Exploring the Wellness of Black Women who Describe a Criterion A Trauma in their Life Story

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Jessica Krukowski,

Ed St. Aubin, &

Karen Robinson

Section Editor:

Sydney Timmer-Murillo

Black women live in an intersection between two marginalized identities: their Blackness and their womanhood (King, 2019). Oftentimes the challenges Black men and boys face become synonymous with the entire Black experience (Patton et al., 2016). As a result, solidarity becomes asymmetrical, and the lived experiences of Black women and girls become marginalized (Johnson, 2013). Black women encounter a similar asymmetry with sexism. Sexism as experienced by White women and by Black women is not equivalent. Because the Black woman’s particular experience is not recognized, that experience of sexism is dismissed (Sesko & Biernat, 2010). Because the impact of racism and sexism have been historically explored separately, the unique intersectional forms of racist and sexist oppression Black women face are less understood and have remained invisible to larger social justice movements (e.g., civil rights, Black power, feminism/women’s liberation, workers’ rights, Me Too, Black Lives Matter; Coles & Pasek, 2020). This imposed invisibility has perpetuated the systematic silencing of Black female voices (Kota, 2020). As a result, Black women have been consistently underrepresented and historically overlooked in research, leaving a gaping hole in the scientific literature (Allen, 2018). Methodologies exploring stress and trauma in Black women are no exception. Presently, the body of stress and trauma literature has found pervasive effects on the mental health (Turner & Turner, 2021) and well-being (Harrell, 2000) of Black people, but the methods employed have not been conducive to understanding the lived experience of Black women in particular. Thus, it is imperative for researchers to provide the space for Black women to use their voices to guide future scholarship. Raising the voices of Black women will help to close this gap, adding a strength-based and intersectional lens.

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