Suggestions on how to speak into the silence:
1. I know that this issue may not be what brings you here today, but experiences of racism have an enormous impact on many peoples’ lives; I am open to hearing about them and understanding how those experiences have affected you.
2. Especially for white psychiatrists: I invite you to discuss any issues of racism in this room, either today or in the future.I know I’m not a person of color, but I want you to know this can be a safe space for you to bring any of that in, at any time.
Example of identifying microaggression when you hear it.
A young woman who identifies as Black discusses a work call with a regional supervisor, whom she had previously met several times when he visited her local office. During the course of the call, he assumed that she was working with the only other African American person in her division and also forgot that he had already met her. I named those encounters as microagressions and validated her experience; we then explored how she continually feels erased and belittled at work.