Is there a relationship between introspection and fighting racist systems? (Janan)

I distinctly remember sitting with my two roommates last March, in grief and in shock about the state of the world, wondering if the mandates to stay at home, isolated and indoors, would inflict some sort of worldwide introspection at a deep level. 

While may be take much time before any of us realize the extent in which the pandemic has affected us psychologically, one thing that I have just begun to realize is how much lays beneath the surface. As a psychologist, I’m mostly interested in “what lies beneath the surface” in emotional/conscious ways. 

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about repression, not just individually, but on a scale of societal structures. As someone raised in the United States, I have begun reflecting on how much accepted, internalized, and neglected in our mainstream culture. There are so many unspoken rules and norms (and of course, spoken ones, too). 

The readings of this week allowed me bring my interested in the subliminal to my curiosity for higher education and structures of inequality. I was particularly interested in the infographic on characteristics of white supremacy culture. So many of these characteristics were deeply psychological: defensiveness, fundamental attribution errors.

This may be a big leap, but the conversations in these articles made me question the role that internal reflection may have on healing a racist society. 

This is not at all to say that white supremacy is merely caused by unresolved psychological issues – I don’t think that’s the case, but I wonder the ways that our inability to connect with others collectively, untangle trauma, take ownership emotionally, and work toward healing have affected our unjust systems. More importantly, I’m curious about the ways that resolving these internal issues can help us bring about a more inclusive society. 

1 thought on “Is there a relationship between introspection and fighting racist systems? (Janan)

  1. Samantha Lilienfeld

    Reflecting on white supremacy culture as a psychological force is so poignant. I’m curious to hear if you have any insight on how psychology is wielded by and/or infused with institutions? As a MALS student, bringing an interdisciplinary lens to today’s class would be very useful!

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