African Psychology Essay, Research Paper
Black Consciousness has been defined as an attitude of the mind and a way of life. Therefore, the purpose of teaching Black Consciousness was to conquer feelings of black inferiority and replace it with a new solid social identity which encouraged black pride and independence from white oppression. Africans should reject the myths from which Apartheid was conceived, where blacks were depicted as inferior, savage, simple and having a primitive culture which needed to be modernized. Rather blacks should believe in their true identity of being survivors with the utmost human dignity. Black people needed to become aware of their collective power both economically and politically. People of African descent must create their own value system, where they were self-defined not defined by white superiors.
Therefore Black Consciousness main belief was, that racial domination had become internalized, thus causing low self-esteem, which in turn allowed room for political disunity and encouraged a dependence on white leadership. The philosophy of Black Consciousness was to break this set of attitudes and form a new belief in black self-reliance and dignity. It was only when this was achieved could black the man truly be liberated both physically and mentally. The Black Consciousness philosophy was an agenda for ideological realignment and political revitalization, which could rebuild and recondition the mind of the oppressed. This ideology brought a new sophistication and insight into the analysis of African psychology.
An important psychological shift advocated by the Black Conscious Movement was the redefinition of blackness. No longer would Africans accept the negative label of non-white , they refused to be regarded as non-persons but demanded to be called positively as black. This definition of black was not race or class exclusive rather it sought to incorporate all people who were discriminated against and denied access to white privileges under the oppressive apartheid regime. The definition of blackness is actually somewhat complex, the path to understanding it leads to certain directions. First off, that being black was a mental attitude, not just a matter of skin pigmentation. Secondly, by merely acknowledging that one is black already sets oneself along the road of emancipation.
Another strong belief of the African Psychologists, of the was his rejection of Euro-American methods of measuring the intelligence and behavior of Black People. Psychologists believe that blacks needed to be self-reliant. They needed to do things for themselves, by themselves, instead of relying on the Euro-American or Western psychologists as the standards or absolutes. The Black Psychologists advocate that white psychologists could not truly understand the black mind-state because they “view the oppression of blacks as a problem that has to be solved, an eyesore spoiling an otherwise beautiful view” as stated by Na im Akbar. This belief seen as false and is followed up by the truth that there was nothing the matter with blacks. The problem is the Euro-culture wants to imprint their dominance on the African by using culturally biased test which are skewed to favor those of European descent, the sooner that blacks realize this, the quicker we will understand the root of this and a push for culturally unbiased tests can be made. Also the standards of behavior are created by Western Psychologists to therefore represent those of European descent, and that people of African descent should not be expected to behave like whites when put in certain situations, and therefore should not be criticized for behaving naturally.
In conclusion, the black individual and the white individual must understand that due to their diverse cultural backgrounds, there is actually no way to test both out on an even scale as long as a single race dominates how the tests are made. African philosophy highly believes that the point of life is a search for identity and that the search has been corrupted by those who would find it beneficial to have results that cause public opinion to look down on those who fall behind others on the test.