A framework for clinical psychologists to understand and talk about race

Stephanie Hicks, Catherine Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Race has been defined as ‘the notion of a distinct biological type of human being, usually based on skin colour or other physical characteristics’ (p.182, Delgado, Jean, & Harris, 2017). From the early 18th century, this essentialist biological notion of race has been used to segregate, exploit and abuse Black and other ethnic minority individuals and establish White power and privilege (Olson, 2005). Prior to the 18th century, concepts of ‘race’ and ‘racism’ did not exist in their current form (Kendi, 2019), and although laws now exist against acts such as slavery and racial abuse, White privilege and racism persists to this day (Wood & Patel, 2017). In this paper, the researchers position themselves as understanding ‘race’ to be a social construct that does not exist objectively or biologically, however, they strongly believe that racism is still prevalent in society today. The terms ‘race’ and ‘racism’ are therefore used with this understanding in mind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-84
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020


  • racism
  • clinical psychology
  • identity


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