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Three fathers: Locating George Floyd

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

between equality and elitism in the third wave of decolonisation


Dr Kesi Mahendran


As we take tentative steps towards post-pandemic renewal, citizens across the world are calling into question the reliance on white imperial capital by populist leaders. Such citizens are becoming increasingly aware of how populist leaders use “us” and “them”, divisive logic which arouses hyper-partisanship (Singh, 2017) and conflictual thinking (Spruyt, Keppens & Van Droogenbroeck, 2016). Citizens are developing counter-narratives such as a one world narrative to interrogate the long shadow of colonial border constructions (Mahendran, 2017). This article brings into focus three fathers to call into question who will be at home in what I propose is the third wave of decolonisation.


A focus on three fathers speaks back to Spike Lee’s short film Three Brothers (available on Youtube). Decolonisation appears to occur in waves, at once advancing and then receding. The first wave led to the independence of former European colonies in the 1940’s and 1950s. The second wave led to desegregation and rising black political consciousness in the 1960s. It is worth bringing to mind the Black Power movement which became worldwide in its political and cultural influence (Hall, 2017, p.99). It is hard to escape the extent to which we are, today, entering a third wave.


The beginnings of the third wave can be located after the post-racial discussions of the Obama US presidency and Blair/Brown centre-left UK government, but before the Covid-19 pandemic. Where the first wave was about emerging independent nation states and the second about desegregation, this third wave is post-national and sets its sights on a post-imperial consciousness. Rhodes Must Fall and why is my curriculum white? campaigns, the Windrush scandal and the global lightening rod of the death of George Floyd all contribute to this third wave.


Read the full article here. This article was first published as a part of the British Psychological Society Political Psychology Section – Summer 2020 Bulletin.



Three Fathers - Towards A Decolonized Po
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