The Racist Signature Theory is a psychological theory that addresses racism at the root. The vast majority of racism that is perpetrated by white people, is in the form of defense mechanisms. These defense mechanisms operate in layers. The first layer is the external reaction to a racial trigger. The second later, that runs just under the surface of the external reaction, is an internal reaction to the racial trigger. At the core of the layers are core feelings. Many of these feelings include anger, sadness, fear, and shame. These core feelings often represent a history of trauma that have not been addressed healed in their lives.
Most white people react in racist defense mechanisms with people of color and they don’t even know it. In other words, many well-meaning white people, react in racist behaviors unintentionally and unconsciously.
The reason how and why white people are unconscious of their racism is due to their trauma. Trauma causes disassociation from the mind, body, and spirit. What this means, is that whenever white people are racially triggered, their traumas, usually childhood traumas, get replayed and they don’t even know it. The recipients of their unhealed trauma are people of color.
This is an unconscious form of interpersonal violence that has been normalized for a very long time, and it reflects intergenerational childhood abuse and neglect. White people, whether they were raised in wealth or not, have a family history of child abuse that hasn’t been addressed. People of color, essentially, become the victims of emotional and physical abuse, because white people are replaying the cycle of violence from their own households.
The severity of the abuse depends upon how much childhood abuse a white person experienced as a child. The more childhood abuse and neglect the white person experienced, the more normalized interpersonal violence is.