Tavistock Policy Seminar: Whiteness - A problem for our time

Event overview

Whiteness - A problem for our time

Tavistock CentenaryJoin us for a Tavistock Policy Seminar with Helen Morgan, examining white privilege and white fragility from a psychoanalytic perspective.

This presentation is rooted in the assumption that the problem of racism is a problem of whiteness and that an examination of this construct of whiteness needs to be central to seeking a solution to this destructive dynamic. A key and urgent question then for those of us who are regarded as white is, how do we interrogate our whiteness to bring about the radical change that is required? 

‘Whiteness’ is a lived experience and a substantial factor in how one navigates the world and how one is navigated around by others. The ‘fragility’, the colour-blind approach and the silencing process of disavowal that develops in the childhood of white liberal families, are a means of maintaining white privilege and racism. A psychoanalytic approach can, therefore, be useful in understanding these psychological implications but only as one part of a wider perspective.

The work required in relation to whiteness and the relinquishment of privilege is essential if we are to dismantle the system of racism that is so embedded within our society. I argue this is no altruistic endeavour but that, whilst clearly doing untold harm to black people, such a system also limits and distorts the development of white individuals and the society in which we are citizens.

- Helen Morgan

For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman has proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. From attachment theory and infant observation, to applying psychoanalytic and systemic approaches in varied settings, our ideas have led to changes in care, education, how organisations work and beyond.

Our centenary festival will celebrate our history and explore contemporary issues in relation to identity, relationships and society. It will consider how we continue to draw on our heritage to provide valuable responses to contemporary and future problems from the perspective of equality and inclusion.

“For decades, the Tavistock’s work has helped shape how we see ourselves, as persons and as a society. Much thinking that has entered the mainstream emerged from its challenging, interdisciplinary research and practice.”

Dame Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize winner


Helen Morgan


7 to 9pm, Tuesday 10 November 2020



Book your free place on Eventbrite.

10 November 2020 19:00 to 21:00