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A Stoic Approach to Racism

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Stoicism and a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) to Combat Racism

A deeply ingrained societal issue, racism appears in a variety of settings, including the workplace, school, and neighborhood among other areas and places. In this blog, we explore effective strategies rooted in Stoicism and Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) for addressing and mitigating racism with a touch of modern psychology. For individuals facing discrimination based on their color, ethnicity, economic background, mental health, among others the following philosophical (Stoicism and PMA) approaches provide a resilient framework that integrates psychological and mental health principles.

Note: There is only one race. The human race. Furthermore, the human species has different skin pigments. So, anyone saying you belong to another race is either ignorant or racism is prevalent in their subconscious mind. 

Research I’ve been conducting for about 5 years as well as the memories I have from when I was a youngster of about 11 years have shown that mental racism and the rule techniques are a form of racism when researched under Psychology, Stoicism and a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). 


  • Rule technique
    The rule technique can be also a form of racism, and it is often camouflaged when people use it by not talking to you or ignoring you as a person, which shows that you are of lower value based on your education, your place of birth, your skin color, your economic status, your height, whether you are a man or woman, a child or adolescent, you speak broken language in the “new” country you now live in. Many developed countries, such as the USA, Norway, Germany, Ukraine (not developed, but a country with little diversity, so the culture shows little value for other nationalities), China, Japan, and others, use this rule technique. Nonetheless, it is found in almost all societies and countries.

Racism is defined:

Dictionary Definition

Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race. This is based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. It includes both individual attitudes and systemic practices that perpetuate racial inequality.



Psychology understands racism as a deeply ingrained societal issue that involves cognitive biases and learned behaviors. It manifests itself in both explicit forms (conscious beliefs and actions) and implicit forms (unconscious biases). Psychological research shows that racism stems from fear, ignorance, and social dominance. It also explores racism’s impact on mental health and social interactions.


Mental Health

From a mental health perspective, racism is recognized as a significant stressor that can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and trauma. Racism victims often experience chronic stress, which affects their overall well-being and quality of life. Addressing racism is crucial for promoting mental health equity and providing appropriate support to affected individuals.



According to Stoicism, which emphasizes rationality and virtue, racism is unethical and irrational. Stoics believed all human beings were and are equal, advocating compassion and justice for oneself and others. In their view, racism violates the Stoic principle of living in harmony with nature, which recognizes the humanity of all people.


Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) focuses on maintaining a constructive and optimistic outlook. From a PMA perspective, racism is a negative force that hinders personal and collective growth. Overcoming racism requires empathy, understanding, and commitment to positive change. By fostering inclusivity and respect, individuals can contribute to a more equitable and harmonious society.

Understanding Racism in Different Environments

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In the Workplace: Racism and rule techniques can emerge in various forms such as biases in hiring practices, unequal pay, and limited advancement opportunities for minority groups. In addition to undermining professional relationships, such practices also have a negative effect on workplace harmony and productivity.

Note: Tactics such as rule techniques are commonly used in workplaces to make others feel unworthy, and are a form of indirect or direct racism. This technique is also used in relationships as the silent treatment among other places and environments as well.

In Schools: Young individuals may encounter racism in the form of bullying, exclusion, or discriminatory treatment by peers or educators, which can significantly impact their academic performance and self-esteem.

Note: It is often the parents’ way of viewing another person’s background that leads to kids becoming prejudiced, but not always.

In Neighborhoods and Public Spaces: Racial profiling, stereotyping, and harassment are common forms of racism that can create divisive and hostile living environments. This includes who has a better house, a modern car, a better or higher paying job etc., to name a few examples.

Applying Stoicism to Combat Racism

Stoicism, the wisdom philosophy, teaches the art of indifference to things outside one’s control and emphasizes virtue as the sole good. Here’s how Stoicism can be applied:

1. Focus on What Can Be Controlled: Stoicism encourages us to differentiate between our reactions and external events. For instance, if faced with a racist remark at work, a Stoic approach would focus on maintaining personal integrity and responding calmly. This is rather than controlling the offender’s behavior.

Example: Marcus, a nursing assistant, faces subtle racist jokes as well as rules techniques from both colleagues and some so-called leaders. Using Stoicism, he chooses not to react impulsively but instead addresses the issue directly with the colleague and later with HR. He focuses on changing what he can—his environment and response.

2. Viewing Adversity as an Opportunity: Stoicism teaches that adversity is a chance to practice virtue. Facing racism, one can practice patience, understanding, and resilience, turning a negative experience into a growth opportunity.

Note: Virtue

Dictionary Definition

Virtue is defined as a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person, such as honesty, integrity, and kindness.


In Stoicism, virtue is the highest good and is equated with moral excellence. It encompasses wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance, guiding individuals to live in harmony with nature and reason. Virtue, for Stoics, is sufficient for a fulfilling life.

Example: Lisa, a college student, uses racist incidents on campus as a motivation to organize diversity workshops, seeing it as an opportunity to educate and foster understanding among students.

Leveraging a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) to Overcome Racism

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) suggests that a positive and optimistic mindset can alter outcomes. It’s about looking for constructive solutions and maintaining hope even in adversity.

1. Positive Reinforcement: Instead of dwelling on negative incidents, PMA encourages individuals to celebrate cultural diversity and personal achievements that affirm self-worth and contribute to mental well-being.

Example: After experiencing racial discrimination, Jamal starts a blog to share stories of successful minority professionals, creating a positive narrative around his and others’ racial identity.

2. Building Resilience: PMA instills a resilient mindset that helps individuals bounce back from racist encounters stronger. It promotes viewing challenges as temporary and surmountable.

Example: Sophia, a nurse, uses positive affirmations to regain her confidence after facing derogatory comments from patients and relatives of patients. She reminds herself of her competence and value to her community, reinforcing her mental resilience.

Psychological Strategies for Better Mental Health

Incorporating psychological techniques such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can help individuals reframe negative thoughts caused by racial discrimination and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

1. Cognitive Reframing: This involves identifying and changing discriminatory thought patterns. If someone thinks, “I am not welcome here because of my race,” reframing focuses on concrete facts and positive interactions that counteract this narrative.

2. Seeking Support: Professional counseling or support groups for racial trauma can provide safe spaces to discuss experiences and feelings, promoting healing and empowerment.


While Stoicism and PMA might not solve racism alone, they provide powerful tools for individuals to maintain their dignity, foster resilience, and promote a positive mental outlook in the face of discrimination. Unlike traditional reactive approaches, these philosophies encourage proactive personal growth and empowerment. This sets the foundation for not just surviving, but thriving amidst adversity. By adopting these strategies, one can foster an environment of inclusivity and respect, paving the way for broader societal change.


Jay Pacheco

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