What Is Black Psychology

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Black psychology, in my opinion, is the study of behavior and mental processes of African Americans as it pertains to our identity as African Americans, identity as Americans, struggle with oppression, and being able to deal with white supremacy. Black psychology wants to know how we as African Americans deal with these former issues and continue to survive. According to John S. Mbiti, "African people behave and are motivated by what they believe, and what they believe is based on what they experience". I agree with this statement because indeed our experiences shape our perception of the world around us and will cause us to act in a manner that will reflect such experiences. It aids in our identity development not only as African Americans, but also as Americans. Oral tradition is one way in which we are able to identify as African Americans and it helps in understanding our behavior and our cognitive processes. Our behavior and mental processes can also be measured by our religious beliefs. The stories and experiences of our ancestors and our current actions and beliefs motivate us to sometimes go against the world view. This is in agreement with Mbiti's quote. The definition of Black Psychology is not one specific thing. There are many criteria that go into the development of a working definition. To me, it is mainly based on opinion. My opinion is that it is based on experience and identity. If one can not identify with being African American, they can not define Black Psychology.
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