What is the offensive, racially insensitive and inappropriate comment that was made during a CE session at INS by a presenter?

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There can be no nuance here, obviously. Especially when we have a language system with arbitrary rules about usage!
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Song has such a perfect way of traipsing out reality. Not saying that either of these are your positions. But I think they've been under-represented in academia for a long time.

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Song has such a perfect way of traipsing out reality. Not saying that either of these are your positions. But I think they've been under-represented in academia for a long time.

Well, definitely not the Amen part, I'm a dirty atheist heathen. ;)
 
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Psychologists are fallible sure. Assuming there is no other issue at play here that caused that person to lose control over things coming out of their mouth, an N-word didn't spawn out of fatigue, jetlag, intoxication, or momentary lapse of judgement. It is a racism word that comes from having racist beliefs.

As far as the patient that originally stated the word, I agree. Except, my understanding of the context here is that the presenter stated that someone said the word to him during testing. I don't think that reflects the psychologist's personal attitudes. Do you? The mistake here was in how he relayed the information.
 
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I think the underlying idea I've encountered is that if a word slips out, it's a word used in at least occasional rotation. I don't know whether that is correct or not, but I think it's why there is a strong reaction even if the word comes out accidentally.
 
The best advice I've been given in that regard..."Stop doing (or saying) things that make you feel weak."
 
Let's look at the bolded part: It obviously offends others and we don't need that in our field

The "It" clearly references the specific incident at hand (i.e., the us of the n- word in a professional forum where said use was not necessary). Are you really saying that such behavior is important for the development of our field? I'm guessing not. Now, if the bolded part read "Doing anything potentially offensive to others should not be part of our field" I'd consider some debate on that point. However, the tactic of being offensive in order to educate and challenge others (in our field) to be better professionally is an EXTREMELY difficult one to employ effectively and is probably best avoided by 99+ percent of us. for every person who can pull it off, there's probably thousands that can't.

By behavior important to the development of the field, do you mean discussion of racist patients and their comments? As someone who has had racist comments hurled at me by patients over the years, I do think it is an important discussion to have for the development of our field. My concern is that this causes such discussion to happen less often. At the end of the day, white colleagues make up the majority of the field and related occupations and are going to have to be part of discussions on how to manage such issues. From everything I have heard so far, this incident and the response has done little to improve how we facilitate such conversations in public forums in the future.
 
Fan_of_Meehl is on a personal journey in this thread, and I'm here for it.
 
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I need to back off.
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I think the underlying idea I've encountered is that if a word slips out, it's a word used in at least occasional rotation. I don't know whether that is correct or not, but I think it's why there is a strong reaction even if the word comes out accidentally.

Absolutely and I understand the sentiment. However, in this case it was not about use in casual conversation. This was relaying what a racist patient said in the midst of an assessment. Now, i was not there and a lot can be conveyed in non-verbal cues (was there a snicker? Was the psychologist trying to be provocative? Or was he simply relaying what the patient said and did not preface the use appropriately? Was the psychologist a U.S. citizen/resident?). However, there is the anger about hearing the word generally and the anger about someone relaying the information poorly in the context of the CE. I think it is important to separate the two if we are going to continue having difficult conversations in professional contexts.

I more interested in guidance about how to have better conversations in the future than mass apologies and performative hair shirts and scarlet letters.
 
Ora
Absolutely and I understand the sentiment. However, in this case it was not about use in casual conversation. This was relaying what a racist patient said in the midst of an assessment. Now, i was not there and a lot can be conveyed in non-verbal cues (was there a snicker? Was the psychologist trying to be provocative? Or was he simply relaying what the patient said and did not preface the use appropriately? Was the psychologist a U.S. citizen/resident?). However, there is the anger about hearing the word generally and the anger about someone relaying the information poorly in the context of the CE. I think it is important to separate the two if we are going to continue having difficult conversations in professional contexts.

I more interested in guidance about how to have better conversations in the future than mass apologies and performative hair shirts and scarlet letters.
You need to have a beer with me. People will never necessarily honor your intent.
 
And I am always a presumptuous dingus (dammit).
 
