Aruna Khilanani says 'shoot whites' Yale talk was taken out of context to 'control the narrative'

Khilanani drew flak for saying in a lecture 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 taken out of context to 'control the narrative'
Dr Aruna Khilanani with an insert of the Yale Department of Psychiatry logo (Twitter/ aruna_khilanani/Instagram)

Psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani managed to earn outrage from conventional as well as social media in the wake of her Yale Univesity's School of Medicine guest lecture, where she claimed she had fantasies of shooting White people. This prompted the university to later restrict online access to Khilanani's lecture that was laden with expletives as officials said it was "antithetical to the values of the school."

Khilanani, who has a private practice in New York and is not affiliated with Yale, addressed the issue in an email to the New York Times, where she claimed her words were taken out of context to "control the narrative".

Khilanani's lecture went viral after former writer and editor for the opinion department of the New York Times, Barry Weiss, posted a recording of the talk, which was given on April 6, on Substack on June 4, and captioned it: “There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil."

In the aftermath of the incident, the publication reports that on Saturday, June 5, the forensic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, said in a mail that her lecture “used provocation as a tool for real engagement.”

Khilanani further explained, "Too much of the discourse on race is a dry, bland regurgitation of new vocabulary words with no work in the unconscious. And, if you want to hit the unconscious, you will have to feel real negative feelings. My speaking metaphorically about my own anger was a method for people to reflect on negative feelings. To normalize negative feelings. Because if you don’t, it will turn into a violent action.”

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Khilanani's lecture titled 'The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind' was presented by the School of Medicine’s Child Study Center as part of a faculty and affiliated-staff weekly forum called Grand Rounds that focuses on mental health.

The April 6 talk saw the New York-based Khilanani described a “psychological dynamic that is on PTSD repeat,” where people of colour explain racism, patiently, to White people who deny their attacks. She further added that when people of colour become angry, White people use that outrage as “confirmation that we’re crazy or have emotional problems."

In her talk, Khilanani recalls a White therapist calling her anger on racism "psychotic", adding that she had spent “years unpacking her racism to her,” despite the therapist getting paid for these sessions. "This is the cost of talking to White people at all — the cost of your own life, as they suck you dry,” Khilanani says about that, then further revealing that this prompted her to take "some actions" five years ago.

Dr Aruna Khilnani. (Instagram/aruna_khilanani)

'Fantasies of unloading a revolver'

“I systematically white-ghosted most of my White friends, and I got rid of the couple white BIPOCs (Black and Indigenous people and people of color) that snuck in my crew, too,” Khilanani says before making bombshell proclamations by telling her audience: "I 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, like I did the world a favor."

Khilanani, who's of Indian descent, also called having to explain racism to White people a “waste of our breath.” She said, "We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero to accept responsibility. It ain’t going to happen. They have five holes in their brain.”

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