Black Psychology

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Divided Among two Different Views of the World: But this is my Story

Michelle Williams

Black Psychology

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Abstract:
This is an autobiographical essay where I briefly analyzes and interpret significant and impactful events that has transpired over my last 20 years in my life from school to my community in Portland, Oregon. The objective of this essay is to connect concepts and the course objectives related to Black Psychology which I enrolled in at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) spring 2009 term. The outline for this essay is in a chronological age order starting from my birth in 1988 till my current experience at FAMU. The book that is mainly referenced in this essay is the Kobi K. Kambon textbook African/ Black Psychology in American Context: An African Centered Approach along with Joseph Baldwin’s class lectures that I attended.

Divided Among two Different Views of the World: But this is my Story

The idea that a black person is from Portland, Oregon seems to be shocking information for certain African-Americans. Once I introduce myself to new friends and professors who never traveled to Portland or were never informed that “Black people” live in Oregon. Many are intrigued by this information and have a quest to know more. So to answer that question, yes there are blacks who live in Oregon. I am a product of Oregon I, Michelle Williams, was born and raised in the urban community in Portland amongst other African-Americans. One may assume that I had a difficult time growing up in Oregon. Experiencing discrimination, racism, or identity crisis; however, my six siblings and I never did. Although, I did not experience those types of issues, I understood that in Portland, the Black race was the minority and Europeans were the majority in the race factor. In addition, do not assume that my family lineage only lines in Oregon, on both sides of my family southern roots run deep. Therefore, southern traditions, values, morals, beliefs, and customs were inbreeded into my up brings. Without questions, I am an African-American woman from Portland, Oregon; however, my geographic region does not define my blackness, nor does it determine if I am capable of experiencing hardships like my fellow peers who were raised in Southern states. In my early childhood, I resided with my maternal grandmother due to my parent’s abuse to their environment and the use of narcotics. However, my time spent with my grandmother was not in vein, yet filled with years of observing and learning how to uphold traditional southern values, which the modern world of psychology considers the “African/ Black Worldviews”. In the book, African/ Black Psychology in the American context: An African- Centered Approach Kobi K. Kambon explains the difference between the African/ Black and European Worldviews. The four components that compose the worldviews are: cosmology, ontology, axiology, and epistemology (Kambon, 1998) In the African/ African-American worldviews one are taught to believe in oneness/ harmony with nature, survival of the group, sameness; whereas the European Worldview have the notion of survival of the fittest, competiveness, independence, and uniqueness (being different). In my middle childhood my parents redirected their life, and my mother returned to college and obtained her bachelors and masters in Psychology with a minor in Black Studies at Portland State University. While in school she begun to incorporate her findings into her parenting. Although, my mother and I were led by Eurocentric teachings, my family and our surroundings reinforced the black/African-American Worldviews in the household. I recall myself adapting to the ideologies and beliefs of those who were not within my own indigenous cultural group. Kambon defines this experience as a black child who has been...
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