As part of the on-going 40th anniversary celebration of the marriage and family therapy program area, Dr. Marlene Watson, a program alumna, will present, “Facing a Shadow: The Myth of White Superiority and Other Inferiority,” on Monday, March 2 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm in Fralin Hall Auditorium.  All are welcome to attend.

In her talk, Dr. Marlene Watson will address the prevailing myth of white superiority and other inferiority and the ways in which it structures perception, both consciously and unconsciously. Because of our democratic ideals of justice, fairness, and equality, the myth of white superiority and other inferiority lives mostly in our unconscious minds, forming a shadow. A shadow’s nature is to hide, thus denial is entrenched in race relations. Not being part of our conscious self-image, a shadow can appear abruptly as a racial microaggression or worse, becoming a barrier to race relations. A shadow must be faced. The myth of white superiority and other inferiority must be consciously named, accepted, and challenged to cultivate a deeper self-knowledge and authenticity in race relations.

Dr. Marlene Watson is the former Chair of the Couple and Family Therapy Department and current Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  She is a licensed couple and family therapist in private practice and the author of the book, Facing the Black Shadow.  Dr. Watson is President of Family Process Institute’s (FPI) Board of Directors and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, and the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships.  She is the former Chair of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and the first ever couple and family therapist to receive the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.  As part of her fellowship, she served as a senior health advisor to United States Senator John D. Rockefeller IV.  She is a former columnist for Heart & Soul magazine and the recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy’s (AFTA) 2009 Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice Award.

Dr. Watson’s presentation is made possible by the generous support of the Family Therapy Center of Virginia Tech, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Diversity Committee, the Women’s Center, the Department of Human Development and Family Science, the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, the Virginia Tech Graduate School, the Department of Sociology, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, the Race and Social Policy Center, and the Alliance for the Study of Suicide Prevention and Intervention through Relationship Enrichment.