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Huang, M. S., Jacobsen, S. E., Schubert, I. and Fransz, P. F.
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Strahl, B. D. and Allis, C. D.
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Strahl, B. D., Grant, P. A., Briggs, S. D., Sun, Z. W., Bone, J. R., Caldwell, J. A., Mollah, S., Cook, R. G., Shabanowitz, J., Hunt, D. F. et al.

An important consideration for decolonial responses to oppression, then, concerns the forms of critical consciousness that promote collective identification. In recognition of this important consideration, the third pressing task in the Liberation Psychology of Martín-Baró (1994) is recovery of historical memory . In the words of Martín-Baró,

The prevailing discourse puts forth an apparently natural and ahistorical reality, structuring it in such a way as to cause it to be accepted without question. This makes it impossible to derive lessons from experience and, more important, makes it impossible to find the roots of one’s own identity, which is as much needed for interpreting one’s sense of the present as for glimpsing possible alternatives.… The recovery of historical memory supposes the reconstruction of models of identification that, instead of chaining and caging the people, open up the horizon for them, toward their liberation and fulfillment. (p. 30)

The importance of critical consciousness to the topic of collective identification lies in dismantling representations of history that reflect and reproduce forms of domination and replacing them with alternative forms of collective memory that reflect and promote identification with perspectives of people in oppressed communities.

Evidence for the effect of “recovered” historical memory in promoting support for reparative action comes from an investigation of displays for Black History Month (BHM) that we conducted in secondary schools of a city in the mid-western USA ( Salter Adams, 2015 ). We observed that schools with majority White populations were more likely than majority Black (and Latino) populations to de-emphasize struggles against racism and to link BHM to larger issues of cultural diversity rather than Civil Rights. This relative prominence of different Black History Month representations in the material reality of different school environments is not inconsequential, but instead affords different courses of action. In this case, BHM displays from predominately Black and Latino spaces afforded increases in perceptions of racism among White American participants, which in turn mediated support for anti-racism policies ( Salter Adams, 2015 ). In other words, representations from schools with a majority of Black and Latino students afford support for anti-racism policies because they alert viewers to the ongoing significance of racism in contemporary U.S. society. The recovery and broad distribution of representations of history that afford perception of racism and support for reparative action constitute a productive and liberatory response to situations of oppression.

Summary: Decolonizing Coping [ TOP ]

An emphasis on the recovery of historical memory and development of critical consciousness constitutes a shift away from strategies that implicitly or explicitly advocate adaptation (i.e., to oppressive systems) toward strategies that focus on social transformation. This alternative focus illuminates the coloniality of knowledge in mainstream social psychology and “coping only” response strategies. Mainstream psychological science places a heavy emphasis on reducing stress via adaptation to local realities. But what if these realities are inherently oppressive (as decolonial critiques suggest of the modern global order)? Conventional scientific wisdom implies that the healthy course of action is for people to cope with the situation by adapting themselves to the oppressive social order rather than acting in some fashion to transform it. In this way, mainstream psychological science acts as a conservative force that promotes not only resignation to, but also legitimization or naturalization of an unjust status quo. It elevates oppressive constructions of reality to the status of a natural standard to which individual actors must successfully adapt, and implicitly de-legitimizes attempts to transform those oppressive realities. As we have noted repeatedly, this adaptationist stance to oppressive realities may bring short-term benefits, but it is inimical to long-term or collective well-being if those oppressive realities are the root of the pathology in the first place.

In contrast to mainstream psychological constructions of coping that emphasize individual adaptation to oppressive realities, a decolonial response to oppression emphasizes social transformation. Rather than elevate the unjust status quo to the level of natural or inevitable, a decolonial response to oppression de-naturalizes the status quo by revealing it to be the project of violent repression and injustice. Rather than grudging resignation to the oppressive status quo, decolonial responses encourage imagination of social justice alternatives to the status quo.

Our focus in this paper is a reconsideration of mainstream perspectives that advise people from historically oppressed communities to adapt to, rather than challenge systems of oppression. As a result of this focus, we have not considered the implications that decolonial responses to oppression have for people who benefit from racial and colonial domination. Such people have even more motivation than people from marginalized communities to deny the extent of global oppression, as recognition of this oppression threatens the legitimacy of the racialized global order from which they benefit. Given this motivation, people from dominant groups are perhaps especially likely to develop epistemological tools that both prevent recognition of oppression and afford a construction of the racialized global order as the natural or inevitable product of modern progress and cultural development. By allowing these epistemologies of ignorance to persist unchallenged, mainstream responses to coping with oppression help reproduce domination.

