The Sistah Vegan Project

Ask Dr. Breeze: Nutritional Healing for the Stress of Being the ‘Token Negro’

In this video, I answer Dianna’s question about nutritional healing and necessary support to combat the stress of being seen as the ‘token negro’ or ‘affirmative action’ case in a largely white environment. This video is part of my new series, “Ask Dr. Breeze”, which I will showcase on the Sistah Vegan blog, but also its own website askdrbreeze.com . Dianna also refers to an earlier video I recorded last fall, that was about recipes for racial tension headaches.

Resources

  1. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life
  2. Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia

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One thought on “Ask Dr. Breeze: Nutritional Healing for the Stress of Being the ‘Token Negro’

  1. I really appreciated this response and can completely relate with the question. I went to a small private art college in NYC for graduate school and was the only black female in that school for two years I went there. I struggled from the first day I arrived until graduation with feelings of inadequacy and isolation compiled with contempt for choosing to stay in the situation. My thesis piece was all my pain, called Fly in Milk, which was critiqued by a panel of white instructors who didn’t once acknowledge any of the content of the work, simply whether or not it measured up to some technical ideal of “good” painting based solely on European art. It was most grueling experience of my life, and instead of ever voicing how stressed out I constantly felt (which was painfully evident in my thesis piece), I lived off coffee and refined sugar…

    Now, over ten years later, I am still surrounded by “whiteness” not only where I live (Oregon), where I work, where I walk my dog, and where I buy all my organic kale–the difference is that I don’t drink coffee/caffeinated beverages anymore nor do I eat refined sugar (although it seems impossible to avoid completely) and have found my tolerance, clarity of thinking and overall improved health helps me overcome–Although I find myself frustrated more frequently than less (as certain folks in these parts are oblivious to their privilege), there is really something to be said about the power of food and adequately nourishing your body. Somehow I always manage to be this spec of sand in the middle white sheets but if I could change anything about my graduate school experience, I would definitely take all the recommendations Dr. Harper gave, especially reaching out and more directly sharing emotional struggles to have them acknowledged on an institutional level. It IS sad that in 2013 I’m hearing another tale similar to my horrible grad school days–making change well overdue.

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