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McRae, M.B. (2020). Names and Naming of an African American Author: Implications for Race, Power, and Privilege. Psychoanal. Psychol., 37(1):75-76.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 37(1):75-76

Names and Naming of an African American Author: Implications for Race, Power, and Privilege

Mary B. McRae, ED.D.

What does it mean for a White man to misspell the name of an African American woman author and to then choose to use her work as the subject of an article for publication? In his article published in 2012 in Psychoanalytic Psychology titled, “Rethinking Tavistock: Enactment, the Analytic Third, and the Implications for Group Relations” (Rizzolo, 2012), Rizzolo wrote:

The loss of mutual recognition frequently gives way to enactments in which those involved engage unconsciously in attempts to negate one another as independent subjects…. The doer turns the other into an object in his psychic reality, while negating him as a subject in the world outside of his omnipotent control. (p. 354)

The author, Rizzolo (2012) a White male, makes use of my work, citing long quotes, to help him make a point for his publication on intersubjectivity (McRae, 2004). He misspells my last name, McRae, as McCrae, which was clearly printed on the first page under the title. Ironically, he enacted the very point of his paper, his theoretical insights notwithstanding. He was the “doer” and I was “done to,” an object, negated outside of his world of omnipotent control. My work entitled “Class, race, and gender: Person-in-role implications in taking up the directorship” was used as a case illustration by Rizzolo (2012). The chapter is a discussion of a vulnerable experience of a Black woman, me, from a sharecropper family, who had recently lost her oldest brother, a barber, taking up a role of authority as director of a group relations conference for the first time.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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