UK professor gaining national attention for research on racism

Dr. Candice Hargons will talk more about her research during a Juneteenth panel discussion on CNN.
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A UK professor is gaining national attention for her research on racism.

Dr. Candice Hargons says racism can have a negative impact on a person, mentally and physically.

She’s been curious about racism since she was a child growing up in a small town in Virginia.

“I was sitting on the bus with some white boys and they were like ‘black people should be happy that slavery existed because we taught y’all how to work,‘” Dr. Hargons.

The pain she felt in that moment inspires her today. She researches ways to heal the trauma of racism. In her recent study, she recruited black college students.

“We exposed them to a stimulus of an audio recording of a self-identified white woman was saying some racist things to a black person,” Dr. Hargons.

Researchers found as students listened to the recording their heart rates spiked.

“They had a stress reaction,” Dr. Hargons said.

But researchers found that listening to mediation relieved that stress.

The findings inspired Hargons to create a 17 minute Black Lives Matter mediation that’s now used in counseling centers. She shares other methods for healing racial trauma.

“Going for a walk in the park. Journaling is free. Writing poetry is free,” Dr. Hargons said.

Coping mechanisms which she says are vital at such a stressful time.

Dr. Hargons says the Center for Healing Racial Trauma in Lexington and the Collective Care Center in Louisville are also available.

Hargons will talk more about her research during a Juneteenth panel discussion on CNN.

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