By |2020-06-04T23:20:26+02:00June 4th, 2020|Clinical Forum|1 Comment

Dear Colleagues from Around-the-World:

I have been emotionally disturbed this past week by the display of racism and police brutality in the USA. The conflicts in most American cities brought vivid memories of 1967 & 1968 when I was involved in the civil rights movement and faced racist police who did all they could to stop the peaceful protests. I am prompted to write to all of you after reading a short article by Scott Woods where he says, “The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that”. His comment addresses the core of racism, a topic that should be on the minds of every psychotherapist.

Racism is a complex social and political system designed to insure that people of colour remain subservient to white people. Racism is an insidious disease. Unless we make profound changes it will continue to infect how we think about and treat people who are different from us. The driving forces of racism are ignorance, assumed privilege, desire for power, and a compulsion to feel superior.

I am always dismayed when I search my soul and discover racist attitudes.
Now is the time, more than ever, for us to talk with our clients about their possible lack of social consciousness and their positions of privilege. In order to do this we must examine our own attitudes about privilege, power, and superiority. Let’s talk together about how we are all affected by unconscious racism.

I wish you well, Richard

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One Comment

  1. Isabella Nuboloni 08/06/2020 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Is it true, Richard, who among us does not trace aspects of unconscious racism within us? I, I do not hide it, I feel uncomfortable and I am surprised when I realize that I have automatic reactions of rejection or distancing while at the same time I have thoughts of acceptance, peace and tolerance towards someone or social groups. I follow my thoughts and the automatic reactions subside, but the violence of recent days in the United States is proof that the virus of ignorance still infects very profoundly large sections of the populations. Ignorance, that is, the lack of knowledge, for example, of the other-different-from-me, generates fear and activates the autonomic nervous system, with automatic and instinctive attack-fight responses that we see on the scene. Even just educating peoples to become aware of the ignorance in which they lie, to reassure themselves and to lower automatic defense reactions would be a great step forward for all humanity. Perhaps WHO could organize this type of cultural action, which could prevent many wars and pandemics, and promote health, development and peace among nations. But maybe let’s do it first by starting, as you suggest, by talking about the roots of racism with our clients …
    A good life for each of you.

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