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Black Psychology A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste.

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Presentation on theme: "Black Psychology A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste."— Presentation transcript:

1 Black Psychology A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste

2 Traditional Psychology Perspectives Euro-American Value Culturally Biased Afriphobic Dismissive of Africa Scientifically racist

3 Black Psychology African American experience is quite different. Black psychologist look to worldviews or social realities as an explanation of the disparities among the ethnicities.

4 “Black psychology and the psychology of Blackness reflect an attempt to build a conceptual model that organizes, explains, and leads to understanding the psychological behavior of African- Americans based on the primary dimensions of an African-American world view.”

5 Types of Black Psychology according to Maulena Karenga Traditional – apply European norms in analyzing Black behavior. Reformist – adapt conventional thought to conform to African American “experience with little regard for African foundations.” Radical – African ethos is the way to analyze Black behavior independent of European theory. It includes “African religion, philosophy, spiritualism, ritualism, concept of time, and worldview as the foundation of Black psychology.”

6 The Differences Africans Nature – seek harmony and unity Person – seek collectivism Relationships – seek to work with others in an egalitarian way Religion – spiritual Transformation -- rituals Europeans Nature – dominance and control Person – seek individualism Relationships – seek to dominate others through hierarchy Religion – rational Transformation -- aggression

7 Key words Rhythm Oral tradition Soul Extended self Natural Survival of the group

8 Psychological Dimensions of Oppression Slavery and Racism

9 Slavery on Black Psychology Slavery lasted for more than 300 years Emancipation was proclaimed about 140 years ago. Legalized segregation ended only about 50 years ago. Attitudes and feelings still persist.

10 The Torture of Slavery “Slavery was an enduring form of torture of the minds, bodies and souls of Africans.”

11 The Effects of Slavery The effects of slavery on the African was pervasive. The enslaved were: Brainwashed Afflicted with self rejection and alienation Made to fear their captors Developed a dependency

12 Making Slaves The House Negro and the Field Negro

13 Kenneth M Stampp He says that there were three five steps to controlling the enslaved used by the planters: Establish and maintain strict discipline Convince the African that he was inferior Awe them with the slave holders sense of power Persuade the bondsman to take an active interest in the slave holders well-being Imbue a sense of helplessness within

14 Akbar and Wright Na’im Akbar and Bobby Wright contend that slavery continues to have a influence on the psychology of African Americans. Akbar contends that certain “individual behaviors are influenced by collective factors which are historically remote.”

15 Attitudes related to were affected by slavery Property Work Leadership “Clowning” Personal inferiority Community division Family instability Color consciousness

16 Property – mixed feelings. On one hand slaves would get pleasure in destroying the slaveholders property. On the other hand blacks were attracted to these material things. Work – because of inadequate compensation work was punishment and therefore avoided.

17 Leadership – leaders were eliminated, downplayed or co- opted to serve the interest of the slave holders. Consequently blacks became “hesitant toward strong Black leaders.” Unity – unity was affected by the social stratification of the field slave versus the house slave. The semi free and mulatto slaves were used to divide the community.

18 Family life – families were split indiscriminately and strong family ties were discouraged. Slaves were used as studs, multiplicity of partners was encouraged. Clowning – blacks were “allowed” to entertain whites as jester, clown or fool. This accounts for the “over representation” of blacks in the entertainment industry.

19 Akbar and Fanon “Both slavery and colonialism causes the victims to internalize certain destructive behavioral traits or characteristics which contribute to their continued oppression long after freedom or decolonization has been achieved.”

20 Most Black psychologist support the idea the racism is the source of social dysfunction, aberrant behavior and cultural alienation and continue to impact the mental health of African Americans. “Racism is the abstract component of physical racial slavery.”

21 The Effects of Racism The Mental Health Dilemma

22 Black and White Approaches Most Black psychologist argue that the European model for psychology is not adaptable to Black behavior, personality, and mental functions.

23 Racism affects Worldview Self Perception Perception of others Vocation Education Religious Preference Outlook on life Perspective on Money Material Relationships Self potential Government Authority

24 and Mental Health

25 “... racism and racial antagonism cause African Americans to an undue amount of depression, stress, anger and hypertension.” Improper coping mechanisms can lead to social and biological problems. Although there may be many factors which lead to depression, including some biological ones, it is logical to think that racism and discrimination may play a role in it.

26 “Race and color more than any other factors, determines the collective quality of life, achievement potential, health and life- chances of African Americans.” Even in the face of this African Americans manage to develop positive coping mechanisms and very often push themselves to achieve to disprove the stereotype.

27 However the tremendous drive to succeed may itself contribute to depression, anger, alienation, etc.

28 Telos The goal of Black psychologist is to understand Blacks and provide means by which they can develop healthy psychological functioning.

29 W.E. Cross stages Cross outline five stages of Blacks from weak Negro to strong positive self image. Pre-encounter Encounter Immersion-Emersion Internalization Internalization-Commitment

30 The Stages of Healthy Development Pre-encounter – Devoid of any black frame of reference. Embraces all things European and is Afriphobic Encounter – The person encounters a racial incident which moves that person to explore her Blackness. Immersion/emersion – The person become immersed in anything and everything black. She adopts black clothes, hairstyle, speech and mannerisms.

31 Internalization – She becomes comfortable with her new Black identity. She thinks and acts Black. Internalization/commitment – At this stage she has committed herself to being Black consciously. She is not only culturally sure but “politically committed towards the eradication of racial injustice and irresponsibility.

32 African Characteristics A Proposed Remedy for the Black Psyche Overly Exposed to Racism

33 Wade Nobles Noted African American scholar puts forth a Black Psychology that uses African Philosophy as its model.

34 African Ethos People are part of nature; the natural rhythm of life Collective effort is the survival of the tribe

35 Five Features Philosophy and Religion Notion of Unity Concept of Time Death and Immortality Kinship and Collective Unity

36 Philosophy and Religion There exists a strong relationship between philosophy and religion. Collective consciousness Oral traditions

37 Notion of Unity Human beings are part of nature. Humans are the center but not apart from others (animals, plants and natural phenomena).

38 Concept of Time Time is present and past. Time is also event conscious as opposed to number conscious. Two Swahili words: Sasa – present Zamani – past

39 Death and Immortality Death was part of the rhythm of life. After one died one lived as long as one was remembered and recognized by those who knew the person.

40 Kinship and Collective Unity Kinship controlled all relations in the community and included animals, plants and non-living objects.

41 African American community is Experiential community Africans do not go for the mind/body split where the body is bad and the mind is good.


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