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Why Black Psychology Matters

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Excerpt from Psychology Today:

When I was a young Assistant Professor, I remember having a conversation with one of my African American graduate students. She was upset because she had a conversation with our White Department Chair, and he essentially told her that there was no such thing as Black psychology. This was confusing to the student, given the existence of the Association of Black Psychologists and the Journal of Black Psychology.

Like many White and older psychologists, he had been trained to understand psychology as a color-blind scientific discipline. For him, there could not possibly be a Black psychology because he had never learned about it in his training, and had presumably never read any articles from the Journal of Black Psychology.

Fast forward many years later, and I was having another conversation at a different university with African American students. They were upset because they received an email from their White Department Chair that was a response to their request to receive departmental support for the Association of Black Psychologists’ student organization.

The Chair responded by saying that there were very few faculty who actually study ethnicity, race, or cultural issues in the department because these issues were not central in the field of psychology. The Chair suggested that much better research on these issues existed in sociology, education, and African and African Diaspora Studies. Finally, the Chair emphasized that for him, diversity should be reflected by the faculty, but not in what the discipline should study.

It is experiences like these, along with the many stories I could share regarding my time as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Black Psychology—where I fought to promote and defend the integrity of Black psychology as a discipline—that have led to the focus of this blog.

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