abstract The author argues in this paper that, because of racism, there is an asymmetrical power relationship between black and white which saturates all aspects of society. Whilst this dynamic also permeates psychoanalytic training organizations the problem is frequently ignored or denied. This colour-blind position fails to see or acknowledge difference and hence the white individual is able to avoid the shame involved in owning any racist thought. For the black trainee an important aspect of their identity and experience is not allowed expression, making the training experience a difficult one. However, the paper argues that the inability to acknowledge and think about racism has implications, not only for potential black applicants and patients, but also for the professional organizations and their predominantly white members as this cordial form of racism prevents thought and does damage to both white and black.