Obama as Wounded Healer

Obama as Wounded Healer

Psychology Today
Ideals in Question: Exploring values in psychotherapeutic culture

Stephen Salter, Psy.D.

Validating the context of racial trauma

On July 19th, Barack Obama honored the life of Trayvon Martin by giving voice to the history of racial trauma in the African American community.  “It could have been me,” Obama states in reference to Trayvon.  The remark reminds me of the old proverb, “There but for the grace of God go I.”  Obama’s kinship with Trayvon relates of course to their identities as African Americans.

He delivered a 17 minute off the cuff speech with unprecedented candor, provoking powerful reactions that diverged along racial, political, and personal lines.

For Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin’s death was a trauma.  It set off a chain of recollections that were outside of the flow of day to day experience, revealing additional dimension of his character.  His recollections pointed toward his personal past, his identity as a black man, and his connectedness to the history of African American trauma…

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