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To theorist Sigmund Freud, the practice of skillfully “working through” the problems that adversely affected the lives of his patients constituted successful psychoanalytic treatment. Working through meant probing beneath the surface of the problems buried deeply in the patient’s unconscious mind because certain life realities had become too painful to bear. By surfacing the roots of the patient’s dysfunction and bringing them into conscious awareness, the analyst would accomplish the task of helping the patient cope constructively with these realities. I loosely borrow this concept of working through to propose that the problems that are deeply inherent in racism cannot be fully resolved without working through the well-tilled roots of the violence that lies at its base.
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