In contrast, decolonial responses to coping promote critical consciousness (rather than identity-enhancing denial), disrupt epistemologies of ignorance that naturalize the racialized injustice of the modern global order, and illuminate models of identification (e.g., imagination of community with broader humanity) that afford dis-investment in the racialized injustice of the modern global order. In other words, decolonial responses to coping seek not only to liberate people in marginalized communities from ongoing racist and colonial violence, but also to liberate people in dominant communities from forces that compel them to perpetrate (often in mindless fashion) forms of racist and colonial violence.

To conclude this contribution to the special section, we step back from the particular discussion of decolonial approaches to coping and examine implications that this discussion raises for the project of “decolonizing psychology”. The general strategy is one that informs many contributions to the special section. In particular, we draw upon the epistemological perspective of people in oppressed communities for insights and alternatives to prevailing understandings of well-being, consciousness, and peace.

Fig 3. Human CD14 CD16 HLA-DR (intermediate) monocytes produce more inflammatory cytokines with age.

Intracellular production of TNF (A) and IL-6 (B) in classical (CD14 ++ ), intermediate (CD14 ++ CD16 + ) and non-classical (CD14 + CD16 + ) monocytes from young and elderly donors in response to LPS (50 ng/ml) and S . pneumoniae (5 x10 6 CFU) . C) The secretion of TNF and D) IL-6 for isolated CD14+ monocytes in response to LPS for young and older donors. E) The frequency of intermediate monocytes were found to have a significant, positive correlation with the levels of serum TNF (β = 2.78, p<0.006). (A-D) is representative of ± SEM of n = 7 young donors (26–52 yrs) and n = 6 older donors (63–70 yrs) *indicates p<0.05, and ** indicates p< 0.05. Intermediate monocyte (CD14++CD16+HLA-DR+) count (cells per microlitre of whole blood) increases relative to serum levels of TNF in older donors (n = 94, 61-100yrs).

To determine whether age-related changes in Ly6C high monocyte numbers, phenotype and inflammatory capacity were caused by changes in the aging bone marrow microenvironment or due to intrinsic changes in the myeloid precursors themselves, we created heterochronic bone marrow chimeras. When young bone marrow was transferred to old recipient mice the number of Ly6C high and Ly6C low monocytes was increased to levels comparable to old mice ( Fig 1A ) or old recipient mice who had received old donor marrow ( Fig 4A ). In contrast, young recipient mice that had received old donor marrow had Ly6C high and Ly6C low monocyte numbers comparable to young mice ( Fig 1A ) or to young recipient mice that had received young donor bone marrow ( Fig 4A ). In addition, the increase in CCR2 expression observed on circulating monocytes from old mice ( Clearance 2018 Newest Clearance Cheapest Price Mother turnedup hem jeans Sale 2018 Unisex Pre Order Online GVsca
) was also observed in circulating monocytes from old recipient mice who had received young donor marrow but not on young recipient mice who received old donor marrow( Fig 4B ). These data demonstrate that increases of Ly6C + monocytes and increased CCR2 expression occur in a manner entirely dependent on the bone marrow microenvironment.

Fig 4. TNF drives increases in circulating Ly6C monocytes.

(A) Total numbers of Ly6C high and Ly6C low monocytes in the blood of heterochronic bone marrow chimeric mice. Old recipient mice which receive young donor marrow have increased numbers of circulating Ly6C high and Ly6C low monocytes which are comparable to old recipient mice that receive old donor marrow. Young recipient mice that receive old donor marrow do not have an increase in Ly6C high and Ly6C low monocytes. The data represent the mean (± SEM) of 5 mice. (B) CCR2 expression on circulating monocytes is elevated when the recipient mouse is old, indicating that the bone marrow microenvironment drives changes in CCR2 expression (CCR2 MFI± SEM; n = 5). (C-D) The percent Ly6C high monocytes as a proportion of CD45 + cells in the (C) blood or (D) bone marrow of young and old WT and TNF KO mice was quantitated (± SEM; n = 4–6). (E-F) Expression of CCR2 on Ly6C high monocytes in the (E) blood or (F) bone marrow of young and old WT and TNF KO mice ( n = 4–8) demonstrate that the presence of TNF drives CCR2 expression with age. (G) IL6 production in whole blood from young and old TNF KO mice stimulated with 100 ng/ml of LPS or a vehicle control for 24 hours was quantitated by ELISA (± SEM; n = 5). Statistical significance was determined by two-tailed Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test, one-way or two-way ANOVA with Fisher's LSD post-test where appropriate. * indicates p < .05, ** indicates p < 0.005, *** indicates p < 0.0005 and **** indicates p < 0.00005. (A-B) is representative of 2 independent experiments; (C-G) is representative of 3 independent experiments.


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