The residents of Chicken Hill experience exceptional bigotry, ignorance, and discrimination in their day-to-day interactions. One of the few residents of Chicken Hill who mostly transcends religious and racial boundaries is Chona, who leads with kindness and integrity.
Times have changed somewhat. Not enough.
Too many people have unfounded negative beliefs about other cultures, which can manifest in hate crimes, hate speech, bias, aggression, or microaggressions. I wish I were qualified to open people’s minds to appreciating differences. But, unfortunately, all I can do is help survivors of discrimination (25% of whom experience related mental health problems) heal.
Here are healing tips for anyone who has experienced any form of discrimination.
Talk About It: Telling others about your experience will help you feel less alone and stave off low self-esteem, a frequent consequence of discrimination.
Honor Your Feelings: An intense emotional response to hatred and discrimination is normal. Avoid suppressing or ignoring the feelings. Instead, use positive coping skills.
Take Care Of Yourself: Negative coping skills thrive when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Feed yourself, decompress, and try some healthy distractions (books, TV, music) in a safe environment, spend time with friends, and get the sleep you need.
Listen to Your Instincts: Don’t force yourself to be with people or in unsafe situations.
Take Safe and Effective Action: Once in a safe place, write down everything that happened and contact authorities within your community, school, company, or other supportive organizations.
Be The Change: You’re imperfect. We all are. Educate yourself about the language, stereotypes, and other injustices that have a marginalizing impact and modify your behaviors.
If the community in Chicken Hill and beyond had more Chonas and fewer ignorant, discriminatory people, they would have lived together in better harmony and peace. Hopefully, stories like these and real-life examples will provide learning and growth. Until then, if you experience any hate-based discrimination, try the tips outlined above.