White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives looks at race and the significant role it plays in society and in clinical practice. Much of the effort going into racial consciousness-raising rests on the concept of unearned “white privilege”. In this book, Neil Altman looks deeply into this notion, suggesting that there are hidden assumptions in the idea of white privilege that perpetuate the very same racially prejudicial notions that are purportedly being dismantled.
The book examines in depth the structure of racial categories, polarized between white and black, that are socially constructed, resting on fallacious ideas of physical or psychological differences among peoples. Altman also critically examines such related concepts as privilege, guilt, and power. It is suggested that political positions are also artificially polarized into categories of “liberal”, “left” and “conservative”, “right”, in ways that contribute to stereotyping between people with different political leanings, foreclosing mutual respect, dialogue, and understanding. Finally, White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives explores the implications for the theory and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, discussing these ideas in detail and depth with clinical illustrations.
Drawing on Altman’s rich clinical experience and many years of engaging with racial and societal problems, this book offers a new agenda for understanding and offering analytic practice in contemporary society. It will appeal to clinicians, psychoanalytic therapists, and anyone with an interest in social problems and how they manifest in society and in therapy today.