183: Tough Conversations about Racial Bias. Yikes! Do We HAVE TO Talk About This?

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By David Burns, MD, David Burns, and MD. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Today, Rhonda and David talk about how to give potentially hurtful feedback when you sense racial bias in a friend or colleague. She describes an incident in her office where the glass coffee table in her waiting room was found smashed and shattered when her office mate "Steve" (not his real name) arrived Monday morning. Although many people, including the cleaning crew, had used the office over the weekend, Steve asked Rhonda to discuss the broken table with someone who uses her office on the weekends, Kenya. Kenya is African American, and a highly esteemed professional and beloved friend and colleague of Rhonda's. Rhonda thought there was implicit bias being played out in this situation but did not know how to discuss it with Steve.

But how can she convey these feelings to her office mate, who conveyed the impression that a black man must be the one who broke the table?

David suggests one of the advanced communication techniques called "Changing the Focus" discussed and demonstrated in a previous podcast #158. They illustrate how to apply that method to the current situation, and struggle a bit along the way!

David reiterates the story of when he was accused of being racist at a psychotherapy workshop near the Texas / Mexico border, and how his own teachings in that very workshop saved the day for him. He emphasizes that it can be so painful to be accused of racist tendencies, or to discover them in yourself, and that this is another case where the cover-up is far worse than the crime!

David and Rhonda

200 episodes