I Was Racially Profiled

The rest of the 19 minutes is just the trauma response of me sitting in my chair in shock of what just happened.


Importantly, my story has a happy ending.

Leadership in a Twindemic

Over the past year, UCSD has been a national leader in quelling both the coronavirus & the prejudice virus.

Thank you UCSD Police & RSOs for keeping us safe & being an example for law enforcement everywhere

Acknowledging Our Successes

While we’ll always strive to improve, acknowledging our successes reinforces our agency — reinforces our confidence in our ability to make a difference.



Recovery from Racial Trauma

…Can be difficult as events can reignite the embers, whether real or perceived.

UCSD Restorative Justice

Real Retriggering Event

Image from April 14th Event https://twitter.com/DrJarryd/status/1385069237648035840?s=20

Perceived Retriggering Event

I was confronted with a racial profiling trigger the evening of Monday May 3rd while preparing the Office Hours piece. As I stated in the piece, that’s “the kind of unnecessary trigger that… makes it difficult to completely move past the initial racial trauma. It’s the aftershocks after the initial quake that prolong the residuals of trauma.

the combination of someone knocking & (especially) dangling keys in front of my door is a trigger for what happened in December when that racist opened my door without consent & brought armed officers to my office 45 minutes later after reporting me as a suspicious person in my office.

Given that it’s unrealistic to expect custodians to send an email beforehand requesting permission before entering to clean — basically a janitorial trigger warning* while I’m still getting past that racial trauma — the simplest solution is no custodians allowed until Summer 2022 at the earliest. Moreover, no custodians have the new key for my office after my locks were changed.

Racial Trauma Informed Care

Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Any individual that has experienced an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress injury.

healing & triggers are temporally asymmetric.

Cumulative days of healing can be felled by a well placed re-triggering event. Healing is at a disadvantage.

I forget it’s not just a Common Thing to have the cops called on you in your life but yeah! https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/story/livingwhileblack-raises-awareness-racial-profiling-wake-high-profile-55104663


That hypervigilance is pretty spot on @carlabeharry @selamdebs @antiracism_cc
Working through being racially profiled has definitely been a psychologically stochastic experience.
Hostile Climates (real or perceived) fertilize traumas.

Tips for coping with Racial Trauma

What to do if you’re a victim of harassment according to Dax Valdes:


This reclamation can manifest in a multitude of ways, whether it’s:
- giving yourself the compassion to process things
- tapping into interpersonal relationships
- creating a dialogue within your workplace
- supporting community organizations

Social Adversity & Immunological Accent

The imprints of social adversity are observable over time suggesting that they remain “biologically embedded” even as people have new experiences & gene expression levels shift in response to novel and/or short-term environmental cues.

Differential Susceptibility

Certain genetic variants contain greater sensitivity to environmental inputs, “for better and for worse,” such that some people may be more genetically susceptible to be influenced not only by more harmful environments but also by more beneficial ones (Belsky, Bakermans-Kranenburg, & van IJzendoorn, 2007; Belsky et al., 2009). This differential susceptibility hypothesis predicts that in one environment, a genotype may seem “risky,” whereas in another environment, the opposite may be true. Individuals with different genotypes vary in how directly responsive they are to environmental cues.

Mamie Till’s directness (in keeping the casket open)

→ “a last resort for recognition, when recognition is an insufficient but only remaining consolation for injustice. An important race-specific consideration here is that just as some children are more vulnerable to personal and structural trauma, some children are also more likely to hear stories of historical and cultural trauma that relate to their racial, ethnic, gendered, sexual, and religious identities (Hines-Datiri & Carter Andrews, 2017; Woodson & Carter Andrews, 2017; Wun, 2016).”

Mother’s Day & Last Hug Quiz

In looking through some things this Mother’s Day, I found this final quiz I conducted & shared before the racial profiling event. Crazy to think that my last time hugging a human was March 2020 😅

Epilogue (from April 12, 2021 — Facebook)

(from April 12, 2021 — Facebook)

Importantly, though the event took place on December 16th, going through a trauma like that had a lingering effect on me (maybe others can relate). The major resolutions took place in February when the locks on my door were changed (it was a janitor/custodian & that person continued to walk around with keys to my office for another ~2 months) & a hole was drilled in my door to insert an aperture so I could tell who was outside before walking out (e.g., for bathroom breaks, to go home, etc). Even watching ❤0 seconds of that video — just to get the link that I pasted in this email — still triggers something in my physiology. In short, I can’t watch it.




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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD


I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.