On January 23, 2021, from 9am-12:30pm, SPSI co-sponsored—along with NPSI, COR and The Alliance—a presentation entitled “Speaking About Race: The unconscious roots of structural racism and becoming anti-racist,” with Zachary Green, PhD.
Integrating ideas from Melanie Klein’s conceptualization of primitive splitting, Wilfred Bion’s work with groups, and Frantz Fanon’s analysis of racism, decolonization, and the psychopathology of oppression, Dr. Zachary Green presented his thoughts on Race: Projection, Construction, & Denigration.
Dr. Green’s presentation explored ways in which we are all complicit in co-creating a mutual projection process that requires primitive splitting, and which result in the literal denigration of people with darker skin. This dynamic creates both a victim status and a hegemonic structure of white supremacy: in our minds, in our society, and in our organizational and psychotherapeutic/psychoanalytic relationships. Working to recognize, dismantle, and give up a white supremacy mindset can lead to an experience akin to Klein’s depressive position. That begins to explain why there can be so much resistance to this kind of work: resistance in society, in our consulting rooms, and in ourselves.
Suggested Watching, Reading, and Listening
These works are suggested with references to the work of: Wilfred Bion, Melanie Klein, Pierre Turquet, Donald Winnicott, & Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents.
- Read Frantz Fanon’s book, “Black Skins, White Masks”
- Listen to W.E.B. DuBois’s audiobook, “The Souls of Black Folks.”
- Read bell hook’s zine, “Understanding Patriarchy.”
- Listen to the International Psychoanalytical Association’s podcast “Off the Couch with Kathleen Pogue White.”
- Read Zachary Green’s post, “Racial Inquiry: A Question of Common Humanity and Unique Individuality.”