TUESDAY, February 7 , 2006 at 8:00 p.m.

Mapping Racism

presenter: Don Moss
discussant: Dionne Powell

Dr. Moss will use the metaphor of “mapping” to illustrate our propensity to racialize, or to “see” and experience others through the filter of socially prevalent racial stereotypes. Mapping describes mentally locating a person in a space defined by certain attributes with which we either identify or disidentify. By placement in such an imaginary “physical” space, these attributes are felt to be grounded in nature, and identities become fixed and parochialized.

This phenomenon will be considered psychoanalytically, and its clinical manifestations will be illustrated by two patient vignettes. The process of “mapping” will be discussed in connection with the theoretical contributions of Freud, Theodor Adorno. and James Baldwin, and the psychological concept of “primitivity” will be defined and proposed as a key component of racism.