Struggle Session: NHS Seminar Attendees Lament ‘Burden’ of ‘Whiteness’, ‘Shame and Guilt’

A newly uploaded video of an NHS seminar on the “problem” of “whiteness” shows a post-lecture discussion devolving into something resembling a Maoist struggle session, with white attendees lamenting their “white guilt” and efforts to relieve the “burden of [their] whiteness”.

The Tavistock and Portman National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, perhaps best known as one of the leading providers of child gender swap procedures in Britain’s state-run socialised healthcare system, first put on the ‘Whiteness – A problem for our time’ virtual seminar in November, repeating it on January 14th after 700 people attended.

The NHS trust uploaded a video of the January seminar to YouTube on Monday, including a post-lecture discussion showing white attendees, most of whom appeared to be linked to psychotherapy, offering self-denouncements in response to speaker Helen Morgan urging them to confront their internalised “privilege”.

One speaker was congratulated for revealing his “fear” of working with two Afro-Caribbean individuals — although he was later admonished by a black woman for using the term Afro-Caribbean instead of African Caribbean.

Another said that he attempted to reduce the supposed difference in power between himself and black colleagues by asking, for example, “I’m a white man and you’re a black woman, is that OK? Do you think we’ll be able to work together?”

“We as white people… need to be educating ourselves” said another attendee, apologising that more white people were not putting themselves forward to speak and stressing how important it is that whites “share their experiences and their racism”.

“I’ve carried shame and guilt about being a white South African,” offered one particularly troubled woman, revealing that she had worked with the African National Congress (ANC) in her home country as a way to “relieve myself of the burden of my whiteness”, and “refused to socialise” with other South Africans after moving to the United Kingdom.

She assured fellow attendees she was now working to “own” her “whiteness”, however, asserting that “there’s no point to my white guilt if I can’t act on it.”

Seminar chairman Andrew Cooper of the Tavistock was clear that the racially-charged event had been  “inspired by Black Lives Matter”, and speaker Helen Morgan was clear as to who she expected her audience to be, saying that “we who are referred to as white liberals” still hold racism “of a cordial variety”.

Morgan offered things like more black women dying in childbirth than white women as proof of the latter’s racial privilege, but also asserted that “race is a constructed concept with no objective basis in biology”.

She was clear that “whiteness” was still very real, however, and that “colour-blindness” was not just wrong-headed but an actively harmful defence mechanism to preserve white privilege.

One woman who described herself as a council member of her psychotherapy organisation agreed that the “colour-blindness” of some training is “quite scary, actually almost lethal”, leaving minorities feeling “abused” and “traumatised” because it fails to recognise things like “microaggressions”,

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust organised the seminars in conjunction with the British Psychotherapy Foundation, British Psychoanalytic Council, and Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists.

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