Racism Needs To Be Heard And Addressed

The SFCP leadership wishes to share with all of you the following message which appears on the website of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It concerns the long-overdue need for a serious reckoning with the problem of racism that has persisted since the origins of our country.

Mike Smith & Walt Beckman, SFCP Co-Presidents
Paul Sorbo, Chair, SFCP Board of Trustees

The message from APsaA is quoted below: 

Following the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) calls for not only recognizing, but substantively addressing the profoundly destructive cycles of racial hatred, violence, and trauma in the United States.

“As psychoanalysts, we know that only when trauma can be spoken about, when it is truly heard, can it be healed,” said William Glover, president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. “The current protests and unrest are communicating a denied pain stemming from centuries of racism which has never been properly listened to or addressed.”

As Martin Luther King Jr said, “The riot is the language of the unheard,” conveying a profound psychological insight into the meaning of social unrest. It may feel safer, and less threatening to the status quo, for persons or governmental leaders to ignore such language, or dismiss it as misguided, destructive nonsense. However, as a society we are likely to fare better if we strive to listen openly to the human pleas from which such riotous language emanates, even as we may reject violence’s apparent irrationality or destructiveness. And attempts at such listening can have direct impact on how the dialogue subsequently unfolds. Psychotherapeutic experience regularly demonstrates that when a person feels their words matter and can have power, that person will feel less inclined to act destructively.

Furthermore, research shows that when racial violence is acknowledged through fair, empathic, and recognizing speech it can initiate a process of restorative justice. On the other hand, however, when traumatic violence is denied (through misleading speech or silence), or when the targets of violence are cast as its perpetrators, a collective re-traumatization occurs, triggering states of helplessness, desperation, impulse-prone rage, and mental health consequences.

“We call on our leaders to express a sense of morality, fairness and commitment to equality, to publicly and explicitly denounce tragic and discriminatory acts when they occur,” said Glover. “But this civil unrest is a call to action for us all to listen, to speak out, and take concrete steps to address and reconcile our collective, longstanding, painful history with racism and racial violence.”

Anti-Racism Resources for the SFCP Community

Racism Needs To Be Heard And Addressed
The SFCP leadership wishes to share with all of you a message which appears on the website of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It concerns the long-overdue need for a serious reckoning with the problem of racism that has persisted since the origins of our country.

Message From The CCSW Steering Committee
We are forwarding this important message to the full SFCP membership with the kind permission of the Coalition for Clinical Social Work (CCSW). We believe in this powerful message for all of us to think about, feel and take action on in the days ahead.


If you are in a position to give money, please do.  Many organizations and people are in need right now.  Here are a few suggestions:


There are lots of ways to act right now, including attending protests yourself or supporting those who are, getting more involved in politics and election work, and committing to doing your own work around racism and structural racism.  


This is completely not exhaustive, but here are a few suggestions for podcasts and films:
Just Mercy (free to stream for the month of June): https://www.justmercyfilm.com/
Black Lives Matter on “What Matters”: https://blacklivesmatter.com/whatmatters/
Podcast about imagining a country without prisons: https://shadowproof.com/beyond-prisons/
Ava DuVernay’s 13thhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krfcq5pF8u8 & When They See Us: http://www.avaduvernay.com/#/when-they-see-us/
Film about Trayvon Martin: https://www.paramountnetwork.com/shows/rest-in-power-the-trayvon-martin-story
Abolition, COVID-19 & Decarceration (Ruth Gillmore): https://www.haymarketbooks.org/blogs/128-ruth-wilson-gilmore-on-covid-19-decarceration-and-abolition
Podcast by Native women about experiences of Indigenous people: https://www.allmyrelationspodcast.com/
List of race/racism related podcasts: http://whitesforracialequity.org/podcasts/
NYT 1619 podcast: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/podcasts/1619-podcast.html
Kimberle Crenshaw/intersectionality podcast: https://aapf.org/podcast
NPR podcast, Codeswitch: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/


Make a point to read works written by people of color, especially people who identify as Black.  Make sure that people of color are authors of papers you are reading, citing, and teaching.  Use the works of people of color to inform your clinical teaching, thinking, supervising and of course, practices. 


Many organizations are pushing legislation, organizing phone banks, and election work around police reform/abolition. Get involved, devote time to this at least through November.