Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lasch-Quinn - Race Experts

Lasch-Quinn, Elisabeth. Race Experts: How Racial Etiquette, Sensitivity Training, and New Age Therapy Hijacked the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Norton, 2001.

The turn away from MLK et al.'s dream of an equal society towards black power coincided with the rise of the Therapeutic society in America to take American Civil Rights in the wrong direction. Racial etiquette and sensitivity training emphasize racial differences. New Age ideas coupled with therapeutic ideas to suggest that low self-esteem among blacks was the critical problem that had to be overcome, distracting from the real socio-economic issues that undermined black progress in America.

Other Ideas
The Encounter Group was a tool of group therapy designed to spark a revolution in black-white relations. Experts believed slavery had created a psychology of white supremacy among all whites, and a lack of self-respect among blacks. Experts designed a program for multiracial groups to confront whites with their inherent racism and simultaneously allow blacks a cathartic release of black rage towards whites.

Diversity training was broadly adapted by corporations in the 1990s as a means to fostering a positive work atmosphere in an increasingly racially diverse ethnic environment. But in emphasizing politeness and appreciation for racial identities, it merely emphasized differences, further underscoring racial identities.

The Morgan Memorial "Deja Vu - You've Seen this Before"
Lasch-Quinn applies to racial issues the problems in the Therapeutic culture explored by Lasch, Rieff, and others. The Therapeutic culture and narcissistic focus on the healing of the self has replaced a more traditional conception of morality which emphasized the individual's place and behavior within a community/towards a better community.

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