Another long but scholarly and cogent piece that covers all the bases in overstanding yt vs Us, particularly from a psycho-cultural prespective.Think of it as a Yurugu Synopsis.
AUTHORS OF A SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
By Na’im Akbar, PhD
Thomas Kuhn (1970), in his masterpiece The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, observed that “when recognized anomalies, whose characteristic ntrol and independence as desirable personality traits are essentially camouflaged descriptions of the rugged individualistic immigrant from Europe who conquered and settled the shores of North America. It is conceived as healthy to defy environmental obstacles and subdue them at all costs. The idea of subjecting the environment to the control of the powerful is implicit in such conceptualizations of human personality and motivation. It is only incidental if those obstacles happen to be other people, such as Native Americans or Africans. They are all dispensable if they stand in the way of European “fate control.” If you happen to be motivated by a sense of collective responsibility, belief in Supreme Providence, and a faith in a lawful, systematic, and orderly universe, then you are likely to be identified as having “low internal fate control” or being an “externalizer” which, of course, is correlated with the full range of negative traits from poor social and intellectual performance to the more serious forms of human mental disorder.
Another characteristic of this model that expands the concept of individuality is the view that mentally healthy and effectively functioning people are “competitive.” Human beings are axiomatically assumed to be in conflict and human accomplishment is realized through the triumph of one individual over another in the conflict. This is reflected in concepts such as achievement motivation and assertiveness. In fact, in recent years assertiveness has become such a desirable attribute that efforts have been designed for “assertiveness training.” If one is “too” passive, dependent, or cooperative, it is concluded that one needs skill in the assertive promulgation of self. This becomes a measure of one’s mental health.
We all are familiar with the extensive work of McClelland and Atkinson (1953) on achievement motivation. In the classic McClelland (1961) document, The Achieving Society, the conclusion was that one could lay claims to civilized (industrialized) human development only if one’s motivations were characterized by high need for achievement. Clearly, the research evaluations repeatedly show non-Caucasian, non-European, non-males, non-middleclass people to be predictably at the lower end of these dimensions of supposed “human strengths.”
We have failed to realize that in the garb of “science” the Western world has used these conceptualizations to legitimize the assertion of their racial and national supremacy. What has been assumed to be an apolitical, objective system is, in fact, the essence of Euro-American, Caucasian politics. When we as African-Americans innocently accept these characteristics as universal and adjudge ourselves according to these criteria we become agents perpetrating our own inferiority and affirming the superiority of Euro-American Caucasians.
Another characteristic of the existing Western model of social science is its futuristic orientation. The extent to which one’s behavior is directed toward some future goal is the degree to which one’s behavior is viewed as appropriate. If one does not have proper “delay of gratification” for the accomplishment of some future goal, then something is adjudged as deficient about one’s “individual ego.” The degree to which you are able to delay life processes to achieve some future goal is the degree to which you are effective as a human being. Clearly, the degree to which you have developed the characteristics of this model improves your chances for success in the current societal structure. The argument is whether such a norm is a universal description of human nature or the description of middle -class, Caucasian male of European descent. We have accepted as a model of reality his projection of himself as a universal image. Therefore, many of our descriptions and perceptions of others and ourselves are reflected by this alien mirror of self. Many of the judgments made by clinicians, educators, social service personnel, and others about the “ineffectiveness” of African-American behavior are conclusions based on this same model that assumes that Caucasian behavior is universally normative behavior. That is, low internal control, high achievement motivation, delay of gratification, and so forth are ways of describing the African American as non-Caucasian, which ultimately is irremediable.
Another characteristic in this list of attributes of the existing paradigm (a list not intended to be exhaustive) is the absence of affect in this model man. In order to be effective as a human being, you are required to be completely rational with no feelings, whatsoever. Feelings are considered irrelevant and disruptive to effective decision making processes. Great energy goes into the prohibition of emotion in “sound rational” processes. What occurs is a kind of passive insensitivity to human emotion that permits an American slavery system, an Auschwitz, or a neutron bomb (calmly described as capable of destroying all people, but leaving buildings and other physical structures standing.) With feelings absent there is no need to reconcile the discrepancies of an economic system that affords excessive opulence to the few and privation to the many. To the degree that one shows affect or emotion is the degree to which one is viewed as inappropriate, distracted, or just irrational and therefore undeserving of any serious attention. Any people who tend to have feelings and utilize subjective experience in their decision- making are viewed as being cognitively defective. It’s striking that the fantasy creation of Dr. Spock (on “Star Trek”) is presented in undesirable contrast to the “feeling” earthlings when you consider that Spock typifies the ideal of the Western scientist or rational scientific model of human beings (earthlings, even).
This is only a partial listing of some characteristics of the Western social science paradigm that guides contemporary thought, but I am certain that just a cursory review of the literature would show these attributes to have great prominence as implicit models of human normalcy. The vast majority of the literature asserts in subtle ways in the name of “empirical data” the supremacy of the model that I have identified. It is important that we understand that such “data” become a way to define reality. It is also true that such data are generated out of a paradigm that in turn substantiates the paradigm out of which it was generated. The questions that you ask determine the range of answers that you are able to receive. The paradigm dictates what are the appropriate questions.
Methodology of Western Science
The next issue is to understand that a methodology emerges from the paradigm that ultimately augments the paradigm. What is that methodology for the paradigm that we are discussing? According to Kazdin (1980), quoting Nagel (1961), Weimer (1976), and others:
The philosophy of science reveals among other things that there may be fundamental limitations from a logical standpoint in what experiments can provide in the way of knowing.... Even to speak of experimentation glosses over a host of assumptions about the legitimacy of empirical knowledge and how it is obtained.. . ..
