Week 13: Black Psychology Part 2

First, a few housekeeping details:

  • Remember that this class doesn’t use Blackboard. Check the course website every week for updates and detailed reading instructions which will appear on this page
  • Weekly discussion post update: Remember to keep up with your comments/replies!

Quick highlights from Week 12 (4/14)’s class:

  • Reviewed the first half of Chapter 10 on Black Psychology in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies
  • Lecture notes posted in the usual spot
  • In-class video: Dr. Wade Nobles’s “A Brief History of ABPSi” on YouTube
  • In-class video: Dr. Joy DeGruy’s “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” on YouTube (5 minute Intro) / 1 hour 21 minute full presentation
  • Musical intro: Ice-T’s “Mind Over Matter” Listen on YouTube
  • Musical interlude: James Brown “Mind Power” Listen on YouTube

For Wednesday 4/28, (Week 13), there are 2 texts: 1) part of chapter 10 (Black Psychology) in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies 2) an article from Dr. Amos Wilson, which is a PDF located on the readings page

Class will start with a guest speaker for approx. the first hour on African-centered social work practice:

Karen C.W. Drakeford LCSW, APP – (aka Mut Nfrt Ka Raet, or Nfr KaRa for short. Translated: the deep mothering energy from within that emanates goodness from the enlightened spirit), principal of Mut’s Mer, LTD. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and her masters in social work from Hunter College in New York City. She is also certified in hypnotherapy, play therapy, polarity and wholistic consultations. Karen Drakeford has trained with holistic experts such as Dr. Llaila Afrika, Dr. John Beaulieu and Queen Afua.

Ms. Drakeford’s world travels and studies have allowed her to infuse sensitivity to a diverse spectrum of cultures. She has worked as a clinical social worker in the New York City Public Schools for more than twenty years and maintains a private practice in which she works with children, adults, couples and families. Her practice infuses a variety of traditional and holistic approaches.

For the second half of class, read the following:

1-READ the second half of chapter 10 (Black Psychology-pp. 408-422)) in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies which has the following sections:

  • The Radical School (10.3)
  • Ethos (10.4)

2-Amos N. Wilson: “The Social Bases of Self-Esteem” from Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children. (10 pp PDF on the Readings page)

What to read for:

Chapter 10 gives an overview of the broad field of Black Psychology. It starts with a brief overview of the history followed by specific examples of practitioners who began to shape the response to their field, followed by the developments of the 1970s and beyond where a more defined response rooted in culture and experiences of African people outside of dominant theories takes hold. This week, focus on the different approaches of the people summarized in this week’s section of the textbook and read the section “Ethos” (10.4) slowly and carefully. Think about Wilson’s arguments for positive self esteem in children.

RESPOND to one idea in the textbook chapter or the PDF and DISCUSS it with classmates and myself with the comment board at the bottom of this post

ATTEND the weekly Zoom session @ 6 PM EST on Wednesday April 28

General reading strategies:

  • Underline/highlight key points in the text
  • Use the reading questions at the back of chapters to focus you: read those first
  • Try to understand the definitions of the key concepts listed at the back of the chapter
  • Make a note to ask the instructor to clarify anything you don’t understand
  • Note key issues, approaches, and dilemmas/challenges Dr. Karenga outlines

Discussion questions

  • See chapter/essay highlights above

Additional Resources:

What’s Next?


Comments on posts:

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post for the “Leave a Comment” button below. Here’s how it works: you can use this to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates
  • The comments section closes 14 days after a post goes live

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either the reading or my lecture using some of the questions raised or conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. You can also ask a question–for me or others–but that doesn’t count toward your comment and reply needed for the grade. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have two weeks to write those two comments for credit.


27 thoughts on “Week 13: Black Psychology Part 2

  1. while reading the second part of chapter 10 in the texbookk Introduction to Black Studies when it comes to ethos it. is a persons or peoples self- consciousness and self- definition. It is defined by their thought and practice in at least the other six fundamental areas of culture, history, religion, social organization, economic organization, political organization, and creative production.


  2. This was a really interesting chapter for the many different approaches presented and theories established or supported by leading Black psychologists and scholars (Akbar, Kambon, Myers, Nobles, Welsing, Wright, and Wilson). While there are differentiating ideas in each, what most seemed to have in common is the concept of starting from ancient Africa, which I found really interesting. Just like Diop and many other scholars have pointed out, that’s where cultural identity and heritage began and, therefore, Black psychology and mental health must start there as a place of affirmation, ideals, and self-realization.

    Many of the ideas stated in this section also reminded me of Dr. Ladner, the sociologist, and her extremely compelling point that you cannot fairly assess one’s present circumstances without also fully assessing the social context it exists within.

