The racial fault lines of our country have been revealed in stark detail as our national news cycle is flooded with stories about the past. If you are just now learning about the massacre in Tulsa, the killing of Native American children in compulsory “residential schools” designed to destroy their culture, and the incarceration of Japanese Americans, you are not alone. The seeds of today’s inequalities were sown in past events like these. The time to unlearn the whitewashed history we believed was true is now.
If we close our eyes to our history, we cannot make the systemic changes needed to mend our country. Today’s challenges began centuries ago and have deepened and widened over time. To take the path to a more just future, we must not ignore the damage but see it through others’ eyes, bear witness to it, and uncover its origins. As historians share these truths, we will need psychologists to help us navigate the shame, guilt, disbelief, and resistance many of us feel.
Dolly Chugh, award-winning professor of social psychology and author of the acclaimed The Person You Mean to Be, gives us the psychological tools we need to grapple with the truth of our country. Through heartrending personal histories and practical advice, Chugh invites us to dismantle the systems built by our forbearers and work toward a more just future.