16 July 2021

With this issue, works to expand and deepen the focus in psychoanalysis from the individual to the group and to train a psychoanalytic lens on matters of social formation; racism, class, caste and religious belief and practices.

Structural racism maintains the marginalization of blacks, indigenous people and refugees in relation to access to valued positions in Brazilian society. This is reproduced in psychoanalytic institutions, which have a disproportionately small number of black analysts on their staff. According to the essay by Paim Filho and the interview with Wania Cidade, psychoanalysis and its institutions themselves play a fundamental role in solving this problem, both with regard to the study of the psychic mechanisms that perpetuate discrimination and in the potential manifest transformation of the situation of inequality, through the establishment of anti-racist practices in their structures.
The exclusion of the other, the different, is a dramatic reality that crosses world history in racism, social exclusion, and castes, among others. Understanding the roots and unconscious mechanisms of this phenomenon is a significant contribution that psychoanalysis can offer. Viviane Mondrzak proposes to reflect on the theme, from the point of view of preconception, which is part of the constitution of the psychic, but which, crossed by intrapsychic, intersubjective, and socio-cultural variables, ends up maligning itself and reaches expression in behaviors of violence and dehumanization to the other.

The dark and terrible time of National Socialism did not only lead Freud to emigrate from Vienna to London in 1938. It also caused many other and often almost forgotten persecuted people – among them Jewish psychoanalysts – to have to leave their homeland. The careful research of the psychoanalyst Ilia Borovikov and the historian Karola Fings, who followed the traces of the psychoanalyst Julius Mändle – who worked in Cologne in the 1930s and emigrated to Brazil in 1940 – makes an important contribution, as does the laying of ‘Stolpersteine’ by the artist Gunter Demnig, to counteract forgetting and to remember and include history when new injustices occur. 
The disposition common to racism and paranoia could be thought of as the loss of a maternal containing object which until then guaranteed the subject's identity and his position in relation to his ideal of the ego. Like paranoid delirium, racism is a projective defense against a masochistic homosexual fantasy. To sustain his ideas, Gilbert Diatkine evokes the Goncourt brothers and the writer Céline. 

Individuals subject to discrimination unwittingly go to great lengths to protect themselves, both against prejudice and to prevent loss of their identity. In Deeba Ashraf's essay, she describes her journey to awareness of her cultural and racial identity, one that is somewhere between her ancestry and her current cultural surround. 

Dionne Powell brings a potent and rightly demanding analysis of structural racism in the United States. The demand for white persons not to hide in discussion but to recognize that silence is collusion with racism. She calls for ‘good trouble’, in the language of the Congressman John Lewis, an extraordinary presence in national government as an activist and person of color.

Over centuries, the reprehensible practice of a deeply entrenched caste system in India has not only exploited the bodies and minds of the oppressed but has, insidiously, altered Hindu consciousness itself. Shifa Haq posits that against this backdrop, psychoanalysis in India demands an intrinsic commitment to social justice.  When ‘othering’ enters the clinic even in very subtle ways, the analysis will be incomplete if it overlooks caste as the disease afflicting the Indian unconscious. 
Racism implies the non-recognition of the other. This idea is presented by Dr. Mirta Cohen in her Brief Communication when relating the concept of racism to language in Latin America. The author proposes to listen to the other through the recognition of their language. A language that represents everyone. In the same way the psychoanalyst Carin- Lee Masters in her deep and moving article on racism in South Africa entitled ‘The Girl who made the Milky Way… Belonging…in South Africa evokes the feeling of not being recognized for being a person of colour in her country.
Let us hope that this issue of can stimulate thought, and action.
Compiled by Adrienne Harris