You might have heard Dr. Fritz Galette on the radio, or you might have seen him on TV. Late last fall, Galette launched “The Dr. Fritz Show” on channel 34 in New York City. Each week “The Dr. Fritz Show” is a magnet for special guests, from “real” people to celebrities who want to engage in genuine conversation. For those of you who are not in New York, “The Dr. Fritz Show” streams from his website, www.drfritz.com.
In America, topics hovering around diversity, civil rights and prejudice are fraught with emotion and likely to erupt in controversy. Not everyone tells the truth about the real root causes underlying racial prejudice. Anytime Dr. Fritz, who is African-American, does a program on civil rights or racism, the number of people calling into the show increases dramatically. People want to be heard on this topic.
“Anything involving prejudice is going to ignite a response. It’s a very polarizing issue,” Dr. Fritz said. “People will talk in a way that indicates instances of prejudice happening all the time. Prejudice is always there, simmering below the surface. And maybe [the shootings and riots in] Ferguson [are] throwing gasoline on the fire, but the embers are always burning below the surface.”
Time for a real discussion. Dr. Fritz thinks people need to talk more about inequality. People tend to be more vocal in places where there are latent issues of inequality. The northern U.S. would like to tout itself as a place of racial equality, but the “haves” and “have nots” are still dramatically clear. In New York, if someone is prejudiced against you, you may not know it because it’s not politically correct to bring it up, whereas in another area of the country you may hear about it more often and more directly.
In New York, every day we see economic inequality. “We’re so physically close to one another; a billionaire is standing there in the subway right next to a homeless person,” Dr. Fritz said. “People from all walks of life are on top of each other, but we don’t talk about it. On an unconscious level, if people have racist attitudes they’re right there in your face. In a state like Alabama, the population is so much smaller that they don’t have to encounter their differences, up close and personal, every day.”
What do you think causes prejudice? Dr. Fritz cites ignorance, lack of diversity and lack of human contact with different types of people as being the primary reasons for racial prejudice. Ironically, in a culturally diverse city like New York, there might be integration, but only on the surface. The New York school systems are more segregated than they have ever been in the past, but they are segregated by neighborhoods, and those lines are drawn by property values. Segregation that is drawn over economic lines rather than racial lines still ends up being a good indicator of the school’s racial makeup.
“There has been a greater momentum building toward creating a greater sense of equality, but we’re not there yet,”Dr. Fritz says. “We need to look at the economics and institutions on a larger scale. Economics is now a major determiner of funding is allocated to schools, local governments and neighborhoods. If you look at the pure economic distribution of wealth and resources, then inequality is very much still there. The economic disparity is intertwined and ingrained in our education. In the next phase of American history, it is economic inequality and human rights, in general, that we need to be talking about. We need to stay engaged and be involved. More than anything, we need to be part of the conversation. It is through this engagement that our voices will be heard.”
About Dr. Fritz: Dr. Fritz Galette estimates that he is one of only a handful of African-American men practicing psychology today in Manhattan. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fordham University. He is a New York state licensed psychologist and a member of the American Psychological Association. He is also a member of The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a 6th-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has completed 21 New York City Marathons. Using a variety of therapeutic approaches, – including life coaching, performance training, hypnosis and biofeedback – Dr. Fritz has helped more than 1,000 clients reach their full potential, including high-level executives, business owners, traders, lawyers, athletes, entrepreneurs and other professionals, at all levels of the corporate ladder.