What I Think About Racism and Violence in America

During the past week, I sought consultation for my business and my staff as it relates to racism and violence in America.  These consultations were with both Caucasian and African-American therapists with a similar level of experience as myself and who have directed large staffs of mental health therapists.

In this email newsletter/blog post today on June 17, 2020 I am outlining my Mission Statement as it relates to these issues.

Myself and my associates are against all-or-nothing thinking that lumps people into groups.  This includes extremist thinking which is being perpetuated in the news media and on social media which insists on the far left “All White People Are Racist,” or on the far right that “All Black People Are Victims,” or as another example, “All Police Officers Are Bad.”

As a leader on conflict resolution, I am very concerned that this kind of extreme thinking is affecting many people’s mental health and is also a symptom of poor mental health.  I am also concerned that this is perpetuating division and is leading to more conflict in our country.

At my Relationship Repair Shop, myself and my associates acknowledge that White institutions collectively and White people individually have used the social construct of race to abuse, control, and hold power over Black individuals.  Too many of these discriminatory acts are still occurring today.

Many Black American clients have spoken to me about how racial discrimination has hurt them during the past two weeks, and I hope to support any clients in the future who need to discuss or resolve traumatic memories related to how they have been discriminated against.

Right now, the news media and the culture is very focused on Black individuals and the Black American community receiving support and understanding.  I do understand that this is a long time coming for the Black community.

However…I am a mental health therapist, and I am also concerned about the mental health of all Americans and all my clients as it relates to violence and racism in America.

I have had the unique position of listening to approximately 80-100 hours of therapy clients talk about racism, discrimination, and violence from just about every ethnic or religious background that you can think of during the past several weeks.    It is on almost every client’s mind and almost everyone is talking about it as part of their therapy.

Some people may not want to hear this but it’s the truth: I am also hearing from many clients (both Black and White Americans) who feel that Black Americans are also responsible for helping to resolve racial differences, to also not perpetuate stereotypes, and to take personal responsibility for their actions when it comes to Black on Black or Black on White violence.

As a leader, I cannot ignore any of these conversations from any of my clients.  I am taking steps to ensure that all of my Associates are open to hearing any client of any racial or religious background discuss discrimination and or racism, including White Americans who feel that they have been discriminated against by Black Americans.

Myself and my associates are nonviolent, and we encourage people to discontinue any kind of violence against other Americans.   My associates will always make recommendations against the harsh corporal punishment of children by any American of any racial background.  Harsh corporal punishment is not supported by any group of professionals, including pediatricians, child development experts, and neuroscientists in addition to mental health experts.

My associates will also sympathize with and not condone any violence that is victimizing the many people during protests and they will discourage and confront any kind of behavior or thinking which is discriminatory towards other humans when it is discussed during personal therapy sessions.  My associates will also encourage people to repair relationships and that if someone feels hurt by racism or racial comments, to have a discussion that leads to repair.

As the owner of the Relationship Repair Shop, I am also concerned about how racial trauma has affected the Black community and how it has perpetuated higher levels of violence within Black American families.  This is an indisputable fact grounded in statistics that I have discussed with other scholars and experts on racism. I am deeply concerned about my Black American clients and their families.

Although I gave support to Black Americans in my email newsletter on June 5, I also mentioned reverse racism and concerns about racial trauma and Black families collectively disciplining their children more harshly and more frequently than families of other ethnic groups.  As a point of clarification, my statement did not say that I think every Black parent harshly disciplines their children or that if they have used corporal punishment that I judge them for it.  I also did not say that White parents or parents from ethnic backgrounds do not use harsh corporal punishment.

My statement did raise consciousness and is supported by research.  The truth that some individuals may not have been ready to hear is that black families are twice as likely to use harsh corporal punishment as families of any other ethnic group and that those Black parents who do use corporal punishment are more likely to use it more consistently and frequently than people from other ethnic backgrounds.  There are scholars who have reported upon this research within the American Psychological Association and professionals from other mental health forums have written about family violence within the Black Community as it relates to racial trauma.

The truth that some people do not want to accept is that children are not meant to be beaten or physically assaulted anymore than adults are. I know that many people are not ready to accept this truth based on the level of reactivity I received from my initial email newsletter on June 5.

However, pretty much all experts from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds agree that corporal punishment puts children at risk for various problems.   Yes, you may have gotten a beating and you may have turned out fine.  But as a mental health therapist, I can tell you that this is not true for all people and not all adults who received corporal punishment as children fully recover.  I am of the opinion that no child should be put at risk and that is my opinion.

I have compassion for the racial trauma of all Black Americans and the violence that they have endured, and I pray that ALL Americans of all of ethnic backgrounds will stop using beatings and “wuppins” on their children.  I also pray that as a culture we can move away from extremist thinking and make changes to become a more democratic society that respects the rights of others instead of violating them.

I also realize that some people were not initially ready to accept the truth that some Black individuals also perpetuate racism and discrimination (AKA “reverse racism” or “reverse discrimination”).  However, there are also many scholars  (including Black American scholars) who agree with this concept, and I am one of them.

Please know that my comments based on this blog post/email newsletter and in the previous one that I sent on June 5 are grounded in research and discussions with other experts.

Furthermore, I should also have the right to make my comments as a Capitalist living in a Democratic society without being attacked especially given my level of experience and training.  I have my right to my freedom of speech.  And I most certainly have the right to my opinion as a Ph.D expert on conflict resolution and family violence given my level of training, my twenty years of experience, and my consultation with other experts.

Although initially I was told I need a publicist and I thought perhaps that was true; I decided  that I did not actually need a publicist when I made my initial post nor do I need one now.  I simply need to clarify my Mission Statement.  I have been putting out newsletters and blog posts without a publicist for quite a while with no problem and have developed a large following and a growing business.  This newsletter/blog post will gain me some followers who like my Mission Statement and I may lose others who do not agree with it.  However,….

I am going to speak the truth according to God’s calling for me, and I trust that it will lead me down the right path and that my business will continue to grow and flourish in the way that it needs to.

If some of you who are clients of my brand do not like my Mission Statement, then I would suggest that you explore your reactions to it within your own individual therapy.  Perhaps you have emotional work to do in therapy regarding your own your own implicit biases, your own stereotypes, or by exploring how corporal punishment has affected you or might be affecting your children.

Of course, if you are completely against the mission of my business then you have the Democratic right to seek services somewhere else rather than at my Relationship Repair Shop.  Your complaints will not change my overall Mission Statement or Values which are grounded in my training, education, and clinical experience.

Please know that even while under attack with some people being  unkind in how they approached me, I still reached out to many people who felt hurt and made apologies.  I never want to hurt individual people.

However, a leader of many people, please know that although I value all of my clients and Associates, I also value my moral beliefs, my education, and my American rights in a Capitalist society.  And in today’s society, which is so divided, I feel that I have to take a stance.

If you like this message and support the Mission of my Business I would like to hear your comments and please share this message to other Americans who might be suffering from extremist thinking and who are being victimized by racial trauma getting passed around in today’s world in one form or another.

As a Christian who is ecumenical, I have employed and have had many clients of various faith backgrounds and have also shown compassion and service for those clients who reject religion entirely.

However, as a Christian I am praying that as a Relationship Repair Shop we can truly help to create more repair and less division by healing traumatic experiences and by showing compassionate love to all who are being affected by division and violence in our world.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

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