« on: May 03, 2009, 11:33:16 AM »
Are there an underlying anxiety that is associated with attending a predominately white institution with the student and staff majority white?
***DISCLAIMER: This is not to be misconstrued, offensive, derogatory, or racist in any way. If you do reel that this is in any way offensive, derogatory, or racist then you may want to ask yourself why YOU interpret this question in that way.***
It is actually a real concern that some minorities do not either recognize or gets misdiagnosed (whether merely dismissed as a more familiar symptom of general anxiety caused by other random things). Regardless, those who do acknowledge, yet maybe not a readily explanation for these feelings, this post is for you (and I to an extent). Do you have any anxiety whatsoever about this?
Are you asking if there is a specific psychological condition that is attributable to this situation? I would say that this is very common in any situation where there is something that makes you stand out from the majority.
As a white person, I've found myself myself in a group of all or predominantly minorities and have found the following to be true. When it's a varied mix (Blacks, Arabs, Caucasians, Asians, etc.), I may notice I'm the only white but it doesn't bother me. If it's nearly all the same racial group but myself, I do feel a bit uncomfortable because clearly I am the odd man out.
And yes, depending on the "vibe" I am feeling from them, that discomfort may be in the form of real anxiety. Not simply because of the racial make-up of the group itself, but because clearly I am the minority in the situation and the bad-mojo I may be perceiving (e.g. a street gang vs. young republicans).
But more importantly, this isn't even a racial thing, as it is about just being different. As a fat person, I've found myself feeling uncomfortable when I'm around a lot of skinny people. That may sound like it's insignificant compared to a racial difference, but realize also that growing up, and even today, I've been the subject of scorn ranging from just dirty looks to being physically assaulted (especially as a child) because I was overweight. To a similar extent, I have had the same feelings and experiences by being the odd-man out when being the lone liberal in a group of conservatives (and vice-versa, I tend to play the contrarian politically), and the lone man in a group of women (especially when they are scorned angry women), and the lone atheist (and quite vocal) in a group of believers.
In short, you might be surprised that a lot of people feel the same way but for their own personal reasons.