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March 5, 2019

DAILYKENN.com --"There is an ethos of confession," says psychologist and thought-reform expert Dr. Robert Jay Lifton. It is the most powerful of thought reform techniques. Once you convince someone to confess, that person begins to believe their own confessions. 

A physician recently confronted her "white privilege" and encourage other physicians to do the same. Acknowledging white privilege is a thought reform technique. We begin to believe our own confession of white privilege where none exists. 

From nejm.org ▼ Deborah Cohan

 I acknowledge my privilege; I recognize that the system that benefits me causes others to suffer. I openly and humbly acknowledge that my racism is harmful. And I commit to a process of uncovering and exploring my biases wherever they lie, lest they wield power and I abet a culture of racism. If we white physicians are to heal others and ultimately the health care system, we must first heal ourselves.

The first step, I believe, is to train ourselves to question ourselves and each other reflexively, consistently, and with curiosity: How am I perpetuating systemic inequities for patients? What am I doing to ensure inclusion and promotion of physicians of color? What are my practices for checking myself? And how can we acknowledge the racism within us without making it a character judgment that precludes behavior change?


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