The Race Conversation

Author(s) : Eugene Ellis

The Race Conversation

Book Details

  • Publisher : Confer Books
  • Published : September 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 292
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 96565
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494483
  • ISBN 10 : 9781913494
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"This book has been written to help us take an honest look at who we really are. It is here to help us dig deep. It is here to heal the nation. I'm no psychotherapist, but I get it. - Benjamin Zephaniah

Is it possible not to be confused about race? Is it possible to respond authentically to the hurt and discomfort of racism? The construct of race is an integral part of Western society's DNA and if we are to address the social injustice of racism, we need to have the race conversation. Yet all too often, attempts at such a dialogue are met with silence, denial, anger or hate. The Race Conversation explores how the damage and distress caused by racism lives not just in our minds, but principally in the body.

As well as helping us to develop a cognitive understanding by exploring the history and development of the race construct, the book focuses specifically on the non-verbal communication of race, both as a means of social control and as an essential part of navigating oppressive patterns. This guide supports black, white and mixed heritage people to emerge from the tight grip of race discomfort to a trauma-informed, neurophysiological approach that emphasises resourcing, body awareness, mindfulness and healing.

Reviews and Endorsements

“This book has been written to help us take an honest look at who we really are. It is here to help us dig deep. It is here to heal the nation. I’m no psychotherapist, but I get it. After years of experience on the front-line helping people like me, Eugene has written a book that I believe can change the way we relate to each other, and the way we relate to ourselves. He writes in a logical, accessible way, and makes The Race Conversation, our conversation.” - Benjamin Zephania

“This is a beautifully written and highly accessible book on one of the most challenging subjects in modern discourse … Ellis, a gifted psychotherapist, guides us through the immense pain of racial injustice and offers a solution nested in human experience and the growth of knowledge … ” - Professor Peter Fonagy, OBE.

“It would be impossible to exaggerate how important this book is for our times. Eugene Ellis brings both personal experience and psychotherapeutic insight into this, often fraught area, with compassion, thoughtfulness and rigor.” - Judy Ryde, psychotherapist and author of White Privilege Unmasked: How to Be Part of the Solution

“Eugene’s conversational and accessible style is music to my ears. He offers us a language to describe our experiences of race conversations and ways to change their outcomes. This book is an inspiration and an awakening for everyone, the young, the old, teachers, social workers, carers, politicians, and decision-makers. Read and feel free.” - Jazzie B., OBE.

“This is a ‘must have’ book for all therapists working with people of African and Asian diaspora heritage who want to understand the impact of historical and modern-day racism on the Black British psyche.” - Patrick Vernon, OBE, social commentator and co-author of 100 Great Black Britons

“When the history of therapy’s engagement with ‘race’ and diversity comes to be written, Eugene Ellis will be one of the most important figures in the narrative. In this book he confirms his standing as a leading theorist as well as an activist. The innovative strength of the book lies in its focus on the body – on how the race construct and its traumas are held in the bodies of people of colour and also of the white majority.” - Professor Andrew Samuels, former Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapy.

“How the mental construction ‘race’ affects the inner life, the very bodies, of individuals is little recognised and less explored. The Race Conversation is a ground-breaking and timely study that brought me, a white English Buddhist, new awareness of my own inner experience and has already benefitted my participation in the ‘race conversation’ through greater understanding of how the construction of race impacts on the psychic and somatic experience of people of colour.” Subhuti, Member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, President of the London Buddhist Centre and author of Mind in Harmony: The Psychology of Buddhist Ethics

“Launched from his personal and professional experience as a therapist, Eugene Ellis presents an insightful and empirical text. He addresses rage, vulnerability and trauma across racial minds and creates a pathway to the understanding of racial dialogue. The book emphasises the multi-faceted positions of racism, mindfulness and body connections that trigger ‘racial arousal’. Language with a slight bite and examples of dialogue prompt further understanding and unravel ‘race construction’. An undercurrent of external and internal prompts such as white fragility and white privilege are used to contextualise interrelationships between African and Asian people and white people. This book is an important contribution to keeping the race conversation alive.” - Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga, psychotherapist and author of The Challenge of Racism in Therapeutic Practice

“In this comprehensive text, Eugene Ellis describes a pathway to racial understanding, speaking to both the history of racism and the psychology of race relations, interwoven with a mindfulness-based, somatically-informed model for addressing the effects of this history on all of us. He leaves us with much to converse about!” - Janina Fisher, Ph.D., author of Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma and Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors

"Over eight chapters the book maps the construction of race through the centuries, the language and social constructivism around race, the nature of embodied trauma and how it manifests in the here and now.” - New Psychotherapist

“Whether you consider yourself informed in this area, or new to cross-racial conversations, this book will have much to offer. It speaks to all forms of oppression … I cannot recommend it highly enough.” - The Transactional Analyst

“Ellis invites us to tune into our cognitive and physiological triggers in conversations about race, so that we can listen and understand our own and others’ experience … an enriching resource for trainers, therapists, educators and anyone who wants to develop the compassionate awareness that offers hope for meaningful change.”- Therapy Today

“This fascinating read dives into a world of new vocabulary coined to initiate conversations around race … Its forward-thinking narrative aims to normalise conversations about race, highlights the significance of historical oppression, and proposes different solutions to healing from race-related trauma.” - Aaliyah Harris, The Canary












About the Author(s)

Eugene Ellis is the Director and founder of the Black, African and Asian Therapy Network, the UK's largest independent organisation to specialise in working therapeutically with Black, Africa, Caribbean and South Asian people. He is also a psychotherapist with a special interest in body-orientated therapies and facilitating a dialogue around race and mental wellbeing through articles, podcasts and blog posts as well as within organisations and psychotherapy trainings.

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