    So from all of these schools of thought, I took away that Black psychology must be first explored from an Afrocentric point of view (i.e. rooted in African philosophy and contrasting that with the inhuman conditions imposed from the European Whites), the European/White systems (social, economic, medical) need to be looked askance at (at best) and not be used to approach healing for all, and certainly not those oppressed by those systems in the first place, and finally, that once these things have been done, the mentally healthy person is now able to achieve their fullest potential. Dr. Karenga says on page 420/421: “To know oneself is to grasp the essences of one’s past, one’s present and especially one’s future possibilities and thereby know who you are by what you have done and thus what you are capable of doing and becoming based on past achievement against natural and social oppositions and through knowledge of what and who you can and ought to be.” I can’t help but be reminded of Dr. Clarke and his definition of history using the compass analogy. It makes a lot of sense that, just as it is important to explore and remember the entire context of a people’s history in socio-economics, etc, it is vital in the process of mental health.

    – Julie W.


  3. Bobby Wright had what we call today no filter, because he had no problem calling white people psychopaths. In his essay The Psychopathic Racial Personality Mr. Wright stated that whites were the mortal danger to black people, and then he proceeded to analyze their behavior. He stated that psychopaths’ is defined by the lack of concern or commitment except to their own interest and white people showed their psychotic behavior when they oppress and exploit black people and show no ethics or moral behavior. I completely agree with him, till this day white people, especially white cops would kill black people with no remorse and they would hide behind their white privilege and badge and they would try to justify their immoral behaviors.


    • Hello Joyce, I agree with everything that you are saying. I also wanted to add on that Frances Cress Welsing stated something called genetic extinction which basically means whites genes are going extinct. Whites become hostile and aggressive because they are afraid of being wiped out. That connects with what you said about the white cops killing black people because they want to wipe blacks out, because their is not alot of whites out there.


      • I agree with you, now more than ever we are seeing so many biracial people. Biracial people who embrace their black side more than their white side. As this keeps growing, we will definitely see more hostile behavior from white people as their genetic becomes extinct.


    • @joyce yes i agree, i was reading the same page and this is very true .. everything still the same. white people are been using their white privilege to oppress our black and latino community


    • Joyce
      I too belive he had no filter. I wish many more of us today was like he was back then . He called a spade a spade . White privilege will never go away. Why would they be remorseful when they see blacks as their targets and it is justify almost all the times. I am proud to identify as black even though I am a product of a biracial relationship.


  4. While, I was reading the textbook, I found Amos Wilson’s point of view interesting on black psychology. A specific part that I found, interesting is when he suggested that Blacks were trained to use the right part of their brain which processes information. I found that interesting because Blacks were so whitewashed by the Europeans that it affected their way of viewing themselves. They were viewing themselves from a European point of view and it impacted blacks in a negative way because their were stereotypes. Wilson suggested that there should be proper education for black to children to develop self-consciousness at an early age.


    • Hey Teliah, I agree with your statement about black people being whitewashed by Europeans. In many of the places, Europeans called everyone they enslaved “uncivilized”, they were teaching other people how to live. White people from the beginning always made black people think that they were nothing- that their culture didn’t matter at all which made black people also dislike their own culture. In one of the articles I read, black people were carrying two identities- one of their own and another one that the world wanted to carry.


    • Piggybacking on what you analyzed, I do feel like it should be a requirement for all children to learn about self-consciousness because society constantly tries to configure our brains and what we think about ourselves. We are so influenced sometimes by others that we deteriorate our true meaning of self and how we feel. I think that all of this will be halted if we do design some type of class or mechanism of thinking presented in schools that children will be required to take and over time strengthens and develops self awareness and strong sense of self.


    • HI Telah,
      One of the things that I have learned in this class is the concept of” Point of reference” which in something simple yet it never crossed my mind and I assume this also holds true to most individuals of African descent. One of the biggest issues affecting people of African decent is the feeling of never being good enough giving the fact that people of African descent are and to measure themselves by Eurocentric standards or standards that are not applicable.


  5. As I was reading the chapter, I came across something really interesting. Page 409 paragraph 7 talks about the challenges that black men have to face to step into manhood. it is more like a process that a person must go through “concerning the transformation of African consciousness.” As the book explains that the first step requires a discipline- both external and internal. I like how it states that in order to transform a boy into a man is knowledge. Knowledge is one of the most important parts of human life, If you don’t have the knowledge you had nothing. Knowledge is what makes us who we are. One important part I found in this paragraph is the quote “Consciousness is a natural possibility or potential, but it must be tended and guided in order for it to develop properly.” I really like this quote because it brings forth the importance of consciousness. Everyone has consciousness yet many don’t know how to use it. Therefore, it’s important to be guided in order for your consciousness to mature properly.


    • Hey Monika,

      I really agree with you on the consciousness part. Consciousness is something many of us don’t know how to get in tune with and is hard to reach. Discipline is really important to learn how to use consciousness in a positive way.


  6. I was reading chapter 10 on page 419 and what surprised me the most was the way Bobby Wright wrote about black psychology between 1975 or 1981 and openly accuses whites (Europeans) of being the true psychopaths and that they were a danger to African-American society for abusing and oppressing the black.Despite these statements, I still think that nothing has changed in the middle of 2021, the white continues to use that privilege to oppress, abuse, kill and violate the rights of the black in these times.


