Reflections on the Cruel and Subtle Costs of Racism and Bigotry

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In this essay for the Psychiatric Times, Dr. Edward Khantzian reflects on the pain and grief caused by all forms of racism and bigotry, from microaggressions and derogatory name-calling to hate crimes and genocide.

“Perhaps my musings are too personal and irrelevant to what is going on in the world, but I think not. Whether on a global or individual level, the damage, wounds, and suffering that result from bigotry, trauma, abuse, and neglect are on a continuum but they leave a deep imprint on our spirit, bodies, and psyche. Our worst destiny is when we don’t recognize, react, and act. The horror of these experiences mounts and weaves its way into our being in countless and damaging ways when we fail to be aware, acknowledge, consider, and react with appropriate indignation, intolerance, and remediation.

The worst and most obvious manifestations of bigotry and abuse are the countless ways trauma survivors and PTSD victims suffer, or the unrelenting sense of dysphoria many of these individuals feel. Often, trauma survivors try to cope with substances of abuse. Or they externalize their rage and inflict their suffering and torment on others.”

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