UK Health Service Trust Repeats ‘Whiteness – A Problem for Our Time’ Seminar

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The Tavistock and Portman National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust has repeated a video seminar titled ‘Whiteness – A problem for our time’.

The video seminar, which the NHS trust has shared on YouTube, was originally held in November, with the socialised healthcare provider and the British Psychotherapy Foundation, British Psychoanalytic Council, and Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists, which it partnered with for the event, choosing to repeat it on January 14th “to enable a wider audience to attend”.

“This presentation is rooted in the assumption that the problem of racism is a problem of whiteness,” explained advertisements for the seminar on the websites of the NHS trust and the British Psychotherapy Foundation, adding: “A key and urgent question then for those of us who are regarded as white is, how do we interrogate our whiteness to bring about the radical change that is required?”

“The ‘fragility’, the colour-blind approach and the silencing process of disavowal that develops in the childhood of white liberal families, are a means of maintaining white privilege and racism,” they insisted.

The seminar itself, as presented by Helen Morgan, a former chairwoman of both the British Association of Psychotherapists and the British Psychoanalytic Council, suggests that “three and four-year-olds have already internalised white privilege”, according to its Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust review — which gives every impression that Morgan’s seminar is factual rather than a mere point of view, and wholly approved of by the trust.

“As white people, we need to mourn,” the NHS trust quotes Morgan as saying, before adding its own commentary: “By facing our past through education as both adults and young people we can undergo a process of healing, both as perpetrators and victims. The reality of slavery and how white people profited from it and continue to profit from it should be central to our curricula.”

Morgan offers various anecdotes in her presentation to support the idea that white children “internalise” their alleged racial privilege at an early age, for example citing an alleged instance in which a four-year-old white girl is supposed to have told an East Asian girl that she was not allowed to pull a wagon as “only white Americans are allowed to pull this wagon”.

“Children need help to think about what they observe about the racist structures of society, and to connect their inherited privilege with a developing concern for fairness. They need a language for thought from which effective action can develop,” Morgan lectures.

“However, many white adults… will resort the shortcut of colour-blindness by insisting that everyone is the same and equal,” she complains.

“Such an assertion,” she adds, is “untrue, and denies what the child has observed and experienced”.

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