APA defines racism & joins the CSJ movement

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:


I’m not qualified to talk about psychology (it’s not my field), but as a scientist and as a person, I’m really worried about the so called “CSJ” and how much it’s pervading the Academia. As Counterweight highlights, “CSJ divides the world in oppressor and oppressed” but this division is an oversimplification that “ignores all of the complexity and nuance of human life and social interaction”. According to CSJ, oppressors are the male heterosexual whites of Western countries and the oppressed are people of color, female and homosexuals… But looking at the real world, it’s clear that such an oppressor/oppressed split is not only an oversimplification but it’s also wrong. Look at the homosexuals for example: where are they persecuted? where are the countries where females are less respected and have less freedom? The same people who should be the oppressed seem to be the real oppressors in other contexts. And this is is just an example of the many many contradictions and mistakes you can find within the ideology of the CSJ. Others you can find for example in the book by Wilfred Reilly, which I recommend (even if it’s very focused on America): https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/45733289-taboo
Overall, the CSJ movement is worrisome, both for contents and attitudes, like for instance the attitude of cancelling people with different ideas (see for instance what happened to Kathleen Stock), or refusing data and facts that contradict its claims.

@lucia.tamburino I don’t know much about Kathleen Stock but I just recalled that she is a founding faculty fellow at UATX.

@Gavin, I didn’t notice. Thank you for recalling it.