Within user/survivor research originating from western multicultural and multi-ethnic countries, work by scholars from racialized communities is rarely discussed as an integral part of the user/ survivor movement or of the collective knowledge base created through user/survivor research. Where they do get mentioned or cited, it is often as part of a bid to accommodate ‘diversity’ or perform ‘cultural competence’ rather than to challenge and disrupt operative norms. The diversity discourse creates a situation where the task of addressing it falls on the person embodying difference: for instance, a token chapter from a Black writer (or a transgender writer and so on and so forth) in an edited volume. It creates a situation where addressing issues of racialization becomes the work of those racialized, as if ‘whiteness’ involves no part of racialization. Institutional whiteness, heteronormativity, and Eurocentrism—in configurations of mad/survivor collectives; in references to conceptual work from philosophy, feminism, critical theory, and so on; in opportunities to collaborate; in enduring colonial mentalities within academic spaces and in curricula; in collective theorization—are rarely addressed.
The neoliberal discourse of diversity neutralizes intersectionality—what sociologist Sirma Bilge (2014) calls the whitening, disciplining, and dilution of intersectionality. Bilge calls for “un-disciplinary critical intersectionality viewed as an epistemic potentiality to disrupt Eurocentric knowledge-production politics and its attendant (inter)disciplinary formations” (p. 176, italics original). In a recent talk at a mad studies conference, Brenda LeFrançois (2015) called attention to the “potential undoing” of this emerging field unless those who were engaged in teaching and ‘disciplining’ it actively sought to decenter whiteness and to be accountable to mad communities outside of academia.
Jayasree Kalathil, Nev Jones: Unsettling Disciplines: Madness, Identity, Research, Knowledge.
[emphases and breaks mine]