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