As protests continue across the nation against systemic racism and violence toward Black people, many therapists are having urgent conversations about race while navigating how best to support clients through this historical moment.
We all bring our own backgrounds and experiences to these conversations with families, but I have been disappointed to see some therapists taking a “colorblind” approach, claiming not to see race. Although it may be a well-intentioned move to promote racial harmony, trying to be colorblind actually denies the very real discrimination and safety threats that Black people face on a daily basis. Whether you acknowledge it or not, race is real, and skin color can impact everything from an individual’s job opportunities to their treatment by law enforcement to their experience in therapy. Dismissing these truths as cognitive distortions, gaslighting and engaging in microaggressions are just a few ways that therapists can harm clients of color.
It is our duty as therapists to create safe spaces for our clients, and that means receiving outside training and education beyond the basics of cultural competency. It also means we have a responsibility to be introspective and work through the internal biases and privileges that may hinder us from truly supporting our clients. For white therapists in particular, coming to terms with racism of the past and present will require sustained action and proactive education.
As a resource for therapists to deepen their understanding of race and commitment to racial justice, I have compiled a list of over 100 books for children and teens that include diverse characters in key roles, and deal with topics such as racism, inequality and white privilege. Rising to this moment will require many of us to look at issues of race from new perspectives, and I hope this list can be a starting point for self-reflection and education.
These books can be a great starting point for creating an anti-racist library, and I hope they provoke deeper conversations.
FREE Coronavirus Ebooks
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