Aruna Khilanani says 'shoot Whites' Yale talk was an 'exaggeration for comedy'

At her Yale lecture, Aruna Khilanani had said she 'had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any White person that got in my way'

                            Aruna Khilanani says 'shoot Whites' Yale talk was an 'exaggeration for comedy'
Dr Aruna Khilanani continues to defend her 'shoot Whites' Yale lecture (aruna_khilanani/Instagram)

New York-based psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani's tryst with public outrage continues as she has once again defended her infamous "shoot Whites" Yale lecture, claiming it was all hyperbole. Khilanani further addressed the language used by her in her April 6 lecture, saying that she used "masala (exaggeration) for punch and comedy."

Khilanani's April 6 lecture titled 'Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind' was aired as part of Yale School of Medicine's faculty-and-staff run forum on mental health. There, Khilanani told her audience that she “had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any White person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step.” She had further added that talking to White people was "useless" and dubbed the process of having to explain their own racism to them "exhausting". 


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The social media backlash, as one can imagine, has been intense. On one hand, Twitter is calling to have Khilanani's license revoked, while others are asking for her to be put in a mental hospital for the violent comments made. Khilanani, whose Manhattan private practice is being displayed as permanently closed on Google listings, also saw her lecture banned from the Ivy League institution's classes as the medical school teachers found “the tone and content antithetical to the values of the school”.

Khilanani, however, continues to maintain that her talk was entirely an exaggeration of rage-filled sentiments and the "shoot Whites" proclamation was merely a “metaphor to evoke emotion”. In an email she sent to The Washington Post, Khilanani further explained, “My style of language is different and expressive, with fluidity between conscious and unconscious, time, and uses Masala (exaggeration) for punch and comedy. It’s why we love Richard Pryor, telenovela forms, and rap. I believe it makes this conversation more relatable across generations.”

Dr Aruna Khilnani (Instagram/aruna_khilanani)

Khilanani, who has been a licensed psychiatrist practicing in the field for 16 years now, insisted that her statements weren't for "shock value". She claimed that it was instead to spark a deeper engagement about race. Her talk on having race-related conversations with White people was all about feelings and not about acting on it. "If I really believed talking to White people was futile, I wouldn’t devote my time to writing a series about race and healing our country — starting with the conscious mind of White people,” she said. “I am doing it because I care.”

Khilanani had previously issued a statement claiming her words from the lecture were being taken out of context to control the narrative. Her lecture went viral after conservative journalist Bari Weiss shared a clip of the recording on Substack on June 4. In the wake of Khilanani's video going viral, Trump administration adviser Sebastian Gorka tweeted that the psychiatrist was the “definition of a psycho”. Rod Dreher, senior editor for the American Conservative, called Khilanani an “anti-White racist psychiatrist” in a story, further tweeting that she was an “appalling example of woke totalitarian capture of elite US institutions".



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