“Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples.”
The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association published a piece by Dr. Donald Moss describing Whiteness as a “malignant, parasitic-like condition to which ‘white’ people have a particular susceptibility.”
Moss, who teaches psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis, insists Whiteness does not have a cure.
Excuse me? Critical race theory is off the rails. I don’t know about you, but I recognized racism in America’s history during my school years without critical race theory!
Psychoanalysis vs. Other Mental Doctors
First off, let me explain Moss’s profession. A psychoanalyst is not a psychologist or psychiatrist. They might have the same goals, but those goals become different session-to-session. Think Dr. Sigmeund Freud (emphasis mine):
Psychologists operate under the assumption that, given the right tools and strategies, people can learn to think about themselves and their lives differently. As a result, they can face fear, overcome depression and anxiety, manage the symptoms of a mental illness or post-traumatic stress disorder, or just enjoy life more. Some psychologists dig into patients’ pasts to look for the root causes of their issues, but in general, most employ a forward-thinking approach to problem-solving commonly known as cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT). The governing idea is that our thoughts contribute a lot more to our feelings than our circumstances, so a shift in mindset can make us happier or less prone to depression and anxiety.
Psychoanalysts believe that patients (and their issues) are a lot more complicated. Understanding—not eliminating—the feelings underlying depression and anxiety is the better way to help people achieve mental health and emotional wellness. Psychoanalysts operate under the assumption that the conscious mind is only a tiny piece of who we are, and that the unconscious mind (which has been shaped by our early experiences and relationships) contributes a great deal to our issues and sometimes to our resistance to working on them.
Psychoanalysts prefer for their patients to “explore how they relate to themselves and why, so they can better understand their thoughts, feelings, and desires to move past psychological distress.”
Researching psychoanalysis helped me understand Moss’s view, especially when I saw the practice is based on Freud.
Here is the abstract (emphasis mine):
Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.
In other words, the Whiteness disease can affect anyone. Whiteness does not care about the color of your skin.
Moss noted a slight difference in his writing when he spoke to The Federalist:
Moss told The Federalist that there is a clear distinction between white people as a race and whiteness as an alleged pathology.
“I write about ‘Whiteness,’ a condition that generates racism and I explicitly distinguish it from ‘whiteness,’ a marker of racial identity. I write that white people are particularly susceptible to the pathology of ‘Whiteness.’”
But the recent CRT fad isn’t why Moss tackled this so-called Whiteness issue. Look at these articles he wrote for the journal in the past.
In August 2001, Moss somehow made first-person plural voice racist, homophobic, and misogynistic:
On the basis of personal, cultural, and clinical references, misogyny, homophobia, and racism are conceptualized as structured forms of hatred grounded in a defensive use of the first person plural voice. This use of hatred defends against dangers associated with desires linked to the first person singular. In these hatreds, “I want” is defensively transformed into “we hate.”
***I apologize for the error. I misidentified Dr. Donald Moss. The author of the article is not the Dr. Donald Moss at Saybrook University, but a professor at New York Psychoanalytic Institute and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis.DONATE
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