Resources to support Black Lives

From Health Equity SIG Chair, Kimberly Anderson

These are three resources that those invested in Equity Work including MOTA, who are not Black, can do to support Black Lives and demonstrate support.

Intersectionality Resource by Dr. Jioni Lewis and Dr. Helen Nevill  Lewis, J.A. & Nelville, H.A. (2015). Construction and initial validation of the Gendered Racial Microaggressions Scale for Black Women. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 62(2), 289-302.  Abstract: The purpose of this study was to develop a measure of gendered racial microaggressions (i.e., subtle and everyday verbal, behavioral, and environmental expressions of oppression based on the intersection of one’s race and gender) experienced by Black women by applying an intersectionality framework to Essed’s (1991) theory of gendered racism and Sue, Capodilupo, et al.’s (2007) model of racial microaggressions. The Gendered Racial Microaggressions Scale (GRMS), was developed to assess both frequency and stress appraisal of microaggressions, in 2 separate studies. After the initial pool of GRMS items was developed, we received input from a community-based focus group of Black women and an expert panel. In Study 1, an exploratory factor analysis using a sample of 259 Black women resulted in a multidimensional scale with 4 factors as follows: (a) Assumptions of Beauty and Sexual Objectification, (b) Silenced and Marginalized, (c) Strong Black Woman Stereotype, and (d) Angry Black Woman Stereotype. In Study 2, results of confirmatory factor analyses using an independent sample of 210 Black women suggested that the 4-factor model was a good fit of the data for both the frequency and stress appraisal scales. Supporting construct validity, the GRMS was positively related to the Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale (Nadal, 2011) and the Schedule of Sexist Events (Klonoff & Landrine, 1995). In addition, the GRMS was significantly related to psychological distress, such that greater perceived gendered racial microaggressions were related to greater levels of reported psychological distress. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

1) Become familiar with The Microaggressions scale developed by Dr. Lewis and Dr. Neville, and identification of how you implicitly or explicitly use methods of silencing Black Women (colleagues, students, patients/families) in your daily practices. You can learn more from The WELLS Healing and Research Collective or Academics 4 Black Lives.

1.      Greet a Black Woman kindly in regular English  (avoid slang, pet names, ask name pronunciation if unsure).  2.      Have regular play dates with Black families.  3.      Use assessments normed for Black children and/or adults.  4.      Have a Black Woman professional mentor.  5.      1-2x/month hang out with Black women friend(s).  6.      Sit by and introduce self to Black women at CEUs.  7.      Attend workshops or CEUS by a Black Woman.  8.      Consult Black GLBTQ+ in planning PRIDE events.  9.      Acknowledge treating few to no Black OT patients.  10.   Talk with your team doctors on lacking NICU and Early Intervention referrals of Black babies.  11.   Do not refer Black moms to the Courts when IEP, 504, and teacher’s conduct is questioned.  12.   Cite Black Women PhDs in professional literature (Black Women PhDs on FB)  13.   Distinguish Black Feminism from Feminism
2) A cross cultural checklist of daily practices for individuals who want to support Black Lives. African Diaspora communities including my own ethnicity hold Black Moms, Aunties, Grandmoms, Older Cousins in high regard. They are the holders of community wisdom, habits, routines, and connectedness regardless of marital status or parenthood. Many try to advocate for Black Lives without honoring these Women and their families or communities.

Microaggressions are about power or dominance of Black Lives in strategic or unconscious ways. A strategic way many organizations, including the County based Equity Action Team I participate in, undo Microaggressions is calling in Black community members to share their experiences with their system and multiple Black leaders from the community to the table. Civility, humanization, and intersectionality are crucial for Black Lives.

Black Women who are mothers and advocates within Special Ed are routinely marginalized by White individuals who are Doctors, OTs, etc (see Dr. Rachel Hardeman's UMN SPH study on Black babies dying 3x more when cared for by White doctors between the 1990s and 2015; see also the extensive research showing the lack of EI referrals and delayed OT treatment of Black children). Making decisions with good intentions is still practicing dominance, non-person-centeredness, and is costly for Black Lives not just with George Floyd but the discipline of OT as well. Please let me know how you end up utilizing the Cross Cultural Checklist in your communities. Black Women are very welcoming and I know your lives will be enriched if you choose to implement it into your life.

What is Intersectionality?  “Is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem.” – Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw  Intersectionality is the examination of the interplay of power and systems impact on the marginalized by gendered racism. It is not simply the highlight of multiple identities of oppression often excluding race. It is the inclusion of race and intersecting identities in relation to power and systems. Intersectionality was founded by Black Women of Various Generations and Identities dating back to the 19th century on their/our experiences being marginalized. The origins of Intersectionality was by and for Black Women that were marginalized by populations of White Women and White GLBTQ+. Primary sources of reference and understanding of Intersectionality is founded in the lives of Black Women not included with other Gendered populations (White Women). – Adapted from Academics for Black Lives.     Founders of Intersectionality include:  1. Sojourner Truth (19th century, Abolitionist, Black Women’s Rights)  2. Anna Julia Cooper (19th century, Black Feminism)  3. Combahee River Collective (20th century, Black Queer Women)  4. Kimberle Crenshaw (20th century, Gendered Racism and Law)  5.Patricia Hill Collins (20th century, Black Feminism)
3) The third is a resource on the foundation of Intersectionality. It began in the 19th and 20th Centuries to address racism like slavery and Gendered Racism practiced by White Suffragists who actively and successfully blocked Black Women's right to vote while advocating for and securing their own rights. Intersectionality continued to develop in the 20th century around marginalization of Black Feminists, Black GLBTQ+, and Gendered Racism Law. Please check out the various founders of Intersectionality and how it can inspire your practices in Equity Work.

4. Read Disparities in NICU and Early Intervention Care of Black Babies and Children.