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I am, fella...a dark pint. I have always respected you. And your perspective on the world is entirely yours. Though I am an dingus, remember that :)
 
Absolutely and I understand the sentiment. However, in this case it was not about use in casual conversation. This was relaying what a racist patient said in the midst of an assessment. Now, i was not there and a lot can be conveyed in non-verbal cues (was there a snicker? Was the psychologist trying to be provocative? Or was he simply relaying what the patient said and did not preface the use appropriately? Was the psychologist a U.S. citizen/resident?). However, there is the anger about hearing the word generally and the anger about someone relaying the information poorly in the context of the CE. I think it is important to separate the two if we are going to continue having difficult conversations in professional contexts.

I more interested in guidance about how to have better conversations in the future than mass apologies and performative hair shirts and scarlet letters.
I can see that. I do think it's worse because it's not casual conversation among known colleagues. I think the expectation of decorum is why this is a bigger deal. I can use more colorful language among peers. I am going to get my hand slapped if I use that same language in our ELT meeting regardless of how good a person I am otherwise. We can argue about the merits of that, but I don't think anyone would be surprised if I got sent an extra TMS training about how to conduct myself in a meeting.
 
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I can see that. I do think it's worse because it's not casual conversation among known colleagues. I think the expectation of decorum is why this is a bigger deal. I can use more colorful language among peers. I am going to get my hand slapped if I use that same language in our ELT meeting regardless of how good a person I am otherwise. We can argue about the merits of that, but I don't think anyone would be surprised if I got sent an extra TMS training about how to conduct myself in a meeting.

Yeah, but will the TMS training change your attitude or just make you less interested in sharing your point of view to avoid getting in trouble? I'm tired of only having the important conversations in the closet.

EDIT: And if we stop having these conversations, who do we think is most likely to encounter such a situation in the future and need the guidance?
 
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Yeah, but will the TMS training change your attitude or just make you less interested in sharing your point of view to avoid getting in trouble? I'm tired of only having the important conversations in the closet.
The goal of the TMS training isn't trying to solve societal ills or make me a better person. It's training me understand the expectations in the spaces I'm in. Deep, emotional changes usually happen because I want to work on something or there is a valuable other party who is pushing for the change. That stuff rarely happens at work (unless it's a passion of mine). It happens among friends, family, and close colleagues. The hammer came down for the sake of decorum, not to be transformative.
 
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The goal of the TMS training isn't trying to solve societal ills or make me a better person. It's training me understand the expectations in the spaces I'm in. Deep, emotional changes usually happen because I want to work on something or there is a valuable other party who is pushing for the change. That stuff rarely happens at work (unless it's a passion of mine). It happens among friends, family, and close colleagues. The hammer came down for the sake of decorum, not to be transformative.

I agree with you. I am less interested in the decorum and more interested in the transformative. It is similar to the sexual harassment TMS training we had. "You cannot tell Jane she looks good in that sweater". "You can tell Jane it is a sunny day outside". The only thing anyone learned is that it is okay to talk about the weather. We need to do better than that if you are truly going to improve the environment for women at the VA. You can't just teach the boneheads that it is only okay to talk about the weather. If you don't move the conversation forward, in what direction are you taking it? There needs to be better leadership on this.
 
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It's an old school commie technique to make sure everybody tows the line. I sound insane when I say this, but most of the modern woke discourse is rooted in dirty commie philosophy and language games and I think it's making people seriously uncool and a vibe killer. It's like a mind virus designed to destroy our beautiful republic/western civil discourse.

Struggle session - Wikipedia

Basically, it's when you tar and feather people for not thinking/behaving like you want them too.

Another poster flippantly threw these terms out like candy, unaware that they are playing a dirty commie/postmoderist game (being a puppet on a string as Mr. Tippin sang):




BTW: I can think of about a thousand reasons why someone might not "call someone out" in a professional setting that make sense other than them being basically KKK. I think the person using these terms has gotten ideologically captured, and much like depressed kids view things through their negative glasses, is viewing things only through woke lens. Jesus, the labeling alone is worry some.


Are you reducing the argument to ‘commie woke’ ideologies vs ‘civil/western discourse’ ?
 
