Confronting Racism: Integrating Mental Health Research into Legal Strategies and Reforms, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Confronting Racism

Integrating Mental Health Research into Legal Strategies and Reforms, 1st Edition

By Robert T Carter, Thomas D Scheuermann


280 pages

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This book proposes a comprehensive approach to confronting racism through a foundational framework as well as practical strategies to correct and reverse the course of the past and catalyze the stalled efforts of the present. It will do so by focusing on those specific aspects of law and legal theory that intersect with psychological research and practice.

In Part I, the historical and current underpinnings of racial injustice and the obstacles to combating racism are introduced. Part II examines the documented psychological and emotional effects of racism, including race-based traumatic stress. In Part III, the authors analyze the application of forensic mental health assessment in addressing race-related experiences and present a legal and policy framework for reforming institutional and organizational policies. Finally, in part IV the authors advocate for a close, collaborative approach among legal and mental health professionals and their clients to seek redress for racial discrimination.

Confronting Racism provides a framework for legal, mental health, and other related social science professionals and leaders to acknowledge and act on the harmful aspects of our societal systems.


“Confronting Racism has so much to offer. It presents a sweeping review of the evolution and entrenchment of racism in this country, while critiquing its treatment in mental health and legal fields. It offers cutting edge research on the psychological and emotional harm it causes, including an invaluable assessment instrument. Finally, for the mental health expert/lawyer/client teams it provides an innovative blueprint for vigorous pursuit of racial justice. I strongly recommend this excellent resource.”

Angelo Gomez, JD, retired Special Assistant to the President for Community Diversity Relations, former Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion, Oregon State University

“Carter and Scheuermann offer a long-awaited book that forces the reader to engage systems thinking as the new norm. This thoroughly researched book is a pivotal pathway to crucial conversations about race – most important is how society will confront race and justice in the 21st Century".

--Paul James, Assistant Vice President, Duke University

Carter and Scheuermann have produced a courageous and groundbreaking work by capturing the intersection of two profoundly significant issues, mental health and racial justice. In a scholarly and accessible style, the authors provide strong evidence and solid grounding for seeking legal redress for race—based trauma. This is essential reading for those who are committed to contributing to healing the deep social wounds created by racism.

Larry D. Roper, Professor of Language, Culture and Society , Oregon State University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 An Introduction to Racism and What It Means to Confront It

Part 1 What Do We Know About the History of Racial Injustice? Historical and Current Underpinnings

Chapter 2 Historical and Contemporary Obstacles to Combating Racism

Chapter 3 Why Legal Redress Has Been So Difficult

Chapter 4 Undoing Civil Rights: Two Steps Forward, One and a Half Steps Back

Part 2 Racism Hurts: Psychological and Emotional Costs

Chapter 5 The Harm of Encounters with Racial Discrimination

Chapter 6 Reconceptualizing Racism and Presenting a Theory of Race-Based Traumatic Stress

Chapter 7 Measuring Race-Based Traumatic Stress Injury as Legally Actionable Emotional Distress

Part 3 Where Do We Go from Here? A Model for Legal Redress

Chapter 8 Forensic Assessment of Race-Based Traumatic Stress

Chapter 9 A Legal Framework for Confronting Racism: Framework and Reforms for Law, Policy, Practice

Chapter 10 Applying the Framework: Confronting Racism and Advocating for Legal Reform

Part 4 Integrating Mental Health and the Law

Chapter 11 Mental Health Evaluations: Race-Related Mental Health Standards and Practices

Chapter 12 Integrating the Law and Mental Health: Collaborating to Confront Racism

About the Authors

Robert T. Carter, PhD, is professor of psychology and education at Teachers college, Columbia University. He is also a faculty member of Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Thomas D. Scheuermann, MA, JD, serves on the Graduate Faculty of Oregon State University, College of Liberal Arts, where he teaches courses in legal issues in higher education, and American higher education history.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Torts
PSYCHOLOGY / Clinical Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Forensic Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health