In February 2021, the impactful American Association of Psychology (APA) published a definition of racism.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that APA adopts the following definition of racism as an ideology to establish a common understanding for psychologists and other disciplines to inform and guide efforts to examine and eradicate racism:
• Racism is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on phenotypic properties (e.g., skin color and hair texture associated with “race” in the U.S.). This “system”—which ranges from daily interpersonal interactions shaped by race to racialized opportunities for good education, housing, employment, etc.—unfairly disadvantages people belonging to marginalized racial groups and damages their health and mental health, unfairly advantages individuals belonging to socially and politically dominant racial groups, and “ultimately undermines the full potential of the whole society” (C.P. Jones, 2003)."
Some days ago, they followed up with a public Apology to People of Color for APA’s Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S..
From now on, psychology as a scientific discipline could be considered a part of the movement for critical social justice.
Whereas in February 2021, APA […] established a standard definition of racism and a framework for understanding the following four levels of racism in designing and implementing antiracist research, education, training, policy, and clinical applications through the lens of intersectionality: structural racism, institutional racism, interpersonal racism, and internalized racism
APA rejects “hegemonic science”—that is, research focused on identifying and reinforcing supposed hierarchies of human value based on a White-default—and will continue to oppose it through culturally responsive training, ethical/equity-focused approaches, peer review, and publications
APA will encourage psychologists and trainees to consider the limitations of White Western-oriented clinical practice, and gain awareness of other healing approaches emanating from Indigenous and other non-Western and cultural traditions (Grimes, 2018; Williams, 2018). APA will continue to learn and update new information on racism in diagnosis and clinical practice, and on the pursuit of equity, diversity, and inclusion in health service psychology, including psychological testing and assessment, while fostering practice based in culturally relevant evidence.
Therefore, be it resolved that future APA actions could also include targeted interventions to benefit other groups that have experienced systems of oppression, including those based on religion, sex, class, sexual orientation and gender diversity, and disability identity.
Measurements of intelligence, health, and capability, are potentially inherently racist.
Whereas eugenicists focused on the measurement of intelligence, health, and capability, concepts which were adopted by the field of psychology and used systemically to create the ideology of White supremacy and harm communities of color (Cummings Center, 2021; Gillham, 2001).
This early history of psychology, rooted in oppressive psychological science to protect Whiteness, White people, and White epistemologies, reflected the social and political landscape of the U.S. at that time. Psychology developed under these conditions, helped to create, express, and sustain them, continues to bear their indelible imprint, and often continues to publish research that conforms with White racial hierarchy (Cummings Center, 2021; Helms 2003; Luther et al., 1996; Santiago-Rivera et al., 2016).
For info on critical social justice (CSJ), check out Counterweight’s definition: