Who is Donald Moss? Psychoanalyst calls whiteness ‘malignant, parasitic-like condition’

The article in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association argues whiteness 'renders its hosts' appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse'


                            Who is Donald Moss? Psychoanalyst calls whiteness ‘malignant, parasitic-like condition’
Dr Donald Moss published an article titled 'On Having Whiteness' in May (The Center for Psychoanalytic Studies)

A recently published research article claims that "whiteness" is "a malignant, parasitic-like condition," for which "there is not yet a permanent cure". Donald Moss, a white psychoanalyst, published a paper in a respected academic journal deeming whiteness to be incurable.

The article titled 'On Having Whiteness' was published in May in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and argues that white people possess an "entitled dominion" that enables the "host" to wield power "without limit, force without restriction, violence without mercy," and increases one's desire to "terrorize." Its abstract is now available to read online. 

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Who is Dr Donald Moss? 

Dr Donald Moss teaches psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. According to the American Psychoanalytic Association, he has studied "clinical/ theoretical/ activist perspectives" in psychoanalysis since the 1980s. Moss has also written several articles for other academic journals.

The paper

"Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has - a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which 'white' people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one's body, in one's mind, and in one's world," the abstract for the article reads. It continues, "Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts' appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples."

"Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions."

Moss wrote that such interventions "can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness's infiltrated appetites" and called it a "chronic condition" for which "there is not yet a permanent cure". 

"The ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning ('never again') or as temptation ('great again'). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression," he wrote. 

A course on 'having whiteness'

Last February, Moss taught an 'On Having Whiteness' course, which according to reports, pretty much has the same message. Tickets of the course cost $40 for members of the general public to attend at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies. The 'learning objectives' for the course included teaching participants how to "explain the concept of internal racial identity" and "identify obstacles to clinicians working effectively with issues of race in the therapeutic relationship."

He also taught that same course in a presentation at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. In that course outline, Moss wrote that whiteness is "malignant because it spreads/metastasizes, targeting an ever-widening sphere of objects". "It is parasitic in that it is contagious, passed on by other infected people. Biologically 'white' people have a particular susceptibility. to 'Whiteness','" he wrote. "This susceptibility is grounded in pre-existing hierarchical representations of self and object - in any representation that organizes self and other in a vertical relation, powerful and powerless." He added, "For Whiteness, the most perceptually available category over which to establish hierarchical relations is 'color'. Race provides 'Whiteness' its easiest target."

Recent reports also point out that Moss addressed "racism, homophobia, and misogyny" in a journal article from 2001, titled 'On Hating in the First Person Plural: Thinking Psychoanalytically About Racism, Homophobia, and Misogyny'. 

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