This isn’t the beginning or the end of this story, but I feel ready to share it

I was racially profiled on December 16th 2020. The actions taken by the university to ensure my safety in the months since then are reasons all Tritons should feel 🔱 #TritonPride 🔱

Pre-Preface: The officers involved in this incident displayed magnificent professionalism & are an inspiring example of law enforcement.

Preface: I’m realizing that I’m ‘studying’ my #RacialTrauma WHILE I’m still healing from it in much the same way that I eventually realized my experiences as GamerGirl had potential ethnographic relevance in my field of research.

It makes it that much more poetic that #GamerGirl was the first voice through which I told my story (see I Was Magically Profiled).

Just as I’ve written & presented ethnographic gaming research, I plan to write & perhaps speak about this experience of racial trauma.

Today (May 6th), for the first time since the day/day after the racial profiling incident, I rewatched the video of the police encounter (not shared or posted). It’s 19 minutes long but only actually last for 2 minutes & 37 seconds.

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

(Note: the officers arrived around 9 after the racial profiler custodian called to report me as a suspicious person while I was working in my own office)

The following timestamps will make that safety video seem even more ironic than it already is …

At 2:19–25 → Showed the officers the picture I took when I arrived in the office that day.

2:38 → I show the officers my phone again to show the screenshot I took at 3:54pm of the safety video I recorded at 3:52pm following my bathroom break — the only time I left the office that day.

2:42 → I walk the officers through the safety video.

2:59 → Carding officer says “Thank you for your contribution” [inaudible — to the safety/ to the place]

3:15 → The racist who opened the door in the first place closes the door

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

I never want to watch that video again.


Importantly, my story has a happy ending.

Many schools said all the right things in summer 2020;
UCSD has taken all the right actions

To any underrepresented / BIPOC high school seniors still wondering if UCSD is the right place for them, keep in mind that something negative can happen to anyone ANYWHERE.

Thus, it’s best to be somewhere that cares enough to do something about it.

The Racial Trauma I experienced when I was racist profiled on December 16th is ultimately inspiring because it includes a rare example of justice. The rare positive outcome following incidents like this.

Having caring leaders of great moral character at your institution & in your community can make all the difference.
It made the difference for me.

Leadership in a Twindemic

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

That’s why all Tritons have plenty of reasons to feel #TritonPride
That’s what we mean by #UCSDcares

We have more than just numerical diversity (a salad bowl that never mixes); we’ve borne witness to inclusive excellence by empowering our students to flourish in a multicultural scholastic community that represents the global world of our 21st century.

It’s another reason why UCSD is one of the top universities in the world

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.

UCSD’s Strategic Commitments

→ to Address Anti-Blackness:

Black Student Union:


Recovery from Racial Trauma

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

UCSD Restorative Justice

Real Retriggering Event

On April 14th, after exiting the bathroom to return to my office, I was followed across several hallways by a custodian who had his gray & blue (recycle) trashcans placed in front of my office door, followed me to each hallway (literally trying to avoid him), & within a minute of this profiling dance calling in his manager to report me (as depicted in this walkthrough video I made: Apples & Barrels: Hostile Climates & Racial Traumas).

Best part was when I stopped & pointed at my picture in the directory in the hallway while the 3 of us walked towards my office & I was finally able to get back to work.

I’m the Black psychologist — I have a right to be here

One of the ways media helps reduce the risk of a #HostileClimate forming is by reporting on bad actors in initial incidents so their peers don’t feel emboldened to engage in any kind of retaliation

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.

Importantly, this trigger may have been someone with no knowledge of December — uninformed of my request to have no custodial services until Summer 2022 (at the earliest)— simply coming by to clean. Regardless of how innocent the event may have been,

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.

These are the kinds of caring, trauma-informed actions that help someone recover from trauma.

* → Trigger Warning = Emotional Meteorologist letting you know to either bring a psychological umbrella for this episode or stay home that day (skip the scene when you feel it’s approaching). The reason we have trigger warnings for tv shows (e.g., 13 Reasons Why; Sweet/Vicious MTV; Finding Carter; Awkward MTV) is so that people who may have personally experienced the depicted context have emotional forewarning.

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.

I had no idea the incident in December would create a sense of hypervigilance towards anything that seems even remotely similar to that event. Healing the #RacialTrauma from December has been a process.

I’ve realized that

healing & triggers are temporally asymmetric.

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

Tweet from Carla Beharry → Hyper-Vigilance is an all-encompassing experience that steals your calm mind, steals your peace, steals your ability to form relationships, steals your freedom to walk down the street and steals your ability to breathe with ease.

I forget it’s not just a Common Thing to have the cops called on you in your life but yeah!


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.

