Internalized Racism

June 14th, 2010

anti-racist therapistIn The Noonday Demon – Andrew Solomon’s book on depression – internalized racism is defined as self-doubt predicated on dominant social attitudes (pg. 196, Scribner, 2001).  In other words, the oppressive social attitude of white society that People of Color are less-than can manifest in a Person of Color as a lack of self-confidence.

Why is this important to therapy?  Because it takes a great deal of courage, insight, and mindfulness to be able to admit that you feel bad about yourself, especially when it’s predicated on your racial or ethnic origin…and even more courage to say this to a white therapist. We know that we should be proud of ourselves.  Admitting that this isn’t always the case can make a person feel very unsafe, weak and shameful.

But, sometimes, admitting to our inner secrets helps.  It helps relieve stress.  It helps us put our private thoughts and feelings in perspective.  Keeping shame inside begets anger, depression and other behaviors that aren’t authentic to our true selves.  Shining the light on shame makes it lose its power.  Therefore, if shame, depression, and self-doubt are familiar feelings to you, consider seeing a anti-therapist or counselor you can trust.  It may make a difference.

If you’re looking for a anti-racist therapist in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, feel free to contact me at 202/460-6384 or

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