Embracing the kaleidoscope: Talking about race and racism in clinical psychology

Stephanie Hicks, Catherine Butler

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Race has been defined as ‘the notion of a distinct biological type of human being, usually based on skin colour or other physical characteristics’ (Delgado et al., 2017, 182). From the early 18th century the 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 (Fanon, 1967; Kendi, 2019; Olson, 2005). Prior to the 18th century, concepts of ‘race’ and racism did not exist in their current form (Kendi, 2019). Although laws now exist against acts such as slavery and racial abuse, White privilege and racism persist to this day (Wood & Patel, 2017). The authors of this chapter are two White, female clinical psychologists. We position ourselves as understanding ‘race’ to be a social construct that does not exist objectively or biologically in any form, however, we know full well that racism and white supremacy is still prevalent throughout society today, with devastating consequences for those from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds. We therefore use the terms ‘race’ and ‘racism’ with this understanding in mind.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRacism in Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationChallenging Theory, Practice and Institutions
EditorsCraig Newnes
Place of PublicationAbingdon, U. K.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003119401
ISBN (Print)9780367635039
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 selection and editorial matter, Craig Newnes.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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