top of page

Anti-Racism and Self-Reflection in 2020


As the COVID-19 pandemic raced across the United States, so too did a worldwide social justice movement. As a student, teacher, and clinician, I found myself having conversations with people from all walks of life where I was constantly confronted with individuals who had never explicitly talked about race or racism with others. I also found myself confronted with the reality that I, myself, could be doing more to have these difficulty conversations in all the different roles I found myself in (e.g., teacher, daughter, therapist, friend). I took it upon myself to reflect on what more I could do to understand racism in every area of my life.


The easiest place to reflect was in my teaching and in the workplace. Racism and discrimination were some of the main reasons why I turned to clinical psychology. I grew up in a predominantly white middle class town in Michigan in a time when racism was discussed as something that happened in the past and no one "saw color". I was lucky enough that my mother went out of her way to educate me about other cultures and ways of life. She worked hard to provide me with as many opportunities to learn about other cultures as she possibly could. We traveled a lot when I was a kid. She took me to Shaker communities to learn about their history, religious practices, and ways of life. We went to Mexico and stopped in towns/cities, visited ruins, and went on every educational tour she could find. As I grew older, she sent me with a tour group for middle school students where I got to travel across the United Kingdom and Ireland visiting castles and museums along the way. In high school and college I continued to travel to Europe and Canada. All this to say, I was blessed and blinded to my own privilege.


I began to question this privilege as I watched my friends experience discrimination in their own lives. I watched the strength and beautiful transformation of my friend coming out as transgender, and then stood beside her as she struggled to find affirming therapists and medical professionals. I watched the calm resigned demeanor of my best friends as they were racially profiled while we would be out shopping near our college. The biggest revelation for me happen years later, when I had entered graduate school. I clearly saw my privilege when a classmate was told to "just learn proper English if you want to understand" when she asked a question in an upper level psychology class. I couldn't stand by and watch any longer. I knew that my silence was part of the problem. I used that moment to spur me into action. I am still ashamed it took me that long. I began to reflect on my own actions, or lack of actions in different situations and encounters. I returned to the work that my mother started in my youth as well. I began to read books by non-White authors and historians. I sought out trainings to help me understand how to have difficult conversations about race and inequality. I purposefully started dialogues with others on these topics, and I still reach out to learn more about what I can do, what I should know, and where to find information to help others.


As a graduate student, one of the scariest concepts for me to overcome was constantly hearing that my colleagues and those in positions of power don't know where to begin when confronting racism or other social injustices. Especially psychologists. We are the individuals who others turn to help them heal from trauma. At the beginning of 2020, I was a member of my departments Diversity Committee and was approached by two colleagues, Jenna Kilgore and Mary Moussa Rogers, to help compile a list of Anti-Racism resources. I am sharing this resource with you here.


In it, you will find peer-reviewed and general literature on:

  • Evidence for racism and discrimination in society

  • Evidence for racism and discrimination in clinical psychology work

  • Ways to participate in Allyship

  • Historical materials on racism


You will also find resources:

  • Resources for donation and financial support

  • Organizations

  • and Campaigns


Check out this amazing resource! It is just one of many but can be that starting point for yourself or others who may wish to take a similar journey understanding how racism pervades our society and our clinical work and what we can do about it. Together we can make a change.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KQkyJ4p6dqY_AiSsgQ4b6ykAMPKL7Z55hkuwI796GXM/edit?usp=sharing





Comments


bottom of page