I agree with you. I am less interested in the decorum and more interested in the transformative. It is similar to the sexual harassment TMS training we had. "You cannot tell Jane she looks good in that sweater". "You can tell Jane it is a sunny day outside". The only thing anyone learned is that it is okay to talk about the weather. We need to do better than that if you are truly going to improve the environment for women at the VA. You can't just teach the boneheads that it is only okay to talk about the weather. If you don't move the conversation forward, in what direction are you taking it? There needs to be better leadership on this.
You are a good man and you are troubled by the contradiction. There are other good men who do not exist. We are also (in the context of our non-existence) untroubled by the non-contradiction.
 
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You are a good man and you are troubled by the contradiction. There are other good men who do not exist. We are also (in the context of our non-existence) untroubled by the non-contradiction.
LOL, I am so honored that that statement appeared to make sense, smalltown.
 
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I more interested in guidance about how to have better conversations in the future than mass apologies and performative hair shirts and scarlet letters.
In this case, this is pretty easy- don't say the n-word. We can have constructive conversations on the topics of racism, sexism, etc. without actually using the terms that the current social norms would indicate should not be used.
 
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You are a good man and you are troubled by the contradiction. There are other good men who do not exist. We are also (in the context of our non-existence) untroubled by the non-contradiction.

I'm less concerned about the outliers that blatantly act poorly than the impact on the community as a whole. I grew up in a majority white neighborhood. There were a few racist kids that would make remarks and an even smaller group would escalate to physical violence regularly. There were many more that simply wouldn't associate with you and the realtors would steer you away from buying a house in the area if you were not upper middle class and white. It is a much more diverse place now and I see faces like mine everywhere. It got there not by punishing few outwardly bad actors, but by changing the attitudes of of the greater community that was more open to it. The bad actors get in line when they don't want to be the outliers. Sometimes outrage at small scale events hurts progress overall.
 
Can we examine this from an ethics class perspective? I want to look at from a professional standpoint and as someone who is on the board of psych examiners:

Starting with: if you were on your board - and the charter of most boards is to protect the public - what would you do?

Several boards have issued the following guidelines for complaint resolution (I think VA/AZ/TX/etc states have used a similar model to this too, based on the same tool):
  • Dismiss the complaint at complaint screening committee/forward to full board with eventual dismissal
  • The policy statement shows: Errors or Violations of Law and/or Community Standards of Care
    • Level one: Errors are not of sufficient seriousness to merit direct action against the licensee
      • Resolution:
        • File letter of concern
        • Issue Order for Continuing Education
    • Level two: Violations of law or community standard of care have occurred that do not warrant revocation or suspension of a license.
      • Examples:
        • ethical violations
        • violation of any federal or state law/rules relating to the practice of psychology
        • engaging in activities that are unprofessional by current standards of practice
        • records violations; unintentional violation of confidentiality
        • unintentional misrepresentation or deception
        • failing to protect a client
        • failing to inform or protect a client’s intended victim.
      • Resolution:
        • File letter of concern
        • Issue Order for Continuing Education
        • Censure
        • Civil penalty
        • Probation
        • Order for rehabilitation
        • Probation with temporary suspension
        • Restriction or limitation on practice
    • Level three: Acts of unprofessional conduct; mentally or physically unable to safely engage in practice; and/or psychologically incompetent. This level may include egregious acts of unprofessional conduct.
      • Examples:
        • physical abuse
        • sexual intimacies
        • ethical violations; commission of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
        • intentional and/or willful fraud
        • misrepresentation, or deception
        • intentional and/or willful violation of confidentiality
        • failing to protect a client and harm occurs
        • failing to inform or protect a client’s intended victim and harm occurs
        • violating a formal Board order, consent agreement, or term of probation; gross negligence
        • practicing while impaired or incapacitated
        • failing to inform or protect a client’s intended victim.
      • Resolution:

