Deborah L. Plummer, PhD, is a psychologist, author, and speaker on topics central to equity, inclusion, and how to turn us and them into we. #Getting to We
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“The fundamental thing that White nationalists want is for everybody in the room to be White. And there are so many settings that qualify for that, whether it is my graduate program or the Unitarian church. I know a lot of affluent White nationalist leaders who would find a way to speak to these groups just because of who is in the room.”

I had to pause for a moment after hearing that statement during my 2017 interview with. I had never spoken with someone associated with White nationalism until that interview for my on contemporary race…


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I grew up living next door to a White family who daily flew a confederate flag on the side of their home that bordered our adjacent property. They also erected a barbed wire fence the length of our six-acre lot and placed no trespassing signs upon each post. Their three German Shepherds were trained as attack dogs to ensure that my siblings and I wouldn’t dare approach their property, even for retrieving a ball that might have accidentally went over the fence while we played. …


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Robert Clay Photography / Shutterstock.com

In the fight for a just and equitable society, what do we do about all of the White women who voted for Trump?

Since the election, several of my White women friends have asked me that question. I’ve asked myself that same question. Like my friends, I am still a bit baffled that support for Trump by White women not only remained as high as in the 2016 election, but as suggested by some increased in 2020.

It’s an honest curiosity. We know that women are not a monolith. We honor the diversity of thought and expression that…


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In 2017, I received an email request to keynote the 2018 Association for the Conference in Toronto. In my early years as a therapist, I spent many years in post-graduate training at the . I became deeply honed in Gestalt theory, applied it in my clinical practice and, over time, wrote several journal articles applying the theory to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.

With this background, I saw the request as an invitation to renew and expand my learning. I was especially intrigued by the conference theme, “Radical Respect: Contemporary Gestalt Therapy…


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I am still a bit exasperated with Ellie McGinty. Ellie is a fictional character in , Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Connie Schultz’s novel about four generations of women in a working class family set over several decades. Even though Ellie is a fictional character, she lives in the personalities of many White women I know.

Two different book clubs that I belong to choose for our monthly discussion. Both members in each book club found Ellie to be very relatable. They applauded her courage in working to define herself outside of the constraints of…


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Like many social scientists, I learned that prejudice + power = racism. Having power is key for determining how someone could turn their everyday bias into racism. We all have prejudices but not everyone has the power to turn it into racism. With power, one can make laws, establish structures, enact practices and procedures that benefit Whites and disadvantage BIPOC.

This classic definition of racism remains true today, especially for how structural and systemic racism get created and maintained. …


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Talking about racism in our current political climate has become more explosive and confrontational than ever before. That’s all the more reason why we have to meet the challenge, keep the conversation going, and work toward turning us and them into we. Yet, having conversations that are forward-moving and that position us as effective antiracists are not easy.

Here are some tips for fostering forward-moving conversations about racism:

  1. Don’t back away from difficult conversations: When baffled or completely gobsmacked about something someone has said, simply pause and with the most inviting tone you can muster, ask the person to “Say more about…” or “Tell me what informs your thinking…”
  2. Remain…


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George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

On January 6, 2021, a stormed into the United States Capitol with the goal of stopping the electoral college certification of President-Elect Biden. Obvious to most people was the of how law enforcement treated the rioters as compared to Black Lives Matter protestors. It’s a double standard threaded into most American BIPOC‘s lived experience.

This double standard plays out in our criminal justice system, in our educational policies, healthcare access and treatment, our segregated housing patterns, employment hiring practices, wealth creation, and in our voting practices. …


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My friends cross racial lines and so parties I host are often racially mixed gatherings. The tone of these parties are not radically different from same-race social activities. The usual topics come up — family, money, weight gain, politics, work, and what’s good on Netflix, all of these topics peppered with jokes — but I know the energy is different in racially mixed social settings, a bit guarded with a different flavor of expression. I’ve witnessed some Black friends become introverts in the presence of White people and act as if they’re at work rather than a party. I’ve witnessed…


And Collectively Dismantle Systemic Racism

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In the late 1990s, most likely as a way to make meaning out of the racial isolation I felt as the only black professor in our psychology department, I became interested in the ways race was considered a source of stress. My negative experiences had been frequent enough for them to be annoying, but not serious enough to warrant a discrimination complaint. For example, I wore my hair in braids for over a year and when I changed hairstyles was told by an colleague that I was now “more approachable and professional looking.” My research program was racial identity development…

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