    • Hi Brigida,
      This was fascinating to me as well. All of the Psychologists in the Radical School really had some provocative and compelling ideas that are worth really taking into account. And the point you mentioned from the book makes a lot of sense…the European way of dominance (and any culture that behaves similarly and calls themselves civilized at the same time) throughout history could certainly be considered psychopathic!

      -Julie W


  7. This chapter is very interesting in how was it explains the self-awareness of the phycology about the African community. It’s interesting to understand how they see themselves compared to their outside world.


    • African American’s are used to the struggle and their surroundings and in spite of their struggle, they

      are strong minded individuals who are used to oppression.


  8. This reading was fairly interesting, I loved how Europeans were faulted for being insane and oppressing Blacks. I feel like it’s such a weird thing to think that the people doing the hurting were always portrayed as the “victims” when from the start they were the criminals. Whites will continue to use their power and privilege as long as they know they have back up from authorities. It is 2021 and black people have not yet received compensation for over 400 years of oppression, and continue to be oppressed. Also, I read something that said white people are going extinct, that’s why the Asian hate bill was passed because they need an alliance now that their kind are dispersing at a high rate. Something to think about.


    • I agree with your statement about Blacks not having their compensation of oppression, Whites still have that mindset as if they’re more superior than Blacks and fail to realize we are all the same in a sense just with different skin colors. Also thank you for the additional information on the Whites going extinct, I didn’t know that info.


    • Oppression is always going to be a part of Black history, all it takes is seeking Liberation and to stand

      out and make a mark for yourself etc.


  9. In the second half of the chapter, it talks about the different perspectives of Black Psychology from Black Psychology models. For example, Amos Wilson claimed the Black history is a heredity thing and Black supremacy in the areas of the brain is connected to amount of melanin. Another example, Bobby Wright labelled Whites as psychopaths because of their cruel and hatred behaviors towards people of color. The chapter also talked about ethos where it talks about people’s self-consciousness and self-identity.


  10. The second part of the chapter focuses on people like Na’Im Akbar, Bobby Wright, Linda James Myers, Wade Noble and more people part of the radical school who made contributions to Black Psychology. Somebody that really stood out to me was Bobby Wright, because he didn’t hold back from saying the things that needed to be said. He spoke about the need to finally fight the “matador” which is referring to the White oppressors. Also, he referred to white people as psychopaths because of their pattern of harming black people, using the word of God to cause harm, not being able to take accountability for their actions and learn from past experiences. Bobby suggest that black people should respond with equal measure and realize what the oppressor has done and fight against it.


  11. Chapter 10 Black Psychology for example talked about Worldview and liberation and oppression,

    and the definitional system. It talked about how Europeans were seen as powerful and superior and

    blacks were lower ranked. society is basically hard for African Americans but will have to play in to society.


  12. Awaking the natural Genius of black children was an interesting read. Dr. Amos Wilson touched on the knowledge gap and how individuals on African descent tend to stay away from science and studies that will challenge them intellectually. I believe the point still holds true for the most part but now we have seen a large number of individuals of African decent venture into the higher education and not seeing sports of music as the only option, however we still have a large number of individuals from an African descent demonstration an alienated self-concept as described by Dr. Amos Wilson.


  13. Ethos. This topic enthralls me on its own. Why because it is the sum of ones achievements that define them. If this were worded any differently than this word would be mistaken for stereotypes. However if you may I would like to talk more about how they both reflect on Black psychology. My thought well more of a question really was would it be better to share ethos rather than stereotypes. Think about it if two nations in a sense struggled together in an achievement, then there wouldn’t be such animosity between two types of people. However when you share stereotypes you generally share the same pain of said stereotype but also the same comfort in it. I mean black psychology in my opinion would have surfaced a lot quicker if people really payed attention to ethos. People would see the struggle African American went through to free themselves. they would see this achievement and possibly remember that with every struggle that happens. It leaves a scar of trauma. However people didn’t see the slaves freedom as an achievement.


  14. This was an interesting topic that made me go into deep thoughts. I kind of focus on how Kenneth Clark criticize psychology because it focus on the individual without thinking of the larger perspective of oppression.

    Dr.Karenga made mention of three schools of black Psychology: Traditionalist reformist and radical. These schools had very different views where white and black psychology is concern and path that was taken in making change. The traditionalist they focus on redefining psychology on o whole, they were very critical of psychology however they did not offer nothing that was substantive in correcting it.
    The reformist they wanted to develop black psychology that focus its attention on benefiting blacks and general culture. They did not place they emphasis on white attitude however the place focus on changes on public policy.
    The radicals they focus on the treatment and transformation of black people.


  15. The study of African-Americans’ ideas, behaviors, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, interactions, and well-being is known as black psychology.Black Psychology is a unique and autonomous branch of psychology based on an African worldview and ethos. To address the well-being of African people and abolish social, economic, and political injustice, afrocentric psychologists develop paradigms, practices, and approaches in conformity with the principles of the African worldview.


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