        • Censure
        • Civil penalty
        • Probation
        • Order for rehabilitation
        • Probation with temporary suspension
        • Restriction or limitation on practice
        • Summary Suspension
        • Revoke or suspend license
I tend to use the following model when thinking about this from an ethics class:
  • Koocher and Keith-Spiegel (2008, pp. 21–25).
  • 1. Describe the parameters of the situation.
    • Can we even agree with this on this forum? The main seems to be:
      • A dude accidently through a hard -er n-word when quoting a client during a presentation/discussion
      • Hard -er n-word accidental or was he being a devious bastard?
  • 2. Define the potential ethical-legal issues involved.
    • 2.04?
    • 3.01?
    • 3.04?
    • 4.05?
  • 3. Consult ethical and legal guidelines and district policies that might apply to the resolution of each issue (N. D. Hansen & Goldberg, 1999). Consider the broad ethical principles as well as specific mandates involved (N. D. Hansen & Goldberg, 1999; Kitchener, 1986).
  • 4. Evaluate the rights, responsibilities, and welfare of all affected parties (e.g., student, teachers, classmates, other school staff, parents, siblings). N. D. Hansen and Goldberg (1999) encouraged consideration of the cultural characteristics of affected parties that may be salient to the decision (also Cottone, 2012).
  • 5. Generate a list of alternative decisions possible for each issue.
  • 6. Enumerate the consequences of making each decision. Evaluate the short-term, ongoing, and long-term consequences of each possible decision, considering the possible psychological, social, and economic costs to affected parties (Tymchuk, 1986). Eberlein (1987, p. 353) advised consideration of how each possible course of action would “affect the dignity of and the responsible caring for all of the people involved.” Consultation with colleagues may be helpful.
  • 7. Consider any evidence that the various consequences or benefits resulting from each decision will actually occur (i.e., a risk-benefit analysis).
  • 8. Make the decision. Consistent with codes of ethics (APA, NASP), the school psychologist accepts responsibility for the decision made and monitors the consequences of the course of action chosen
 
In this case, this is pretty easy- don't say the n-word. We can have constructive conversations on the topics of racism, sexism, etc. without actually using the terms that the current social norms would indicate should not be used.

Well, yeah in this instance. I had a Vietnam veteran that frequently uses the "g-word" when speaking about Asians and Asian Americans. While the N word is ubiquitous in our lexicon, other racial epithets are not. How do we go about sharing this information in a professional manner? That's the letter I want.
 
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There can be no nuance here, obviously. Especially when we have a language system with arbitrary rules about usage!
And those rules, being arbitrary, can change pretty quickly. It's probably best to make the least dangerous assumption and not use terms that have historically been seen as verboten.

That said, are you implying that the rule stating that the use of the actual n-word by a white male in the context of a professional presentation when using a less problematic substitute (e.g., "n-word")- even when directly quoting someone else- is not generally accepted (and has been generally accepted for quite some time) is not well established at this point? I don't think (yes- my opinion) that this case is nuanced, nor do I think that rule is arbitrary. At this point in time, in our field, in the context of a professional presentation, It's a basic social skill to not say that word, based on the historically pejorative, damaging, and intentioning hurtful use of that word.
 
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I agree with you. I am less interested in the decorum and more interested in the transformative. It is similar to the sexual harassment TMS training we had. "You cannot tell Jane she looks good in that sweater". "You can tell Jane it is a sunny day outside". The only thing anyone learned is that it is okay to talk about the weather. We need to do better than that if you are truly going to improve the environment for women at the VA. You can't just teach the boneheads that it is only okay to talk about the weather. If you don't move the conversation forward, in what direction are you taking it? There needs to be better leadership on this.
I think those are different things that need to be addressed. The immediate goal of the venue is often to reinforce what is not okay for attendees. For the individual who made the transgression, the conference is likely not a great place for the transformative work to happen, at least not without some of guidance. I think this also suggests this person needs to transform in some way. If this was really just a boneheaded mistake, then a boring TMS-style training to lay out basic (REALLY basic) expectations might be a better fit than something that would lead to something deeper happening. These are helpful things for me to think about as I start doing trainings myself.

It's a good discussion. When I hear about people making drastic changes to their behavior or understandings, it seems to come from a lot of varied experiences and often not a singular event. I'm hopeful we'll be able to better nail down what kinds of things make more impactful changes rather than screaming matches.

This discussion has me walking with with a few thoughts. One thing that sticks out is how critical facilitators can be for making conversations go smoothly, even when they're challenging. It also doesn't take a ton of training to be a decent facilitator to steer things back to being productive. I wonder if assigning this role more often in these spaces might be helpful and in balancing expectations with potentially transformative experiences. That way expectations can be laid out in the moment and transgressions can be more easily navigated in the moment rather when people have time to stew for days.
 
