Keeping sane

Survival skills for minorities in white institutions

Robert Seymour Wright

Robert Seymour Wright

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein

As a queer black man who has had increasing levels of professional responsibility over his career, Robert understands that staying sane takes work. His grandmother’s wisdom taught him how to deal with neighbourhood bullies, but not how to cope with daily micro-aggressions in the boardroom.

In this stream, we will share our experience in community and the workplace, and explore basic skills and strategies for surviving and thriving in situations of unacknowledged, systemic discrimination. We will look at the role of self-identity, independence, allies, activism and cultural expertise. We will uncover systemic dynamics within our personal experience and identify ways to leverage a growing trend towards valuing the diversity of identity and thinking we bring to change efforts.

Robert Seymour Wright is a Halifax-based social worker and sociologist whose 29-year career has spanned the fields of education, child welfare, forensic mental health, trauma, sexual violence, and cultural competence.  A clinician, academic, and administrator, he has always integrated his work delivering direct practice clinical service to clients with teaching and supervising interns, and promoting lasting systemic change through social policy advocacy. He also consults, trains, speaks and comments on a wide range of issues. His extensive pro bono work gave birth to The Peoples' Counselling Clinic, a non-profit mental health clinic. Robert’s pioneering work with colleagues in cultural competence and conducting cultural assessments has received national attention. See also his website here.