From Me to Everyone: 01:03 PM
I never had a Black professor in college. My first Black teacher was me

Tips for coping with Racial Trauma

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

1. #Allyship​
Are you safe with people who can support you?
In my case many people don’t know what happened. Thus, sharing the video might help increase the number of allies around me, & ultimately prevent a #HostileClimate​ from festering.
(Honestly, I should’ve just shared the video in December but didn’t know it was an option. If racist profiling ever happens to you, please know that you have the right to broadcast your evidence.)

2. Reclaim your space.
- Since October 1st, I’ve been in my office on all but 3 days (two days my car was in the shop; one day I needed to play Cyberpunk 2077).
- Solicit the help of bystanders (they need to see the video of what happened for context).

3. #SiriIsAWitness​
- Valdes: “Covertly film the harassment by pretending to check your email.”
- Jarryd: “Keep Siri charged because Siri is a witness.”
- Also Jarryd: “When walking out into a space of concern, turn on Siri’s recorder & position it in your pocket to be able to record any audio in case something happens.”
- Me Again: “Turn on #Zoom​ & keep it recording and/or paused. Don’t turn the recording off, otherwise Zoom will close after 40 minutes of inactivity. If the recording is paused Zoom will stay on.”
- For an example, see the video evidence of the original racial profiling incident on December 16th 2020​

4. Practice #Resilience​
“There is strength in recognizing that harassment hurts,” said Valdes. Rather than forcing away any negative emotions, resilience centers on reclaiming power through caring for yourself and your communities.


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

1). Gather allies to reduce concern of hostile climate. So now I’m literally just sharing the video of what happened with TAs & others.

2). Reclaiming space & your right to exist in that space is important. So I’m literally here in my office as much as I can be.
(via Orson Morrison)

3). Limit social media and media exposure to racial trauma;

4). Connect with others who can create spaces of safety to grieve, rest and express rage;

5). Raise awareness and advocate for change and justice;

6). Practice self-care (eat well, adequate sleep, exercise, meditation, spirituality etc.)

Asian Health Services Center:

IRCO’s Pacific Islander and Asian Family Center:

Resilience to hate resource guide:

Racial equity support line (Lines for Life):

Mental Health America:

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.

“…marginal decoupling between biological embedding & gene expression levels allows for simultaneous stability & plasticity/adaptation”

→ current negative outcomes aren’t set in stone in adolescence or young adulthood, but our immunological accent is increasingly resistant to change as we age (just as the accent we use talking to our parents/friends through childhood is increasingly resistant to change)

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 😅

Most of my in person interactions with humans since March 2020 have been:

- the self-checkout machine isn’t working
- here is my rent
- why are you trespassing in my office
- yes officer, I have a right to be in my own office
- the self-checkout isn’t working again
- thank you for the escort to my vehicle officer; btw, that was the custodian who racially profiled me a couple months ago
- which vaccine am I getting today? Can I get the JJ? Pfizer works too
- I need my second dose; I got Pfizer last time
- this custodian was following me to different hallways
- the self-checkout isn’t working; I need a human for assistance

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.

Aside from the effects on my psyche & peace of mind — both of which have gradually recovered in the months since the incident — is the fact that the aftermath was far more time consuming than the event itself. Filing reports, crafting meticulously worded emails with the knowledge that everything may be included in a formal review of his actions, the sound of wheels rolling across the elevator & wondering if that janitor is back (thankfully the university didn’t give a copy of my new key to any janitors/custodians & they’re not permitted to enter or even approach my office for the foreseeable future; I brought my own vacuum cleaner), & Zoominars with leadership discussing the event. All time & emotion consuming experiences.

The trauma itself lasted moments [over an hour overall, from initial trespassing to the police encounter to the sitting motionless for about 15 minutes afterwards] but took hours of productivity away from me in the following months.

My goal ultimately is to praise UCSD & to share my truth/ tell my story. #FiatLux


Non-reciprocal altruism has confounding expectations for non localized albeit representative, parties such that the displacement episodes can’t cumulatively approach a lower bound threshold of asymmetry.

Eustress is good stress.

Implicit Bias 101: our brains produce biases the way Google’s autofill search bar produces what it thinks we’re going to type. Eyes see dark skin… brain’s autofill predicts thug/aggression.

— It’s similar to how when you see a van or 18-wheeler on the freeway your brain autofills to “Slow Vehicle; find some way to escape; don’t let it merge in front of you at all costs; for the love of all that is good, pass that van

— People may misperceive a Black person as a threat just as face-recognition Ai misperceives Serena Williams as a man.

Hitting backspace may take more effort than simply going with it

Translation → which means succumbing to our biases costs less cognitive energy than overcoming them.

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.