During BIPOC Mental Health Month and in the midst of nation-wide acute racial trauma, Dr. Thomas Plante, PhD, ABPP wrote an article titled "Vilifying Karens May Diminish Us All", published in Psychology Today (PT) on July 1, 2020. In it, he perpetuates harmful white supremacist ideology and invalidates BIPOC racial trauma.
To our horror, Plante is running for American Psychological Association (APA) presidency, 2022.
(The article is now removed from PT without accountability taking. However, harm has already been done. Scroll down to download the original article within context. Click here to read the most problematic sections in our open letter).
[UPDATE: further racial gaslighting] In honor of your voices in signing Stefani Roscoe's petition to have this article removed from PT, we initially only directed you to find the cache version on Google. However, we discovered that Dr. Plante and/or PT since modified the article so that the latest cache version is NOT the same as the original article that we collectively responded to. Revising the article AFTER BIPOC protest without taking accountability is a form of racial gaslighting. With Roscoe's support, we are sharing the side-by-side comparisons here because you deserve to know the truth.
Plante's argument mirrors Samuel Cartwright's ill-founded drapetomania hypothesis (1851) that was purposed to justify slavery and to further punish Black slaves that pursued freedom. He dares to explain away BIPOCs' racial trauma responses by pathologizing without clinical bases. By casually (and erroneously) diagnosing racial trauma responses as "social comparison," "virtue signaling," "group think" and "projection," he dangerously blames BIPOC for experiencing disproportionate rates of mental distress while simultaneously grants White people permission to act in covertly and overtly racist, oppressive ways.
In efforts to protect "Karens," he fails to acknowledge the ways that BIPOC communities suffer from historical, intergenerational, and systemic racism. Plante's view communicates an "all lives matter'' stance that minimizes and silences BIPOC racial trauma and upholds white supremacy.
Dr. Plante's clear lack of cultural competency and reverence conflicts with his bid to become APA's next president. An individual holding harmful beliefs towards communities of Color cannot lead in protecting and honoring BIPOC patients and clients.
- Remove Dr. Plante from the APA presidential candidacy as his views clearly conflict with the Code of Ethics
- Include a formal question requesting each candidate to discuss their record of racial justice advocacy work, and to evaluate their responses as an integral part of the qualification process
- Form a BIPOC committee, or to intentionally lift up an equitable number of BIPOC representatives to actively evaluate candidates' capability to lead in advocating for racial justice and dismantling white supremacy in mental health
In addition, we ask the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) to reconsider his qualifications to hold the ABPP designation given his demonstrated lack of cultural competency and use of his power in a manner that creates further harm to marginalized communities.
- Detailed ways on how this article is harmful
- More ways that you can support BIPOC mental health
- Inclusive Therapists community's voices in response to the article
Community! After signing, please share this petition with your people far and wide. Thank you for amplifying. #RemovePlante
Photographer: Inti St. Clair (thank you for your generosity!)
[Image description] Color photo of professionals looking straight at the camera: Black man, Asian womxn, White man, Black womxn, Middle Eastern man. Overlay with white text: #RemovePlante