We may miss a moment deserving of wonder. I’m convinced we are entering such a moment. But let me hold it as a mystery for now. And I’ll begin with a hint and some personal history.
Up front I need to make it clear who I am. Often we don’t know how who we are may be meaningful. For me it has a lot to do with history and what is unfolding. I am a 78 year old white man and my perceptions and reservations about white men go back a long way.
The word “perception” references a view, not worship, because I learned deep reservations early in my adult life.
In the early 1960s I went to Duke University to work on a doctorate in clinical psychology. In high school I became deeply interested in nuclear physics but a college instructor destroyed my interest. I then chose psychology because of my mother’s suffering. She could be joyful and full of song but over time fell deeper and deeper into terrible depressions and when she was depressed she was often covered with weeping eczema. I wanted to know why.
Psychology gave me the opportunity to seek answers and fit with my personality where the search for possibilities was central. In the end that led me to clinical psychology rather than experimental psychology.
Time to Leave Academia
Toward the end of my time at Duke the community mental health movement was starting and at graduation I took a job as one of the first psychologists hired in one of the first programs in the country. The job was in the inner city of Baltimore. I was a neophyte and an innocent. We thought we were to give mental health services.
On my first day I met a young black woman social worker who became my mentor and main ally in an unexpected battle to come. Community mental health was charged to make mental health services more widely available to all Americans. In fact no one knew the nature of services impoverished inner-city residents needed.
The Core Experience
Now I’ll tell the secret. Well, one of them. The staff was a racially diverse staff which included young and assertive women. At the time the Women’s Liberation Movement was just beginning. The experience became a battle royal regarding the coming of women and the delivery of services which I spell out in my book Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health. Our chief opponents in this battle were the people in charge of the program and its development. The core opposition was older white men. Whatever perspective I was carrying that might have guided my life as a white man was torn to shreds. And today we see the continuing battle with them, their often distorted perspectives and corruption as we approach a new day for our country.
In future posts I deal with these issues in more detail but will also open other themes related to the wonders that might come for America if we were to seize the moment and the opportunity.
Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt
Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page
Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt
Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership
Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt