Critical race theory and mental health

Authored by: Roy Moodley , Falak Mujtaba , Sela Kleiman

Routledge International Handbook of Critical Mental Health

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138225473
eBook ISBN: 9781315399584
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315399584.ch9

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Abstract

Critical Race Theory (CRT) states that ‘racism and discrimination are matters of thinking, mental categorization, attitude and discourse’ (Stefancic and Delgado 2012: 21) and it challenges the ‘ontological and epistemological biases subtly inculcated in the law, policies, or in empirical research that would otherwise hinder contextualization of harm and dysfunction resulting from racial stratification’ (Brown 2003: 294). CRT has evolved over time to offer a framework of analysis in the relations of power in a multicultural and postcolonial space. Race as a variable in mental health theory and practice is not only unclear and problematic, but also confusing and confounding. Part of the problem lies in the definition of race, since race is understood as both a biological and sociological entity. However, race, as Appiah (1989) notes, is not a ‘natural’ category, having a biological or genetic base, but one that is socially and culturally constructed.

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