Racial Whiplash (n)

Racial Whiplash – noun

ra·​cial whip·​lash | \ ˈrā-shəl \ ˈ(h)wip-ˌlash

Definition of racial whiplash

1 : psychological injury or confusion resulting from the sudden, sharp whipping back and forth of receiving contradicting racial microaggressions (commonly in a school setting)

2 : An abrupt change in the majority racial demographic of particular settings (can occur from meeting to meeting or during travel)

Examples of racial whiplash in a sentence

// She got racial whiplash when Brianna told her that she couldn’t play the lead character in the school play because she was Chinese, but later that day Hailey told her, “You’re so white. I don’t even see you as Asian.”

// Being the only person of color in her Environmental Studies class after her very diverse American Studies course gave her a bad case of racial whiplash.

Examples of racial whiplash on the Web

Balancing Two Worlds: Creating a Unified Identity: “Learning to understand this dual identity has been a lifelong struggle and is an integral reason why I came back to China. As I learn new songs, make new Chinese friends, and reconnect with the city of my birth, I am constantly piecing together more of what my Chinese-American identity means to me. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to explore this dynamic city and view myself from the lens of two cultures. As I observe people’s daily routines in the suburbs of Nanjing, local parks, and historic buildings, I wonder what would my life have been like if I had grown up in this city. Nanjing has been able to develop itself as a modern city while preserving its beautiful temples and old traditions. In Nanjing, I feel so in touch with the past and the present, the city and myself. ”

Twinkie: “A sickening sweet novelty // wrapped in ignorance.”

“Being Raised by White People”: Navigating Racial Difference Among Adopted Multiracial Adults: “I’m definitely a little bit nervous when I meet Black people. I’m afraid this … person may not like me once they find out that I wasn’t raised by Black people or by one Black parent and one White parent. It’s like this fear that I have, that they’re going to be like, “She’s not really Black enough.” It makes me feel like I’m a traitor —like somebody might think I’m a traitor. I find myself … trying to tell somebody early on … slip it in … that I was adopted by White people. So they have a chance to get out of becoming friends with me.… So, when I meet a Black person, sometimes they may be thinking, she’s light‐skinned Black or maybe interracial, but they are probably not thinking I was adopted by White people. They probably are thinking, she knows what it’s like to be Black, to have grown up with a Black parent . And I don’t. So, I feel like I want to let them know that before they might share something with me that then when they find out—“OH WAIT! SHE‘S NOT!” I don’t want to offend somebody.”

Never Have I Ever:


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