New Voices: The Mere Existence of “et al.”

By Shari Appollon

I write this piece, perched inside my spacious Brooklyn home office. My wife and I physically and financially unscathed, on a personal level, by COVID19. Through ‘et al’ I am humbled. From my bird top view, I check off boxes of privilege and consider how to make meaning out of what feels like a blessing, as 2021 is welcomed with open arms. Change is the only thing that is constant through ‘et al’. If I can claim my privilege as a first generation Haitian-American cis able-bodied lesbian born into a working-class family then I would imagine that the gaze from you to me will have the opportunity to divert to a mirror, despite the wonder of ‘et al’.

The mere existence of this newsletter is a form of privilege. The reader of this newsletter has a form of privilege. Psychoanalysts that are curious, energetic, and knowledgeable about social justice, the active activists, are not my desired audience as I recognize that I am preaching to the choir. As we stretch our legs and arms out and breathe deep the changing of the guard at the White House, I wonder aloud as a psychoanalytic candidate “who shall we evangelize” as professionals? The other in me is hard enough to get in touch with, I question how to evoke ‘et al’. I am limited by the four walls of my consulting room, and yet that is where I experience and bear witness to so much emotional and mental expansion, in ‘et al’. Grapple with yourselves in your offices. Create competitive scholarships for BIPOC individuals at your institutes that are not solely financially needs based. Pass the platform to your POC colleagues to teach future generations of psychoanalysts. Respect a BIPOC clinicians desire to not be involved. Be in dialogue with ‘et al’!

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