Critical consciousness of anti-Black racism: A practical model to prevent and resist racial trauma.

Della V. Mosley, Candice N. Hargons, Carolyn Meiller, Blanka Angyal, Paris Wheeler, Candice Davis, Danelle Stevens-Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


The negative impacts of racism, including experiences of racial trauma, are well documented (e.g., Bryant-Davis & Ocampo, 2006; Carter, 2007). Because of the deleterious effects of racial trauma on Black people, interventions that facilitate the resistance and prevention of anti-Black racism are needed. Critical consciousness is one such intervention, as it is often seen as a prerequisite of resistance and liberation (Prilleltensky, 2003, 2008). To understand how individuals advance from being aware of anti-Black racism to engaging in actions to prevent and resist racial trauma, nonconfidential interviews with 12 Black Lives Matter activists were conducted. Using constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2014) under critical-ideological and Black feminist-womanist lenses, a model of Critical Consciousness of Anti-Black Racism (CCABR) was co-constructed. The 3 processes involved in developing CCABR include: witnessing anti-Black racism, processing anti-Black racism, and acting critically against anti-Black racism. This model, including each of the categories and subcategories, are detailed herein and supported with quotations. The findings and discussion provide context-rich and practical approaches to help Black people, and counseling psychologists who serve them, prevent and resist racial trauma. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Public Significance Statement—This study presents a practical model of critical consciousness development that delineates the core processes Black people navigate to actively prevent and resist racial trauma in an intersectional and systematic manner. The findings suggest that when Black people are exposed to anti-Black racism, they can not only cope but also reduce racial trauma in their broader worlds by going through specific cognitive, intersectional, and behavioral growth processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association


  • Black Lives Matter
  • activism
  • anti-Black racism
  • critical consciousness
  • racial trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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