Psychoanalyst Melanie Suchet is one of a handful of practicing therapists who have thought deeply about whiteness in therapy. She echoes Helms’ prescription for greater white racial awareness as essential to the psychological health of America as a whole. Suchet, a white South African, has a unique perspective on the national and cultural pathology of American whiteness.
Despite her initial, “white fragility” reaction, Suchet found that submerging herself in racial shame was a portal to deeper understanding. “The work,” she writes, “lies in a deep acceptance of all the parts of the self and the conflicts that accompany me. I am the colonizer and the colonized, the oppressor and the oppressed, the racist, and the anti-racist. In accepting this I can occupy a different space with a different awareness and openness to how race is lived and experienced.”