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And those rules, being arbitrary, can change pretty quickly. It's probably best to make the least dangerous assumption and not use terms that have historically been seen as verboten.

That said, are you implying that the rule stating that the use of the actual n-word by a white male in the context of a professional presentation when using a less problematic substitute (e.g., "n-word")- even when directly quoting someone else- is not generally accepted (and has been generally accepted for quite some time) is not well established at this point? I don't think (yes- my opinion) that this case is nuanced, nor do I think that rule is arbitrary. At this point in time, in our field, in the context of a professional presentation, It's a basic social skill to not say that word, based on the historically pejorative, damaging, and intentioning hurtful use of that word.

We agree that it should not have been used in this context. We would disagree about the arbitrary rules of words.
 
Aren't we also bound to informally address this before going to board? If you were doing this with a colleague how?
 
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Well, yeah in this instance. I had a Vietnam veteran that frequently uses the "g-word" when speaking about Asians and Asian Americans. While the N word is ubiquitous in our lexicon, other racial epithets are not. How do we go about sharing this information in a professional manner? That's the letter I want.
First of all, not using such language should be in the social repertoire of psychology trainees well before they get to our institutions. Where it is not, we need to educated them. As to repercussions of using such language "after the academy" the case law seems pretty clear, as evidenced by the current situation that we are discussing. (and I feel the need to AGAIN point out that I am specifically talking about using that specific word in a context where it is not necessary to do so, with the assumption that pretty much all of us agree that the panelist in question could've used a less or no-problematic substitute without negatively impacting his presentation).
 
First of all, not using such language should be in the social repertoire of psychology trainees well before they get to our institutions. Where it is not, we need to educated them. As to repercussions of using such language "after the academy" the case law seems pretty clear, as evidenced by the current situation that we are discussing. (and I feel the need to AGAIN point out that I am specifically talking about using that specific word in a context where it is not necessary to do so, with the assumption that pretty much all of us agree that the panelist in question could've used a less or no-problematic substitute without negatively impacting his presentation).

I don't think anyone is saying the person should not apologize or that they need to work on their professional presentation skills. That does not answer the question I had, what is the best way to address this issue when the word used by a patient is less ubiquitous? Or do we have to wait for someone to use those specific words in a professional context to address the issue?
 
Wikipedia has a list of ethnic slurs broken up by letter, so you can say things like g-word and a curious person can go look it up if they're curious. I haven't had an occasion where I've needed a person to know the specific slur. If I say it's a slur for x group, that has always been sufficient. Half the time, they use the wrong slur anyway.
 
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This is actually a REALLY well-composed song

 
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If you're into beauty. Guess that's why it was popular.
 
Aren't we also bound to informally address this before going to board? If you were doing this with a colleague how?
D
I don't think anyone is saying the person should not apologize or that they need to work on their professional presentation skills. That does not answer the question I had, what is the best way to address this issue when the word used by a patient is less ubiquitous? Or do we have to wait for someone to use those specific words in a professional context to address the issue?
The safest option would be to use a substitute (e.g., "the n-word"; "a potentially derogatory slang word for east asian peoples"). Basically adopt a default position of extreme caution when using any term to refer to people outside of one's own ingroup. You don't even have to do so out of concern for offending others (though IMHO you should), but because it is the safest course for you and your career. I other words, don't motivate yourself primarily with "should" statements, but rather with probabilistic "if-then" statements (damn I sound like such cognitive psych guy some times!). It's relatively easy and usually gets the point across without the "dangers' of using the actual word. If you really think you need the specificity of a certain word related to race, culture, sexuality, gender, disability, etc., then I would consult with individual of that group as to what how best to proceed in the specific context in which I would want to use that word (and then, I still probably wouldn't use it, just as an act of self-preservation). In the context of presenting at a professional conference, I would be mindful of the EXTREMELY LOW base-rate occurences of the word being used with negative ramifications thereof. In this instance, it totally detracted from the content of the presentation, had negative ramifications for the panelist and co-presenters, and may lead to- deservedly or not- INS being labeled an unwelcoming or racist organization.
 
