Black knowledges matter: How the suppression of non‐white understandings of dementia harms us all and how we can combat it

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

In my recent paper on the emergence of ethnicity-focussed dementia awareness research, I voiced concern regarding the rise of a body of work that depicts minority ethnic people in several high-income counties as lacking proper knowledge of dementia (Fletcher, 2020a). I noted that the diverse knowledges of different people are often deemed to be of less value than a specific neuropsychiatric knowledge, despite that purportedly superior knowledge being a contested hypothesis. Moreover, I observed that the supposedly lesser knowledges of others are racialised in relation to ethnic categories and portrayed as impediments to well-being that must be addressed. The implication is that a variety of minority ethnic populations (classified in a wide array of terms) are culturally inadequate when it comes to dementia and thus need saving from themselves. There are many epistemological and methodological problems with this body of research, but more concerning are its affinities with colonial moral imperatives to spread white enlightenment to diverse populations (see Mills, 2014; Summerfield, 2012, 2013 for broader discussion of colonial logics in contemporary psychiatry).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1818-1825
Number of pages8
JournalSociology of Health & Illness
Volume43
Issue number8
Early online date18 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

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