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Altman, N. (2000). Black and White Thinking: A Psychoanalyst Reconsiders Race. Psychoanal. Dial., 10(4):589-605.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 10(4):589-605

Black and White Thinking: A Psychoanalyst Reconsiders Race Related Papers

Neil Altman, Ph.D.

This paper begins with an analysis of race as a social construction and then follows the argument that, at a deep structural level, race and racism are organized by the same rational-irrational polarity of Enlightenment philosophy that informs psychoanalytic structural theory. The heart of the paper is formed by two case examples, one from my own practice and one from Leary (1997). I argue that unconscious racism is to be expected in our clinical work at this point in history and that truly reparative efforts depend on an acknowledgement of racism in the transference-countertransference matrix.

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