African-American Cultural Manifestation in Psychology

One of the clearest expressions of an African-American cultural manifestation in psychology was provided by White in the first edition of The Psychology of Blacks. White believed that the African ethos helped to create a collective psychological space for African Americans independent of their op- pressors where they could generate a sense of worth, dignity, affiliation, and mutual support. Included in the delineation of that ethos, despite the historical context of slavery and oppression, were principles and practices such as self- determination and definition; the intergenerational continuity enhanced by and through the oral tradition; a strong religious faith, including participation in or- ganized worship; immediate and extended family supports; language and ex- pressive patterns; and personal expressions through music and the arts.

 Thus, let’s review these again to ensure that you have a firm grasp of the differences in worldviews between certain cultural groups. In contrasting the African-American and European-American worldview across selected primary dimensions, Parham suggests that the “designs for living” be seen in the adherence to particular value systems by each cultural group. He first identifies eight variables that are then used to compare and contrast the two culturally different worldviews. The dimensions are listed as self, feelings, sur- vival, language, time, universe, death, and worth. On one end of the spectrum is a Euro-American worldview; on the opposite end, the African American.

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