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Posted: 2018-11-08 15:38:24

November 1, 2018; Okayplayer

This article takes for granted the idea that we, civil society (nonprofits and movements), want to live in non-dominant, pluralistic societies. In others, I speak of the need to move away from domination patterns; the complementary work to be done is in healing from domination. While any of us could fall on this side of the equation, we can agree that those who are marginalized in societies bear the biggest burden. That’s why it’s ironic (or cruel, depending on how you orient) that one of what some believe to be the most promising fields for healing, psychedelic therapy, reflects the same race bias as the larger society.

Elijah C. Watson, writing for Okayplayer, notes, “A Google search for black researchers in the field of psychedelic therapy will yield a single result—Dr. Monnica T. Williams. At a time where terms like diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords in work environments across the country, research on psychedelic drugs continues to be led by white men.”

LSD, or acid, one of the best-known psychedelics in the US, was made popular in the 1960s by Timothy Leary, a white clinical psychologist at Harvard University. It was banned in 1968, along with other psychedelics, but since the 1990s, psychedelic research has been making a comeback, including “MDMA-assisted therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD.” But, Watson observes, “like its ’60s counterculture predecessor, the psychedelic research renaissance that’s happening at the moment is noticeably white.”

Watson goes on to point out that though indigenous cultures have worked with psychedelics for thousands of years, including in Africa and the Amazon (Ayahuasca, the master), people of color in the US, especially blacks, have a conflicted history with both drugs and medical research (remember the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments on black men).

Williams says, “Because of the criminalization of all these substances and the fallout from the war on drugs, African Americans face

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