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Wikipedia has a list of ethnic slurs broken up by letter, so you can say things like g-word and a curious person can go look it up if they're curious. I haven't had an occasion where I've needed a person to know the specific slur. If I say it's a slur for x group, that has always been sufficient. Half the time, they use the wrong slur anyway.

Thank god for Wikipedia. Hopefully no one deletes that page or we won't be able to communicate in professional meetings anymore.
 
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I guess you have to be a songwriter to appreciate the absence of lyrics in human suffering. We still have popcorn and Tarantino.
 
The safest option would be to use a substitute (e.g., "the n-word"; "a potentially derogatory slang word for east asian peoples"). Basically adopt a default position of extreme caution when using any term to refer to people outside of one's own ingroup. You don't even have to do so out of concern for offending others (though IMHO you should), but because it is the safest course for you and your career. I other words, don't motivate yourself primarily with "should" statements, but rather with probabilistic "if-then" statements (damn I sound like such cognitive psych guy some times!). It's relatively easy and usually gets the point across without the "dangers' of using the actual word. If you really think you need the specificity of a certain word related to race, culture, sexuality, gender, disability, etc., then I would consult with individual of that group as to what how best to proceed in the specific context in which I would want to use that word (and then, I still probably wouldn't use it, just as an act of self-preservation). In the context of presenting at a professional conference, I would be mindful of the EXTREMELY LOW base-rate occurences of the word being used with negative ramifications thereof. In this instance, it totally detracted from the content of the presentation, had negative ramifications for the panelist and co-presenters, and may lead to- deservedly or not- INS being labeled an unwelcoming or racist organization.

Congrats, in about 5 min you managed to show better judgement than the presenter in question and provide more professional guidance than INS in navigating racial and cultural issues in professional meetings. Want a job facilitating CE presentations?
 
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Thank god for Wikipedia. Hopefully no one deletes that page or we won't be able to communicate in professional meetings anymore.
Or you can just prep the folks beforehand. Some people might care. I imagine most won't. "Hey, because it's important to me to give this all the context, I will be referencing a racial slur related to x..."
 
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Or you can just prep the folks beforehand. Some people might care. I imagine most won't. "Hey, because it's important to me to give this all the context, I will be referencing a racial slur related to x..."

Absolutely, that is another route the presenter here could have taken as well in conveying the information. Many ways to do this professionally, it sounds like this presenter did not. Though, I was not there so I can't be sure.
 
If you had to pick a panel to facilitate, what would it be?

My choice would be the inclusion of PGD in the DSM/ICD.
 
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the categorical (protocol-for-syndrome) approach to therapy is outdated
check out the process-based therapy of Stephen C. Hayes and David Barlow
 
Congrats, in about 5 min you managed to show better judgement than the presenter in question and provide more professional guidance than INS in navigating racial and cultural issues in professional meetings. Want a job facilitating CE presentations?
I don't know if you are being sarcastic or not, but I will talk about any topic at any time, and usually all it takes is a passable free meal and a Manhattan or two (after the talk, not before!).

I learned not to use that word in public at a relatively young age. Moralistically, through parents, teachers, etc. Practically, by almost getting my ass kicked in a public bathroom at the skating rink of my local Boys' Club when I was in middle school. It was free skate, and my friend at the time and I were on the ice against the fence (no plexiglass board at the time). Two african american kids that I knew from school were walking by the rink when they abruptly stopped and one said something along the lines of "did you f'in hear that?" a few minutes later my friend and I were in the bathroom and the two kids walk in and grab us and jack my friend up against the wall, accusing him of using the n-word. He denied it, and I didn't hear it said, so I denied it too. In part because I knew the kids and had nothing but positive interactions with them, we were spared a beating. It was the first time I saw in person the anger that word could cause, and combining that with a fear of being the recipient of that anger, the power of that word hit home (at the time, I was more afraid than anything, but I distinctly remember thinking about the power of the word). It turns out that my friend grew up to be a skinhead who would have no qualms using that word to instigate, and he had some of those tendencies at the time, unbeknownst to me and probably did say it after all.
 
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I don't know if you are being sarcastic or not, but I will talk about any topic at any time, and usually all it takes is a passable free meal and a Manhattan or two (after the talk, not before!).

