Critical Response Essay

1081 words - 5 pages

“What is Black/African American Psychology,” was one the first question asked to us students on the first day of class. A lot of us gave out answers, such as it is a study of the behavior of African Americans. Some said that this course would explain why “we act the way [that] we do.” I really had no specific or scholarly answer myself, but I knew I would be in for a treat. However, after reading the articles, Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches to African and African American Psychology and Foundations For an African American Psychology, I find myself more enlightened and informed about the topic. In fact, I could no longer call it a topic. It is a discipline that has been defended for many years by many Black/African scholars.
The author of this article is addressing the psychiatry/psychology literature that holds preconceived notions of blacks being inferior and less than their white counterparts. He expresses that white supremacists had intertwined racism and discriminatory language to discredit, denigrate, and degrade people of African-descent in order to create uphold their superior status and validate their wrong-doing. Parham critiques Eurocentric psychology in a manner that discredits many European historical contributors.
Parham makes many arguments and complaints throughout his article. He uses other African/Black contributors who paved the way of gaining such knowledge and respect of the African people. One of his claims is that traditional psychology did not take into account the time nor place in which African-descents manifested their beliefs, core values and ideas. His complaint is that the discipline did not identify people of African-descent by culture or history, but only by their race which is an artificial construct created by white supremacists to control and dehumanize Blacks. The obsession with race and the need to socially divide people spilled over into their work, causing it to be unreliable and invalidate. Parham states that there is no way one ethnic group can speak or create a study of why a certain group behaves in the manner that it does. They have the tendency of suing a European norm as a standard by which Blacks always fail to the disadvantage. I say “have” because it still carries on today. Certain behaviors and experiences cannot be explained or universalized to all ethnic groups, because we all originated from different places and backgrounds. As I reflect over the article, I find myself not shocked, but highly upset. I began to question my textbooks that I pay hundreds of dollars for. I began to question all the teachings from numerous professors. I knew that in the past, blacks have always seemed inferior and slower than all of the other ethnic groups, when describing their families, intellect, behaviors and so forth. We have the highest death rate, the lowest employment rate and the most crime rates. We seem to be the less preferred race, the least educated, and most aggressive ethnic group at...

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