5 MIN READ | Commentaries

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Diversity, Oppression, and Decolonisation – Are There Too Many Social Justice Articles on ‘The Psychologist’?

Cite This
Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2020, February 24). Diversity, Oppression, and Decolonisation – Are There Too Many Social Justice Articles on ‘The Psychologist’?. Psychreg on Commentaries. https://www.psychreg.org/diversity-oppression-decolonisation-social-justice-articles/
Reading Time: 5 minutes

On 22nd February, 2022, Nicola Beaumont voiced her disappointment on Twitter with The Psychologist‘s focus on its March 2020 issue: decolonising psychology.

As expected, her views attracted a vast pile-on. Complaints ranged from people questioning her qualifications to uncertainties about whether she’s fit to work within the psychology profession.

It’s not the first time that Nicola shared her sentiment. In January, she said that she ‘very much doubted that The Psychologist would publish anything that supported Brexit or supported conservative views because there would be outrage from leftists.’

Nicola is justified in saying this. I witnessed similar outrage when Jo Hemming published an article on Mail Online about Meghan Markle.

I share Nicola’s observation that the BPS magazine has consistently pushed left-wing agendas. For instance, in the run-up to Brexit, opposing views regularly appeared in the magazine. There were also several articles that demonised Trump; which I particularly noticed because I am both pro-Brexit and pro-Trump.

It’s far more convenient for me not to express a particularly strong opinion on this topic. After all, I could easily capitalise on the kind of predominant views you’ll find in The Psychologist, the kind that promotes the victimhood narrative and social justice agenda. But I find this obsession to be nauseating and tiresome. It feels like victimhood and hatred of White people (especially of White heterosexual men) are encouraged.

And I just don’t use the word ‘obsession’ for no reason. Here’s a selection of articles published in The Psychologist over the last six years that exemplify this agenda:







Now contrast the above list to conservative views, and it won’t take you long to notice that there is a scarcity of articles in The Psychologist that talk positively about the contributions of Dr Jordan Peterson, articles that explore the views of Dr Noah Carl on race and IQ, or articles that cover the unusual viewpoints within evolutionary psychology which you can read in Quillette.

As much as I hate identity politics, I feel that it is relevant to share my background: I’m gay and I spent my childhood in a slum in the Philippines – a country which has been colonised four times.

As I mentioned earlier, I can easily rack up intersectionality and victimhood points, but I have never perceived myself as a victim of either people or circumstances. I always see myself as someone who is responsible for shaping my own destiny. I refuse to embrace victimhood. I always aim to be responsible for my own actions (and incompetence) rather than be someone who weaponises victimhood to gain undeserved advancement in life. Studying psychology encouraged me to embrace self-actualisation and operate from that place of strength.

I find The Psychologist to be an excellent repository of articles on racism and victimhood. Yet, as an immigrant, I have never seen the UK as a racist country. For those who say that it is, I wonder which country are they comparing it to. Are they comparing the UK to China? To Russia? To claim that this country is racist without taking other countries into account is rather unreasonable, if not disingenuous.

I’ve lived in five countries before coming here to the UK – Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Germany – and I can say that I have witnessed more racism in Singapore and Thailand than here.

I don’t wish to invalidate other people’s experiences, but since I moved to the UK in 2013 to do a master’s degree in psychology, I hardly experienced any form of discrimination or racism. Perhaps this is because I don’t go on with my life scouting around for something to be offended about. I also spent most of my days in the company of White working-class people because I’m the kind of immigrant who assimilates.

Now back to the BPS magazine. When I expressed my views on the kind of narratives that you would likely read in The Psychologist, I was told (via Twitter) that other topics are not being pushed out from the magazine, to which I clarified that I am not talking about topics, but rather about views on topics. For instance, I am not convinced that all readers of the magazine think that psychology needs to be decolonised.

In a time of such polarisation, I hope that the magazine diversifies its views instead of obsessing with social justice dogmas. It feels like you’re reading social justice pieces straight from The Guardian, which would be acceptable if that’s what I signed up for. But then, I didn’t choose to read The Guardian.


An alternative view on this topic has been written by Derek Laffan. 

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg

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