I learned not to use that word in public at a relatively young age. Moralistically, through parents, teachers, etc. Practically, by almost getting my ass kicked in a public bathroom at the skating rink of my local Boys' Club when I was in middle school. It was free skate, and my friend at the time and I were on the ice against the fence (no plexiglass board at the time). Two african american kids that I knew from school were walking by the rink when they abruptly stopped and one said something along the lines of "did you f'in hear that?" a few minutes later my friend and I were in the bathroom and the two kids walk in and grab us and jack my friend up against the wall, accusing him of using the n-word. He denied it, and I didn't hear it said, so I denied it too. In part because I knew the kids and had nothing but positive interactions with them, we were spared a beating. It was the first time I saw in person the anger that word could cause, and combining that with a fear of being the recipient of that anger, the power of that word hit home (at the time, I was more afraid than anything, but I distinctly remember thinking about the power of the word). It turns out that my friend grew up to be a skinhead who would have no qualms using that word to instigate, and he had some of those tendencies at the time, unbeknownst to me and probably did say it after all.

No sarcasm. That someone did something dumb in a presentation is the least interesting part of this situation to me. That leadership in these organizations have not moved past the song and dance of simple apologies and the general political correctness to address the larger issues at hand bothers me more. As @Shiori mentioned, there are ways to preface the word so as not to bring about consequences while relaying the information. I would rather have the conversation about how to do this better than just a PC apology. Chances are, I will never meet this presenter and I have no idea about his motives. I am more interested in how the organization deals with difficult problems because I do attend conferences at times. The problem we have with not addressing the issue more than "don't do that" is we shy away from the difficult topics and these conferences become even more irrelevant than they normally are. The focus on the word gets away from the other factors that need to be addressed.
 
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There can be no nuance here, obviously. Especially when we have a language system with arbitrary rules about usage!
So your point is that 1) non-black people should be able to use the N-word, or 2) take the word away from Black people entirely, or 3) no one uses the word at all? You spoke vaguely, so I just want to understand exactly what you mean. Because I don’t understand where the arbitrary rules come in, in terms of usage of the N-word. I think the rules are pretty clear to anybody who has spent more than one week in the United States. One can’t call the rules “arbitrary” just because they or others can’t participate.
 
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Psychologists are fallible sure. Assuming there is no other issue at play here that caused that person to lose control over things coming out of their mouth, an N-word didn't spawn out of fatigue, jetlag, intoxication, or momentary lapse of judgement. It is a racism word that comes from having racist beliefs.
The fact that this is a point being argued amongst presumed professionals with at least masters degrees, but mostly doctorates, says a lot about the temperature of our field when it comes to such issues. I’m not trying to educate anyone, because everyone here has all the information they need. I guess I’m just simply stating my points, for the record.
 
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I don't know if you are being sarcastic or not, but I will talk about any topic at any time, and usually all it takes is a passable free meal and a Manhattan or two (after the talk, not before!).

I learned not to use that word in public at a relatively young age. Moralistically, through parents, teachers, etc. Practically, by almost getting my ass kicked in a public bathroom at the skating rink of my local Boys' Club when I was in middle school. It was free skate, and my friend at the time and I were on the ice against the fence (no plexiglass board at the time). Two african american kids that I knew from school were walking by the rink when they abruptly stopped and one said something along the lines of "did you f'in hear that?" a few minutes later my friend and I were in the bathroom and the two kids walk in and grab us and jack my friend up against the wall, accusing him of using the n-word. He denied it, and I didn't hear it said, so I denied it too. In part because I knew the kids and had nothing but positive interactions with them, we were spared a beating. It was the first time I saw in person the anger that word could cause, and combining that with a fear of being the recipient of that anger, the power of that word hit home (at the time, I was more afraid than anything, but I distinctly remember thinking about the power of the word). It turns out that my friend grew up to be a skinhead who would have no qualms using that word to instigate, and he had some of those tendencies at the time, unbeknownst to me and probably did say it after all.
Which is exactly why I don’t understand where the arbitrary rules come in? The rules have always been clear and anyone who insists otherwise is being willfully obtuse, or is just mad that they can’t participate in its usage. Why would anyone be upset about a cultural artifact of a group, a word of all things? Any elaborations would be appreciated, because all I have are theories.
 
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