As a person and counseling psychologist, I believe that our cultural identities have a powerful influence on how we see ourselves, others, and the world, and how others treat us. I self-identify as a straight, white, cisgender man with an upper-middle class socioeconomic status. Once I learned where to look, I began to see how these dominant cultural identities have afforded me privileges that are less available to folks with more marginalized identities. I believe it is my ethical and moral obligation to continue to learn about myself as a cultural being, have difficult but important conversations with others about the influence of cultural identities, and join with others to promote a more socially just world. Doing this work well is hard, but thankfully we don’t have to be experts (I certainly am not) to do our part. This page is designed to share some resources (such as those linked to above) that I have found useful and to share some of my thoughts and experiences from my journey so far, typically in the form of brief videos. My hope is that, regardless of your sociopolitical worldview, what you read and watch here will make you think and feel. It’s important for privileged people like myself to speak up, because sometimes we’re the only ones that will be taken seriously by other privileged folks, as unjust as that is. You’ll notice that the majority of these resources focus on privilege and power revolving around race; this is intentional, as Americans tend to struggle the most with conversations around racism. Likewise, many of these resources are geared toward people who reside in a privileged social location, as we are the ones who need to do most of the “catching up” when it comes to (un)learning about identity and our society. I’m adding additional resources as I come across them.
Good Reading & Watching
Whiteness, Race, Racism, Privilege, Etc.
- Why it’s important to think about privilege – and why it’s hard
- Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide
- Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
- On Racism and White Privilege
- Tim Wise’s (Antiracist Author) Frequently Asked Questions Page
- Code of Ethics for Antiracist White Allies
- Dear White People, Please Stop Pretending Reverse Racism Is Real
- White People Challenging Racism: Moving from Talk to Action FAQs Page
- How I Talk to White People About Racism
- 7 Reasons Why Reverse Racism Doesn’t Exist
- How to Respond Effectively When You Mess Up, a TEDx Talk
- How to Talk about Race, a brief article
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism
- White Fragility: Video of Dr. DiAngelo Explaining the Concept In-Depth
- Kyle Korver, White NBA Player, Talks about White Privilege
- White Homework: Good workbooks, books, podcasts, and articles for white people
- The Rules of the Diversity and Inclusion Racket (higher education focused)
- No. You Cannot Touch My Hair! – Mena Fombo TEDx Talk
- Yo, Is This Racist? The Dear Abby for Racists podcast
Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
- Nancy with Tobin Low and Kathy Tu podcast – Stories and conversations about the queer experience today
- NB (Non-Binary) Podcast with BBC Producer Caitlin Benedict
- Queersplaining with Callie Wright. I really like their episode about how to be a nondefensive ally, among others.
- Even a Grammar Geezer Like Me Can Get Used to Gender Neutral Pronouns – On the use of “they” when referring to a single person
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Gender-Neutral Pronouns
- Trans Pronoun FAQ
- Being Multigender
These reflections are from my Culture, Diversity, and Social Justice video series.
- No Progress without Discomfort and Loss – I reflect on how my speaking out has challenged me to develop a willingness to tolerate discomfort (e.g., difficult dialogues create difficult emotions) and loss (e.g., of certain relationships).
- Masculine Gender Role Socialization, Stoicism, & Doing Therapy – I talk about how my socialization (as a white, cisgender man) related to the importance of being stoic has influenced my personal and professional development.
- How the Personal is Professional in Counseling Psychology – I talk about how my personal life have influenced my professional life, touching on emotion, privilege, and implicit bias in therapy.
- Interpersonal Patterns, Cultural Socialization, Personal/Professional Growth Edges – I reflect on how my cultural socialization, particularly related to traditional western masculine gender role norms, influenced the development of my emotional and interpersonal style over time, and in turn my professional development during graduate school. My struggles connected to growth edges fueled by my cultural socialization are the specific focus, including how I conceptualize them from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) perspective, and how I have engaged in intentional personal/professional growth to address these growth edges over time. I openly discuss these things in the hope that counseling psychology graduate students who are working on their own personal/professional growth edges can learn more about how one can productively approach this difficult work.