333: Race-Based Trauma, RSD and ADHD with Romanza McAllister, LCSW

333: Race-Based Trauma, RSD and ADHD with Romanza McAllister, LCSW

“You develop a codependent relationship with work or with the world as a person of color because you end up playing to how people see you.” Welcome to this episode of ADHD reWired with your host Eric Tivers and his guest, Romanza McAllister, LCSW. Romanza is a psychotherapist, and in 2008 she graduated from Hunter College School of Social Work, where she majored in case management and group work. Over the last ten years, Romanza has provided focused solution group and family counseling with inpatient and outpatient settings.

Romanza shares her experience of being black and diagnosed with ADHD at ten years old, and she speaks about how it affected her school years and career. Romanza discusses working for herself and the relief she feels, knowing she doesn’t have to wonder why she was hired.

Eric asks some questions he is uncomfortable with, trying to learn how to approach certain subjects. Romanza states that there is no such thing as color blindness and how it’s our responsibility to create a safe space through empathic and reflective listening.

Romanza shares how validated she feels when people ask her questions about being a woman of color. She says that it makes her feel like people are listening and trying to understand how her life is different. Eric and Romanza also speak about RSD and what can trigger the reaction.

Is sensitivity training enough? No, and Romanza feels like everyone, regardless of color, can benefit from anti-racism training. She also speaks about what they can do from a policy standpoint around ADHD, children of color, and schools so that people of color don’t have to be either black or ADHD; they can be who they are. This is a compelling conversation that everyone should hear.

You’ll learn:

  • [03:18] Welcome to the show, Romanza!
  • [03:42] Romanza shares her experience of being diagnosed at 10 with ADHD and as a child of color.
  • [06:38] How did the family deal with your ADHD diagnosis?
  • [07:57] Romanza speaks about dealing with ADHD throughout her school years.
  • [11:37] Romanza discusses being a woman of color with ADHD and how that has affected her work history.
  • [14:17] Have you ever sat at your desk and wondered why you were hired?
  • [16:12] Romanza speaks about working for herself and how it makes her feel.
  • [19:38] Listen as Eric shares issues around social justice fire people up with ADHD.
  • [25:03] Eric talks about asking Romanza some hard questions. 
  • [26:16] Romanza shares that talking to progressive people can be difficult because they are sometimes fragile.
  • [26:52] There is no such thing as color blindness.
  • [28:00] Creating a safe space through empathic and reflective listening.
  • [29:51] Romanza shares a story about micro-invalidation.
  • [33:28] When you get asked a question like what does it feel like to be a black person, is there validation in that someone is asking the question?
  • [35:56] Romanza says to ask but ask permission to the client first.
  • [40:16] Eric defines RSD because it is becoming more talked about in the community.
  • [41:46] Romanza discusses RSD and how it can be triggered when trying to have white/black conversations.
  • [44:01] Romanza speaks about the things she has to consider before she reacts to a situation.
  • [47:21] Romanza says she likes the idea of this racial RSD feedback loop.
  • [48:02] Romanza speaks about the story of a young girl that didn’t turn in her homework.
  • [48:50] Romanza believes that everyone can benefit from anti-racist training no matter what the color.
  • [50:34] Is sensitivity training enough?
  • [52:40] Romanza speaks about what needs to be done from a policy standpoint in the ADHD space to create more equity.
  • [54:10] Say the words, address the thing!
  • [55:10] Romanza believes that everyone should check their bias with the Project Implicit bias meter.
  • [56:38] Thank you for being on the show!
  • [57:24] If you are a regular listener, consider becoming a patron click on our Patreon tap at

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