• Ethnocentrism and Stress

    With everything going on the world with the pandemic and an associated increase in racism and attacks on Asian individuals it has me thinking about why this is happening.

    It goes back to how our brains are wired to simplify and group information. This is useful in many ways as there is a ton of information coming into our awareness at all times and having shortcuts helps our brains from becoming overwhelmed.

    During times of stress we are taxed emotionally and cognitively, thus our brain is more likely to fall back on mental short cuts to ease the strain. This and our tendency towards assigning negative characteristics to out-group members accounts for the increased racism and violence towards those of Asian descent right now.

    But just because this is how our brain is processing information does not mean that we aren’t responsible for our behavior nor is this way of thinking set in stone. If you know that you are more likely to feel an aversion to those perceived as ‘other’ then we can acknowledge this pull and consciously decide to do something else. You don’t have to beat yourself up because your brain went there.

    Let’s make a conscious effort to not let this pandemic pull us apart, or to pull us into a prejudiced way of behaving to our Asian community members. We are all in this together and that is the only way we will make it through – is to stick together.

    For those interested, the above information comes from Mark Nickerson’s Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy.

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