A Letter of Love: An Encounter with White Backlash

Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St
StockbridgeMassachusetts 01262
September 7, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Friday Night Guest Lecture

George Yancy, PhD, is professor of philosophy at Emory University. He is editor for Lexington Books’ Philosophy of Race book series and known for his work in critical philosophy of race, critical whiteness studies, and African American philosophy. He has written, edited, or co-edited more than 18 books, as well as numerous book chapters and articles; his work has been quoted worldwide, including in Turkey, Australia, South Africa, and Sweden. Most recently, he published Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018); On Race: 34 Conversations in a Time of Crisis (Oxford University Press, 2017); and Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race in America, 2nd ed. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).


In this presentation, Dr. Yancy will discuss the vulnerability shown toward white America in the form of a letter of love, entitled “Dear White America.” The letter was designed to model vulnerability regarding his own sexism vis-à-vis the racism of white people. He will explore the question of white privilege, white complicity, and thereby expand how we understand the meaning of white racism. He will also provide examples of the white vitriolic backlash received in response to the letter. This will partially demonstrate forms of white fragility. He will conclude with suggestions regarding how white people might nurture dispositions toward a greater understanding of the complexity of their whiteness.

This presentation is designed for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers, with no regular registration fee. View the entire schedule for the 2018-19 Friday Night Guest Lecture Series.


The Austen Riggs Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category1 Credit(s)

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live activity for 1.00 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology and social work.

This program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for 1.0 contact hours.

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 02/02/2017-02/02/2020. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 1.0 continuing education clock hours. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit www.aswb.org/ace/ace-jurisdiction-map/.

Complete Continuing Education Statement

No registration required. For more information contact Kathleen Young at 413.931.5230. 

In the event of a cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, a notice will be posted here no later than 3:00 p.m. on the day of the event. 

1.5 hours