The Race Conversation

The Race Conversation
Finding a Voice

With Dr Aileen Alleyne, Dr Neil Altman, Eugene Ellis and Jane Ryan – chaired by Foluke Taylor

Recorded Saturday 20 March 2021

This conference invites psychotherapists of all backgrounds to consider the intricate and complex challenge of talking about race, both within and beyond the consulting room. It rests on the premise that examining the subjective experience of inequality across painful racial divides in our society is inevitably a confronting and emotionally charged endeavour: frustrating and saddening for black people; shame laden and unnerving for white people.




Dr Aileen Alleyne
White Shame – White Fragility, in the Context of the Black Lives Matter Movement

This paper offers a critical analysis of three significant factors currently informing what is virtually our zeitgeist. Aileen will discuss her observations and sense-making of the phenomenon witnessed in a particular white British response to the BLM movement in the midst of other major societal upheavals: Brexit and Covid-19. She will borrow the term “white fragility” coined in 2011 by Robin DiAngelo, who defines the concept as: “a state in which even a minimal challenge to the white position becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves including: argumentation, invalidation, silence, withdrawal and claims of being attacked and misunderstood. These moves function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and maintain control.” The speaker will also critically address the concept of “white shame” to demonstrate that this ubiquitous emotion in the context of race, is a reaction formation that cannot be analysed away or forgotten but can be fully met and atoned.

Respond and reflect with Dr Aileen Alleyne

A “Race Conversation” between Dr Aileen Alleyne and Jane Ryan
This pre-recorded conversation, made especially for this webinar, will explore Aileen and Jane’s personal experiences of BLM, race and issues of equality, responsibility, and personal identity in the context of this historic year of protest. As a black woman and a white woman respectively, they will attempt to articulate and share their experiences and reflections on the BLM movement and its meaning for now and the impactful changes to the status quo.

Respond and reflect with Dr Aileen Alleyne and Jane Ryan

Eugene Ellis
Finding Your Voice in the Race Conversation

What racial differences impose on our minds and bodies as individuals and collectively as a society is demanding and complex. The challenge is often simply to remain coherent in our thinking, and often there is a feeling of being under-resourced to stay with the process. In this talk I want to explore what happens in our minds and also importantly in our bodies in the midst of the race conversation; to explore how a mindful approach to our physiological responses might support us as therapists in staying at the contact boundary of our own and our clients’ experience – and find our voice.

Respond and reflect with Eugene Ellis

A “Race Conversation” between Eugene Ellis and Neil Altman
This second conversation delves into the subjective responses of two psychotherapists, one black and one white. Both are authors of upcoming books on race, and they will exchange reflections, insights and ideas about BLM and the historic background to the movement.

Eugene Ellis, The Race Conversation: An essential guide to creating life-changing dialogue (Confer Books, 2021) Neil Altman, White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (Routledge, 2020)

Respond and reflect with Neil Altman and Eugene Ellis

All panel respond and reflect


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Dr Aileen Alleyne’s on ‘White Shame – White Fragility, in the Context of the Black Lives Matter Movement’

Respond and reflect with Dr Aileen Alleyne

Jane Ryan introduces the first pre-recorded ‘Race Conversation’

Pre-recorded ‘Race Conversation’ with Dr Aileen Alleyne and Jane Ryan

Respond and reflect with Dr Aileen Alleyne and Jane Ryan