A psychoanalyst from the New York Psychoanalytic Institute is on a speaking tour where he discusses how “whiteness” is a “malignant, parasitic-like condition” to which those of pallid skin tone “have a particular susceptibility.”
Dr. Donald Moss’s presentation, “On Having Whiteness,” recently was a Plenary Address at a conference in South Africa, and has been featured in the US at the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute and (soon) the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies.
According to the CMPS’s event description, Moss, the program chair at the American Psychoanalytic Association, asserts whiteness is
[…] a condition one first acquires and then one has–a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. [It is] foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world: Parasitic whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse; these deformed appetites particularly target non-white people; and, once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate.
Effective treatment requires a combination of psychological and social-historical interventions, which can reasonably aim only to reshape whiteness’ infiltrated appetites – to reduce their intensities, to redistribute their aims, and to occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages caused by the chronic condition can function either as a warning (“never again”) or as a temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.
Psychoanalysts and social workers can get a pair of continuing education credits for attending Dr. Moss’s talk on February 7. “Learning objectives” include being able to “explain the concept of internal racial identity,” and “identify[ing] obstacles to clinicians’ working effectively with issues of race in the therapeutic relationship.”
Moss is a founder of the Green Gang, a “four-person collective […] focusing on climate change and its denial.” His recent articles include “Our Crying Planet” and “Defensive Representational Strategies in a Time of Cataclysmic Climate Change.”