Recognize that ISMs (racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, etc.) are a part of USA culture and in every institution: education, healthcare, media, politics, sports, employment, housing, economics, and religion. It is highly unlikely that they will go away in my foreseeable lifetime.
If you accept this point-of-view as the reality of our society, then you will be better able to successfully confront ISMs when they do appear. The psychological effects are many: a negative self-image, self-hatred, rejection of personal history, low self-ideal (expectations), low self-esteem (values), depression, and constant feelings of anxiety in the company of the dominant group. If an individual falls under an ISM, many will think that person inferior or lacking. The major difficulty occurs when one begins to believe the propaganda, i.e. when one begins to think that they are inferior. When this occurs, the individual usually begins to act as they think an inferior person should act. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you are to survive in U.S. society, you must learn to cope in a society that may not always honor your contributions as an individual. Every person must reach deep within him/herself to find the capacity to develop this potential to its’ fullest - in spite of any obstacles. One must recognize that no condition is permanent unless it is perceived as such. ISMs are a continuous burden but they are only one of the many obstacles, which one must overcome during a lifetime.
The successful person will not allow a prejudicial evaluation to become the guiding principle of their life. Hatred is a destructive force that affects the person having the hatred far more than the object of the hatred. Hatred allows one to be controlled by emotions and makes one less able to resolve the problems of life.
To cope with ISMs:
1. Accept the fact that you will be victimized by ISMs.
2. Confront it logically and rationally rather than with your emotions.
3. Determine your goals in life are worthwhile and that you will not fail in your efforts to achieve them in spite/of ISMs.
4. Work out optional ways to confront and resolve the difficulties that will be encountered.
5. Learn everything that you can about yourself, others and the world in which you live.
It is not the obstacle that stops people. It is people stopping themselves because they think that the obstacle is too difficult for them to overcome. Think about it: how many times have you overcome difficulties that you felt were insurmountable? All of the resources that you will need are within you. You need only call upon them.