BME psychology


~Post by Glen Jankowski. A version of this was cross posted at

Psychology: A history of racism

As feminist researchers, we know psychology can be used to oppress various groups (women, LGBT people to name just two).

Often overlooked is psychology’s oppression of BME people. for instance, many of the British Psychological Society’s early presidents had explicit ties to the eugenics movement. Or how Black civil rights activists were forcibly incarcerated under the pretense they were schizophrenic and “paronoid against the police” (Metzl, 2011). Or how intelligence research by psychologists was originally used to show Black people and immigrants should not have the same legal, political or social rights as more intelligent whites (see Phillippe Rushton’s work published in 1990 by The Psychologist).


Psychology’s racism today
Those of us in psychology today must be careful not to relegate our discipline’s racism to the past. Psychology still has a problem with racism. The people we include in our research, the authors and editors of journal articles are overwhelmingly White (Arnett, 2008; Heinrich, 2010).

Relatedly, the reading we set tends to be White, Western and male too (Jankowski et al., in prep). The problems with an overwhelming white, western and male reading list should be obvious. With this reading, we’re overlooking BME psychologist’s work, we’re teaching content that is less likely to show how racism relates to health, development or our social world (or any of the stuff psychology professes to explain) and more simply we are not teaching the psychology of people but the psychology of white, western (and often male) people.

The ethnicity of the authors of the reading we set in our courses is only one proxy for racism in our discpline. Tokenistically including a reading because it is authored by a BME psychologist in our course is not enough. Our teaching of psychology needs to incorporate racism and its intersecting opressions into the curriculum that we teach. We will never be able to explain how people stay healthy or how a child develops or how mental health problems are caused without attending to structural oppressions like racism.

The BME Psychology website

I and other Leeds Beckett staff have therefore set up a website signposting to BME psychological and anti-racist work.

We know this is only one small step towards reducing racism in and beyond our discipline (we also need to hire more BME academic staff as astoundingly there are just 17 Black women professors in the UK) but we believe this is an important step.

And so we need help. If you know any of the many BME psychologists we have doubtlessly missed, please add them to our archive. If you are willing to share anti-racist teaching materials or would like to use them then please do.

BME psychology archive.png

For an archive pointing to feminist psychologists including many BME feminist psychologists see the wonderful Psychology’s Feminist Voices.


6 reminders why we need International Women’s Day

For all of us battling the postfeminists, men’s right’s activists or just those  who forget why International Women’s Day is important – here are 6, concrete reminders for them:

1) Because men are assumed to be default persons. This ‘Male as default’ assumption can be seen in the above where Judi Dench and J K Rowling only count as ‘women’ but Ricky Gervais and Ian McEwan get to be ‘author’s’ and ‘comedians’ Source: @ Emma Kennedy
More examples here:

gender flipping

2) Because of how sexist popular representations of women are. Including in video games and comics. This Gender Flipping example shows us how male superheroes would look like if they were treated like female superheroes Source:

3) Because lots of research shows men are more likely to interrupt, patronize and ignore women in everyday conversations. And yes this happens in academia. The above image shows mansplaining on Twitter where a man corrects a woman on an article that she wrote. 

pay gap

4) Because sexism isn’t only about the interpersonal or representational. It’s also abut material deprivation. Globally women earn less than men. Even in academia. After controlling for hours worked, career type etc women are paid less than men and BME women are paid even less than white men and white women (the intersections of sexism are critical – the most oppressed women face the brunt of sexism plus other oppressions) Source:

sports covers

5) Because of how appalling women’s sports coverage is still threat

6) Because of how sexism impacts women, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and stops interventions that could undo sexism (such as education). The fantastic research by Claude Steele (one of the few Black Psychologists to make it in a historically racist discipline of psychology)  on stereotype threat shows positivistly, how the stereotypes that ‘women can’t do maths’ or  harms women by affecting their maths performance when it is enacted. More info here:

Note: this is a cross post from ISCHP blog.

