Exclusive interview with "Dr. Donald E Grant"
Dr. Donald E Grant on his upcoming book White on White Crime: Old Lies in Contemporary Times, the ‘Karen’ phenomenon, and more
Donald Grant is a Clinical Psychologist, consultant, and author (A Moon for Us All). His upcoming work, White on White Crime: Old Lies in Contemporary Times unpacks the practices of white supremacy in an effort to help break the cycle of racism in the United States. In the following interview, Grant discusses the themes of dehumanization and desensitization in his book, the ‘Karen’ phenomenon, and the key message he hopes will stay with readers after reading White on White Crime.
Tell us about your background.
I am Dr. Donald E. Grant Jr, and I am trained as a Clinical Psychologist. Throughout my career I have successfully led non-profit and social service organizations in addition to working in the private, government, and educational sectors. Through my work and experiences, I have been able to gain insight into some of the most important aspects of the human experience. After completing high school in Buffalo, NY and earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hampton University, I moved to Maryland and served a Science Teacher in the Baltimore City School District. As an educator, I became aware of how systems influence outcomes in such significant ways, leading me to my doctoral studies and the beginnings of my training and consulting firm, Mindful Training Solutions.
What was the catalyst for writing this book?
As I began to observe the world around us devolve into a set of ideological talking points, I felt strongly that there was a need to discuss a new perspective. The 2021 Capitol raid confirmed that there was a discussion we – as Americans - were not having, one that would challenge the status quo in some really important ways. As we tended to the American racial reckoning, the continued human violations born from White Supremacist ideologies and the new accountability for acts of bigotry, I was inspired to make a new contribution to the existing body of research. I noticed that we often discuss how historical trauma affects oppressed communities – Black, Jewish, immigrant, Latinx – but we rarely discuss how the history of those in the oppressor roles are impacted. I wanted to discuss how these experiences informed and influenced their development, their lived experiences and other outcomes across the lifespan.
To truly break the cycles, philosophies and practices of Whiteness Superiority, we must be honest about its intergenerational etiologies and impacts. I want people to understand that experiences with internalized superiority are not random, they have a traceable source. I wanted to write a book that allowed us to explore solution-focused methods of dismantling supremacy; one that places accountability on the perpetrators of racism, not the survivors.
Tell us about White on White Crime: Old Lies in Contemporary Times.
In this book, readers will be taken on a journey they won’t soon forget. For generations, White identity development has occurred in a world where Whiteness is used as the decisive meter of normality. From birth, White children are trained - both explicitly and implicitly - to believe that their skin tones, hair textures, intellectual sensibilities, speech patterns and logic models are the gold standard to which all should aspire.
This book will build a bridge between the research of oppressed groups to describe outcomes for privileged groups. Through an exploration of White historical trauma, White privilege, the lies of the Southern Confederacy, national US policy and psychological race phenomenon, this book will unearth the hidden patterns aimed at maintaining the philosophical framework of White Supremacy.
Readers of all backgrounds will be compelled to look at our American truths through a new prism of thought. It will expose truths that have historically been minimized and debase falsehoods historically presented as truths. This book will generate a dialogue that leads to an authentic exploration of our nation, our history, and our future.
Can you discuss the themes of dehumanization and desensitization and how these reoccur in your book?
Dehumanization and desensitization are important constructs that ground the research of this text. Dehumanization includes the practices, policies and activities that break and humiliate subordinate groups through physical, emotional and spiritual terror. In this context, those purposeful dehumanizing activities included, but were not limited to: Rape, murder, extreme corporal punishment, torture, human gifting, and the obvious human trafficking. Dehumanization is optimized in community systems where oppressive adult perpetrators couple their dehumanizing behaviors with young witnesses in training. After being consistently exposed to the dehumanizing behaviors, the women and children of these communities will be desensitized and thus able to perpetuate similar atrocities as their children observe. One of the most important functions required in the maintenance of White Supremacy and all of its philosophies is the ability to dehumanize oppressed groups while simultaneously desensitizing privileged groups to maintain models of patriarchy and supremacy.
Can you discuss the 'Karen' phenomenon? How do you explore this concept in White on White Crime?
Although there are many colloquial jokes regarding the behavior of White women often referred to as “Karens”, it is a very serious problem for people of color. This phenomenon is not new, just newly documented. White women have long been trained to and tasked with keeping tabs on the movement of Black and Brown people. Carolyn Bryant, the woman whose false accusations led to the murder of Emmet Till, was one of the first infamous “Karens”. Her experience supported White Supremacy’s business continuity model as a major strategy in the violent suppression on Black people, men and boys in particular.
I explore the Karen ‘phenomenon’ from a historical context in White on White Crime. It is important to me, as a social scientist, to understand etiology and root causes. Many modern day Karens have grand mothers who were forced to witness extreme violence aimed at the Black body to crystallize several very clear messages. We move through the world thinking that the 12-year-old girl taken to a 1962 lynching is somehow 150 year old unaffected woman when in fact, she is the 72 year old grandma of one of many contemporary Karens. Until we begin to unpack the intergenerational nature of this trauma transmission, we will never move toward successfully dismantling this insidious domestic terrorism.
What is one key takeaway you hope readers remember after reading White on White Crime?
The most important key takeaway is our ability to be more honest about how our history is impacting our contemporary situations at all levels. Our existential, psychological, physical and social well-beings are hinged upon this moment and the decisions we make during this racial reckoning.
What future projects are you working on?
Through my training and consulting firm -Mindful Training Solutions - I have the pleasure of serving in major cultural consultant roles on two major feature films currently in production. As far as my own enterprise goes, I am currently socializing a documentary on Hip Hop and Mental Health along with pitching a few shows and films to networks. I also continue to work as a diversity consultant for several fortune 500 companies.
To learn more about Donald Grant’s written work, please visit: www.AMoonForUsAll.com.