On tokenising justice

In studying colonial histories, what we begin to understand is that capitalism was indeed the driving force behind colonialism. Quijano & Ennis (2000) argue that the emergence and formalisation of the scientific category of ‘race’ that occurred concurrently with capitalist expansion justified colonialist settlement, extraction and exploitation of natural resources for the global market. The capitalism of today continues to be a colonial project built upon fabricated images of a benevolent West, whilst concealing the violent histories that were instrumental in producing present-day material conditions but further obscuring the West’s role in sustaining the economic disparities.  

What has been apparent in history is that capitalism does not break, it bends. It adapts and adopts any modality possible. As I write this I am deeply unsettled by how social justice has been commodified and tokenised by educational institutions, universities, and training centres. Whilst using the language of justice, atrociously unjust and uncaring practices and processes are being carried out right behind the gigantic banner of equity. Has language failed us? Have we given undue importance to language that the materialities of care have slipped through our fingers?

Sid Mohandas is a former Montessori educator and teacher trainer, who is currently doing their doctorate at Middlesex University investigating gender in Montessori spaces using feminist ‘new’ materialist theories. Sid is the founder of The Male Montessorian and Montistory projects. They are also a guest lecturer for the Master’s program module Interrogating Policy and Practice for Social Justice at Middlesex University.


Quijano, A., & Ennis, M. (2000). Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America. Nepantla: Views from South 1(3), 533-580. https://www.muse.jhu.edu/article/23906.