Black Lives Matter: A prejudice observed

Recent protests by Black Lives Matter are part of our duty to act over racist murders, writes Evleen Mann, a retired GP and practising psychotherapist.

As a psychotherapist, I don’t have to have experienced everything my clients bring to me to be able to explore it and ‘process’ it, as we say in the trade. I might attune to their body language, using empathy to gain insight into their situation, to put my feet in their footsteps, like Thomas, put my hands in their wounds, so I can believe.

Or I can use my imagination to get to that place they are in: I may not have had a miscarriage, but I can imagine what I might have felt had that happened to me. Somewhere in my long life, I will have experienced someone’s death or hopes dashed. In the same way, I don’t claim to have experienced how it feels to be black. But I have suffered degrees of prejudice from something as small as my Yorkshire accent, something in between like having Irish heritage, and something as obvious as being a woman.

In fact, the closest I have come to meeting raw unadulterated racism is when I am on my own, because I am white and the racists are not guarded when they speak. They don’t know that I married a brown-skinned person of Indian origin forty-three years ago and have four mixed-race children and four even more mixed-race grandchildren.

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