citizenship for marginalized trauma survivors (Comstock et al., 2008; Gómez, 2020b; Gómez et al., 2016). In doing so, I hope to identify avenues of hope and healing for individuals, families, communities, institutions, and society.
This sessions was originally presented as a live webinar in August 2021.
Potential to Distress: No
Upon completion of this webinar participants will be able to:
- Describe the context of Anti-Black racism in the U.S.
- Define cultural betrayal trauma theory and its tenets, including (intra)cultural trust, cultural betrayal trauma, (intra)cultural pressure, and predicted cultural outcomes
- Discuss the evidence for CBTT in Black and other marginalized youth
- Identify next steps for CBTT research, within and outside of American contexts
- Value the importance of cultural competency in addressing the impact of inequality for Black American young adult survivors of interpersonal trauma
Presenter: Jennifer M. Gómez, PhD
Presenter Biography: Jennifer M. Gómez, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University (WSU) in the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development (MPSI). Dr. Gómez is a member of the External Advisory Committee for the Campus Culture & Climate Initiative (C3I) at Dartmouth College and Board Member and Chair of the Research Advisory Committee at the Center for Institutional Courage. She is the lead co-editor of a special issue of Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Discrimination, Violence, & Healing in Marginalized Communities. Her research centers around cultural betrayal trauma theory (CBTT), which she created as a framework for empirically examining the mental, behavioral, cultural, and physical health impact of violence on Black and other marginalized youth, young adults, and elders within the context of inequality. In addition to being recognized by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as an NAS Kavli Fellow (2019), her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation Fellowships Program, administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine (NASEM) and The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). Dr. Gómez has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, scholarly writings, and pieces for the general public. She has additionally contributed research perspectives on violence, sexual abuse & harassment, racism, and sexism in national news outlets. Dr. Gómez’ ultimate goal for her research is to identify avenues of hope and healing for individuals, families, communities, institutions, and society.
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