The Commission highlighted the long-held stigma of seeking help for mental health, as well as the daily microaggressions, the residual affects of intergenerational trauma and overt acts of racism as being unique stressors for Black attorneys.
Dr. Arline Geronimus coined the term “weathering effect” to evoke the emotional erosion that comes with the constant stress of racism. Geronimus, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health compares weathering to Jenga, with a stressor being the equivalent of pulling one block out at a time.
After some time, so many blocks that are essential to a person’s health and well-being have been removed leading the tower to collapse. Research has shown that stress can lead to premature biological aging and worse health outcomes for Black people than their White counterparts.