Racism is a treacherous phenomenon with many faces. These allow it a remarkable capacity to co-exist with support for ethnic and cultural diversity. It is part of the character of racism, whose brutality can be overt or subtle, sly, cunning and mean-spirited, that like a chameleon it can transform itself in ways that make it difficult if not impossible to pinpoint. Racist states of mind offer a rigidity derived from absolute certainty that serves to mitigate the pains and pleasures inherent in the complexities of life and living that a recognition of difference and diversity can bring forth.
In a racist state of mind, real or imagined loss which is experienced as a narcissistic injury to the self, group or nation is often expressed in a nostalgic gaze that has become infused with a grievance and rage that is expressed in a wish to thwart the desire and emotional freedom of others. In this book the author suggests that the fantasy dramas of the primal scene provide an essential conceptual framework through which to explore and analyze how the developmental processes of mourning are sidestepped through a retreat to omnipotence and manic mechanisms. These offer the compensatory excitements of hatred, cruelty and violence that can lead to the collapse of a triangular mental space which damages the development of both curiosity and concern for others.
Some of the predicaments and challenges of engaging with these states of mind are explored through the prism of the consulting room, group, organizational and societal life.
Table of Contents:
About the Author
A Note Regarding Pronouns
Part I: The Psychic Geography of Racism
1) Mythical homelands: body, psyche, and nation
2) The racist scene and the primal scene
Part II: Race in the Consulting Room
3) Working clinically with racist states of mind
4) The racist gaze: bearing witness
5) Clinical and theoretical challenges
Part III: Race in Group, Organisation, and Societal Life
6) Psychoanalysis and the psychotherapies: institutional cleansing
7) Race in the life of a study group
8) Consulting to an organisation: race, food, sex, and aggression
9) Reason and racism
10) Thinking under fire: concluding thoughts
About the Author:
Narendra Keval is an Adult & Adolescent Psychotherapist, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. He also runs a Private Clinical and Consultancy Practice in London.