This class has reminded me that I have a long way to go before I decolonize my mind. Cultural psychology highlights how the field of psychology, and science as a whole, uses WEIRD (White, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) as the norm for majority of our research. They are the “baseline,” the “ruler” for which we use to measure other societies.
This phenomenon isn’t always transparent, up in our faces. It can be subtle, like in the way papers phrase non-WEIRD societies’ data as “unique from” or a “deviation from the norm”.
Growing up, we always heard that actions speak louder than words, that what you do means more than what you say. And, to some extent, I still believe that to be true. But, how can we really believe that constantly reinforcing language that says one group of people are “normal” and that all others are “not normal” has no consequences?
Students look at these papers that have been published and revered by the scientific community and use them as the examples for their own papers. Researches are literally setting the blueprint for future scholars to be problematic.
Of course, with this, it is important to understand that no one and nothing can truly be unproblematic. Consistent work and intention, along with mistakes, go into this process. STEM has had a lot of problems but has also made a lot of progress. However, we should never be satisfied with being understanding at one point in time. Our community can and should do better.