A psychiatrist spoke earlier this year to the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center, giving a speech called “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind.” The speech, given by Dr. Aruna Khilanani, recently garnered attention in journalist Bari Weiss’ substack, in a piece from Katie Herzog that included both the audio of the speech and some of a more recent interview between Herzog and Khilanani.
Khilanani’s speech spoke about wanting to shoot white people and cutting white people out of her life, saying that “[T]his is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil. Around five years ago, I took some actions. I systematically white-ghosted most of my white friends. And got rid of the couple white BIPOCs that snuck in my crew too. I stopped watching the news. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I have less than one percent left. It was also a public service. I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f*cking favor.”
Below is a portion of the interview between Herzog and Khilanani that addressed the April speech, as reported by Townhall:
…Do you find that this sort of rhetoric is effective or do people reject what you’re saying because it is violent?
Before I gave the talk, I said, I want you to observe your thoughts and feelings as I talk. I said, there’s a difference between a thought, a fantasy, and an action. Now, my reflection on my own rage was actually that I was feeling impotent. So that’s where I was going with that. And kind of normalizing feelings of hatred. This is stuff that exists and I need to dive deep within myself to reflect on how it is that I got here. So there is a reality here, like did I actually cut white people out of my life? Absolutely.
When you were going through this process of cutting white people out of your life, what specifically would lead you to that decision?
Having the same conversations with people on repeat. People getting defensive, needing to argue, being unable to take in what I’m saying. An ability to say they’re not racist. And on repeat. I think my favorite responses were, “Well, you’re really sensitive. You’re over-reacting.” Focusing on my feelings. White women will often tell me that I’m really edgy and I’m like, “That’s so interesting that you’re focused on my edginess. Have you reflected on why they might be?” But they can’t go there.
I know you have a background in critical theory. How did you go from academia to psychiatry?
My masters is in humanities and the focus is largely on critical theory. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the University of Chicago, but it was very critical theory-heavy when I went. I did pre-med stuff in undergrad and had always been thinking of these issues. I also majored in English Lit and wondered about other ways of thinking. And I was interested in the unconscious for a long time, so it wasn’t that big of a jump for me.
From my experience, therapists tend to act pretty neutral. Is your practice like that?
Not at all. I think that’s a part of the racist aspect of psychoanalysis, this idea that people are neutral is, I think, a complete fiction. But I would say that who I am inside the room is exactly who I am outside the room. My patients have a pretty good sense of who I am. I’m not the stereotype of the psychoanalyst where I’m withholding or won’t say anything or will just be there as a sounding board because that sounds really fucking cold and empty. That sounds awful. I do have people sit with their emotions and get into unconscious stuff but I’m there as myself to be with them.
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