Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Psychedelic privilege: are DMT entities racist?

DMT users often come across strange beings called machine elves, dispensing advice and adventure. They were thought to be benevolent—but we can no longer ignore the Black DMT experience.

Safe and recreational drugs is one of the many important cultural contributions that folks of color have made in the 20th century. Whether it’s responsible Hennessey drinking or the cornucopia of culture that is cannabis, we invented it long before white folks prostituted it to consumerism. But there’s one drug that’s unquestionably and uniquely shrouded in whiteness — a “white drug,” if you will. We’re not talking about cocaine: it’s DMT.

Pot of ayahuasca
A pot of ayahuasca

Everywhere you look, you can find the whitest cishet men singing the praises of DMT or related psychedelics, from Joe Rogan to Post Malone. And in case you expected it from all the white men being involved, the truth is that there are (unsurprisingly) hidden layers of racism here.

You see, DMT may be shrouded in whiteness nowadays, but like everything else that you think is white, the drug actually has Latinx origins. Yes — clearly jealous of their lacking cultural contributions in the sphere of recreational drugs, white folks decided to just outright culturally appropriate one.

But if you remove cishet white men from the equation, then you’ll find that DMT actually has a history much richer and more diverse than a hardtack cracker. To understand the Latinx history of DMT, you first need to understand ayahuasca. To put it short and sweet, ayahuasca is the main psychoactive ingredient in DMT. Ayahuasca is a natural plant that naturally grows in nature (just like marijuana), meaning it’s safe. It has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples around the Amazon basin in spiritual rituals.

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2 replies »

  1. “Ayahuasca is a natural plant that naturally grows in nature (just like marijuana), meaning it’s safe.” – I am pro ayahuasca, but this is just the naturalistic fallacy. My father always used to say “snake’s poison is also natural.”

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