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Talking About Race and Positionality in Psychology: Asians as Tangata Tiriti

The article discusses the dominance of Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) perspectives in the field of psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand. This has resulted in a racial hierarchy of knowledge, with Indigenous and culturally diverse epistemologies marginalized. The lack of diversity in the curriculum and the limited representation of non-Pākehā (non-New Zealand European) psychologists in the country have led to calls for a more inclusive environment. The first perspective proposed is to understand Asians as a racialized group with diverse experiences. Asians in Aotearoa come from various backgrounds and face different degrees of racism and acculturation. The notion of 'Asian' may be used to marginalize the interests of Māori, perpetuating institutional racism. The concept of 'Asianisations' describes different forms of racial marginalization experienced by Asians in the country. The second perspective emphasizes the positionality of Asians as tangata Tiriti (people of the Treaty). Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty between the British Crown and Māori chiefs, is seen as granting tangata Tiriti equal rights and privileges alongside Pākehā and Māori. As tangata Tiriti, Asians have a responsibility to uphold Tiriti principles, which include partnership, active protection, equity, and options to address Māori inequities. Asian psychologists can engage in culturally safe care for Māori clients and collaborate with and empower Māori leadership in research. The article highlights the need for Asian psychologists to reflect on their positionality, power structures, and biases within the discipline and society. It encourages them to challenge the dominance of WEIRD psychology and work towards decolonizing the field. By doing so, they can contribute to the flourishing of Kaupapa Māori psychology and develop culturally informed practices that draw on the richness of Asian cultures.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists
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