POWSR Call For Papers – Gender & Gaming

Call for Papers

Psychology of Women Section Review Special Focus 2018

Gender and gaming

Editors: Jenny Cole and Sarah Grogan

Video game research has been steadily rising over the last 20 years, especially as video games have become more realistic, more mobile, and more accessible to wider demographic groups (Chambers, 2012). Traditionally considered the realm of teenage boys, estimates over the last few years suggest that almost half of gamers are women, and in the US, women over 18 years of age represent a larger proportion of gamers (31%) than boys under 18 (17%) (ESA, 2016).

Women and other gamers who do not fit the ‘young white male’ stereotype are often excluded from video game marketing (Burgess, Stermer & Burgess, 2007) and can be ostracised from mainstream gaming community spaces (Fox & Tang, 2014). When calls for more diversity in video games have been voiced, this has been met with defensive and aggressive reactions such as the #GamerGate controversy which saw high profile female developers harassed on social media and offline (Chess & Shaw, 2015).

Despite these barriers, is important that digital gaming is accessible to wide range of players because the playing of video games has been linked to confidence and engagement with technology in other contexts such as school and work environments (Cassel & Jenkins, 2000). It is important, therefore, that we continue to add to the knowledge about these issues already gained from psychologists and researchers from other disciplines. This Special Focus issue of POWSR aims to facilitate awareness of this fascinating area in psychologists who take a feminist perspective.

We invite contributions that examine issues related to gender in digital gaming. Contributions may explore questions such as those below:

  • What are the barriers or benefits to participation in gaming culture for women and other groups who adopt gender identities not commonly associated with gaming?
  • How does gender identity interact with gaming experience and immersion?
  • What might be the barriers to digital gaming moving forward to become more inclusive of diverse gender identities, sexualities, ethnicities and bodies?

Contributions may take various forms including original articles (up to 6000 words), observations and commentaries (up to 2000 words) and brief reports/research in progress (up to 3000 words) and creative writing pieces (up to 2000). Submissions will be subject to the usual peer review process. The deadline for submissions is Friday 8th September. Queries can be sent to Jenny Cole ( or Sarah Grogan (

Editorial Vacancies – Psychology of Women Section Review

We are currently looking for two editorial assistants to join the Psychology of Women Section Review Team:

Post 1: Book Reviews Editorial Assistant

The successful applicant will commission and the editorially manage book review submissions. This may involve identifying books that resonate with themes of the edition or special issue features.

Post 2: Commissioning Strategy Editorial Assistant

Applicant Criteria

All applicants should be paid members of Psychology of Women Section (BPS) or be willing to become a member. We welcome applications from members at various stages of their career.

If you are interested in finding out more about these positions, please contact Psychology of Women Section Review Editor Lisa Lazard at by the 4th of January.

POWS Academic Retreat 2017

We are pleased to announce that The Psychology of Women Section (POWS) is now taking bookings for our 3 day residential writing retreat on March 6th – 8th.  Please book early as places are available on a first come first served basis and booking will close on 5th January 2017. 

To book please follow this link to the BPS website:

Our funds are very limited so we are unable to offer subsidies. However, the retreat is run on a not-for-profit basis and the fee includes dinner on Monday 6th, all meals on the 7th and breakfast and lunch on the 8th March, plus accommodation. Also included in the price are additional refreshments, informal writing workshops and morning yoga sessions (allocated on a first come first served basis).

POWS members                                  £200

Other BPS Members                           £225

Non BPS members                              £250

The POWS retreat is open to all feminist psychologists and will provide you with some protected time away from distractions to make significant progress on a writing task.  You will be able to work alone or with others and to participate as you wish in the range of activities that will be on offer.

The retreat will take place in Rydal Hall, the 17th century mansion which is the former home of poet William Wordsworth. It contains several lounges, a library and plenty of additional spaces for writing individually or collectively.  Rydal Hall has a bar, a teashop with internal and external seating, a 34 acre estate which features formal Edwardian gardens, woodlands, ponds and a waterfall and is surrounded by the beautiful Cumbrian countryside.

To book please follow this link to the BPS website:

If you need further information please contact Sandra Roper (

We look forward to seeing you there.