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Not In Our Town related presentation on racism aims to raise awareness

Coping with Racism and Prejudice

For Aaron Thornton, the presentation he went showed him that the people at the University care about new students and want them to feel involved.

Thornton, a freshman, attended an event titled “Should We All Just Get Along: Coping with Racism and Prejudice,” in the Union at noon Wednesday.

“It’s a good topic,” Thornton said. “It’s good to educate yourself about, especially when coming in on campus you could be faced with some of these situations.”

Darian Mitchell, psychology resident at the Counseling Center, presented the event and said he thinks the topic is important because, “Race is something that has been a part of our society, it’s in our history and it’s something that’s going to be around.”

During the presentation, Mitchell and students discussed the difference between prejudice, racism and how racism has impact on a societal and individual level.

Senior Cuilin Ge said she learned “about all the departments on campus we can go get help at.”

During the presentation, Mitchell told students about several different places they can go on campus if they are affected by racism, such as the Counseling Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Racism affects people psychologically and physiologically, Mitchell said.

“I don’t think people realize the physiological impact [of racism],” he said.

Racism can physiologically effect people in ways such as: hypertension, coronary heart disease, impact on blood pressure, poor immune system function and a slower rate of healing, Mitchell said.

Racism can also affect people psychologically by causing depression, anxiety, loneliness, anger and other feelings.

“We all need to find healthy ways to cope with these situations,” Mitchell told the audience.

One way is to get help, Mitchell said.

People get help when they need their oil changed or their computer repaired, but they may not get help when affected by racism, Mitchell said.

“We’re all people, nobody can go through life alone,” he said. “Why is it okay there but not with this?”

During the event, Mitchell encouraged students to report incidents of racism.

“If you document that these things are going on, that creates a paper trail,” he said. “[People can see] things are going on here.”

When confronting those who exhibit racist behavior, Mitchell advised students to remember to “challenge the behavior, not the person.”

“We’re going to make mistakes,” he said.

The talk is part of a weekly series and was related to the “Not in Our Town” campaign.

“It’s important to take care of ourselves on an individual level and how we can become healthier on a community level and a societal level,” he said.

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