Therapists must hold a developing level of knowledge, skill, and comfort with regard to racial issues. White therapist in particular lack sufficient racial awareness and sensitivity, thereby compromising their ability to accurately identify and work with race in therapy.
Messages sent about race: children’s exposure to negative messages about their own group compromises their ability to embrace and successfully integrate these aspects of themselves into their self concept. Often parents send an explicit message to their children that all races are equal, while simultaneously behaving in way that communicate a contradictory implicit message that some racial groups are more valuable than others.
External Racism: some families are buried in denial about the realities of racism. other’s recognize the presence of racism but lack the skills or comfort to address it directly and avoid the topic altogether. Parents have a responsibility to prepare kids.
The ultimate privilege of Whiteness is not having to be aware of one’s Whiteness or aware of the benefits it affords.
Implications for Therapy: Therapist must have a high level of racial awareness and sensitivity.
Assessment: Th. must be mindful of the significance of race and open to exploring how race may be related to the presenting issues and the process of therapy.
Intervention Strategies: merely calling attention to their disparaging remarks or action is sometimes all that is needed to bring about a shift. Other times, therapist may need to spend considerable time helping clients understand how and why a given comment or behavior is insensitive or offensive. Once this is finally grasped, further attention may beed to be devoted to helping clients explore and then challenge the underlying assumptions, values, and experiences that contribute to such comments and behaviors.
Freeing Children from Racialized loyalty Binds: Psycho-education may be necessary to educate parents about how destructive these kinds of dynamics are for children. Parents must understand the racial dimensions of the loyalty binds, coach them until they are able to communicate clear, explicit messages to their children that give kids permission to have their own relationships with each parent and with all parts of their racial identity. If there is restraint on the parent, therapist should align themselves with the parents’ devotion and commitment to protecting their children and acting on behalf of their best interest. And educate the parents about the psychological damage these loyalty binds can have on children.
Fostering Strategies for Resisting Racism: Teaching families to have open, direct “race talk” that is challenging but not destructive. Therapists can work with families to hone their ability to make distinctions about times when they should push back and confront racism and when it is best to pull back and let something slide. Cost-benefit analysis.
RASE: racial awareness and sensitivity homework
Ch 15 Legacies of White Privilege
Author’s letter to great grandfather re: racism in families multicultural lineage
Ch 16 Transforming a Racist Legacy
Authors experience in examining racial privilege
Overt and Covert Racism
I struggle with a profound sense of personal discord as I think of these aspects of myself. I want to minimize or deny the violence I participated in. I want to think I’m a good person, but these racist behaviors do not fit that definition.
Ch 20 The Dynamics of a Pro-Racist Ideology
most people don’t consider themselves to be racists; they think of themselves as good people.
Racial Sensitivity – the ability to recognize the ways in which race and racism shape reality. It also involves using oneself to actively challenge attitudes, behaviors, and conditions that create or reinforce racial injustices.
Pro-Racist Ideology – generalized belief that espouses and supports the superiority of Whites. It reinforces the racial status quo whereby Whites are assumed to be more valuable than people of color. Supports a system of opportunities and rewards that consistently privileges Whites while oppressing and subjugating people of color. Often occurs outside the awareness of the perpetrator.
Therapist must assume a more active role in confronting and resisting.
Steps toward greater racial sensitivity: Implications for Therapy
1. Becoming aware that race matters
2. Recognizing the existence of a pro-racist ideology
3. enhancing cross-racial experience – consistent and direct contact with racially diverse people
4. Exploring one’s own racial Identity
5. Challenging Pro-Racist Ideology First in Oneself and then in Others
6. Persisting in Spite of Criticism or Rejection
Ch 21 White Privilege and Male Privilege
“I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege”
Men may say they will work to improve women’s status, but they won’t support the idea of lessening men’s.
The pressure to avoid white privilege is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy.
Whiteness protects them of many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence.
Ch 22 Dismantling White Male Privilege within Family Therapy
Family therapy: promoters of solution-focused and narrative therapists argue that their approaches offer “neutrality” or “objectivity”, but this overlooks and reinforces oppressive social realities.
Minuchin trivializes the interplay of gender and power at the center of this family’s difficulties.
A therapist who assumes a “neutral” stance pretends that each partner in a couple relationship has equal power, but this actually endorses the oppressive social patterns, including sexism, racism, and homophobia.
White men tend to imagine that if other groups are gaining economic and political power, then we must be losing it.