Racism among mental health providers

I'm an LCSW in an inter-racial relationship. My husband of 20 years is black and I'm white.

Once during a peer supervision group with psychoanalysts, a colleague was presenting a case of her white 14-year-old client, who was dating the black valedictorian of her high school. My colleague made the comment, "Imagine what low self-esteem she must have to be dating a black boy." My jaw nearly dropped to the floor with empathy for the client being in absolutely the wrong hands.

On another occasion, while out to dinner with a group of colleagues, the 80-something white analyst sitting to my left, who had met my husband, turned to me and said, "Well you have an interesting marriage, now don't you. How exactly did that come about?", as if I needed to explain my aberrant choice.

My wish for everyone in our profession is that all mental health providers reckon with their racial biases and begin to mingle more with people from different races and cultures. I believe it is only through widening our social circles, until our dinner tables look like the United Nations, that these dangerous biases will disappear.


— Roberta Rinaldi, LCSW

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