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Yale lecturer says she fantasized about shooting white people in the head

The Old Campus Courtyard of Yale University. ( Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons)
June 07, 2021

A psychiatrist in New York said during a Yale University public lecture that she cut out all of her white friends and “had fantasies” about shooting random white people in the head.

At the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center on April 6, Dr. Aruna Khilanani gave a lecture titled, “The Psychopathic Problem with the White Mind,” in which she claimed white people are “out of their minds” and “sound demented” when discussing race, according to journalist Katie Herzog last week.

“I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a [expletive] favor,” Dr. Khilanani revealed in audio of the lecture obtained by Herzog.

“This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry,” she said. “There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil. Around five years ago, I took some actions. I systematically white-ghosted most of my white friends. … I have less than 1% left. It was also a public service.”

The psychiatrist later defended her remarks, claiming to be getting “in touch” with “aggressive feelings.”

“Before I gave the talk, I said, ‘I want you to observe your thoughts and feelings as I talk,’” she said. “I said, ‘there’s a difference between a thought, a fantasy, and an action.’ Now, my reflection on my own rage was actually that I was feeling impotent. So that’s where I was going with that. And kind of normalizing feelings of hatred. This is stuff that exists and I need to dive deep within myself to reflect on how it is that I got here. So there is a reality here, like did I actually cut White people out of my life? Absolutely.”

“People getting defensive, needing to argue, being unable to take in what I’m saying,” she said, explaining why she cut her white friends out of her life. “I think my favorite responses were, ‘Well, you’re really sensitive. You’re overreacting.’ Focusing on my feelings.”

According to Dr. Khilanani, the suggestion that therapists can be neutral is “part of the racist aspect of psychoanalysis.”

“I’m not the stereotype of the psychoanalyst where I’m withholding or won’t say anything or will just be there as a sounding board because that sounds really [expletive] cold and empty. That sounds awful,” she said.

While her lecture was public, Khilanani’s speech was only released internally at Yale and included a disclaimer for profanity and violent imagery.