Philosophy of science can cogently challenge the assumptions about the basis of empirical knowledge and, its logical limits.
In essence, we accept empiricism as incontrovertible truth, or at least a method to acquire such truth, while not dealing with the basis through which empiricism is evolved as a method. One such assumption that must be accepted is that the essence of reality is material. What is perceived by the senses is assumed to be “more real” than mental reality, and spiritual reality. (In fact, most empiricists would argue that there is not such reality that is mental or spiritual, except to the degree that it can be operationalized in an empirical way. One can be defined as a materialist when one accepts empiricism as the route to total truth. This is not to deny the dimensional validity of empiricism. The question is in regard to the Euro-American view that offers empirical fact as the truth. Europeans feel more comfortable and more in control of the material sphere, and it is for this reason that the material plane has been represented as the valid plane. Many African-American and even European historians and commentators have addressed this difference in approaches between the African and European frames of reality (Abraham, 1962; Diop, 1974; Mbiti, 1970; Nobles, 1980 and Williams, 1974). Richard King (1978) and others have even suggested that there may be a physiological basis for this difference in approaches to reality. In fact, there is reason to believe that even the system of capitalism is rooted in a basic philosophy of materialism. Many people have argued that materialism is an outgrowth of capitalism. I suggest here that the inverse is true i.e., a materialistic worldview gave rise to capitalism as well as related mind-sets such as racism and sexism. The assumption that external physical characteristics, whether it’s skin color and genital organs, can predetermine people’s abilities and potential for certain types of activities.
Another issue of Euro-American sciences is its methodology and particularly its reliance on statistical normality and assumptions about mathematical probability. The assumptions that equate measures of central tendency with naturalness or normality is an increasingly disturbing phenomenon. The pervasive and controlling concept of the average or mean in statistics produces some interesting conclusions about reality. Statements about normality can shift depending on increases and decreases in frequencies. It is interesting that such a tool, which essentially creates artificial or unnatural groupings depending on one’s universe of observation, has become the major instrument of Euro-American social scientists. The effort to define himself as a majority influence in a world in which he has minority status becomes a primary objective of the Euro-American male. If you restrict your sphere of observation and observe varying frequencies, you are equipped to change your definition of normality. A mathematical instrument of precision has been used to authenticate an imprecise assertion of their authority and normality and as legitimate models of human excellence.
Natural laws are eliminated as irrelevant in the wake of statistical probability, central tendencies, and mathematically predictable variation. The norm then gets arbitrarily shifted as the field of frequency varies. In an earlier statement I have referred to this phenomenon as “democratic sanity” (Akbar, 1981). In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual II (DSM II) there is a condition described as “sexual deviance or homosexuality.” In the later editions of this official description of mental disorder this “disorder” no longer exists. The only related residual is transexualism, or a “disorder” whereby a person seeks surgical alteration of his or her gender. The point is that politics have effectively altered the normative grouping of deviations. By virtue of an alternation in frequency (or at least visibility), it became possible to reorder or reclassify normality. In other words, mathematics actually is being used to define normality rather than the observation of phenomena as it occurs in the natural world.. To the extent that mathematics carries the aura of precision, by numbering phenomena, a guise of validity is created. When intelligence becomes a number (IQ) it is assumed to have a reality that the very definition of intelligence fails to confer.
Another assumption of the empirical methodology is that of objectivity. Jacob Carruthers (1972), in his paper entitled “Science and Oppression,” argues against the allegedly greatest virtue of science, which is supposed to be its alleged independence from the influence of values on the observation. One fact, that often is denied, is that the use of an “objective” approach does not fully exclude values because objectivity is a value. When an observer chooses to suspend from his or her observations certain levels of reacting, this is a value judgment. This is a critical value because it often involves dismissing certain important sources of information that could critically alter what is perceived as real. If we deal with only literal meaning of objective reality as the face value of phenomena, we immediately see the limitation in the superficial information that comes from surface information. This is true of material objects themselves, the function of which is seldom revealed by surface observation, but more commonly through subjective analysis. Certainly, this limitation is even more striking in the case of human beings. Science argues, however, that “objectivity” is the “valueless value” that should be adopted for uncluttered observation.
Objective research assumes that there is a particular observer/controller who has the right to manipulate conditions in order to isolate certain physical and measurable effects that he has designated as defining data. He assumes that he has the right to subject and manipulate things according to his will, which begins to make him God-like. This may sound a bit extreme, but there is great revelation in the language that is required in scientific enterprise. First of all, the beginning science student is taught never to refer to him- or herself as “I,” nor to his or her observations as “my.” In order to avoid subjectivity, one must first objectify oneself (which is supposed to magically remove the observer from participation in the activity). One does so by referring to oneself as the E (xperimenter), and one works with S (ubjects). The “E” then is able to objectify and manipulate what he works with. The “E” usually is or represents the paradigmatic image (i.e., Caucasian male of European descent). The subject becomes essentially everything and everybody else.
The other characteristic of the objective approach is the ordinal quantitative classification system. An ordinal classification system carries implicit requirement of a superordinate and subordinate or superior and inferior. Such a system justifies the presence of a controller (oppressor) and the
controlled (oppressed). In other words, such a methodological approach replicates and legitimizes “scientifically” what has already been established politically. It is striking that an ordinal system actually is inconsistent with the principles of equality and democracy established in the American ideals. Such a quantification system permits the objectification of human suffering and emotional difficulty. For example, personal turmoil and human misery becomes a score above 80 on the depression scale of the MMPI. People who either have alternative perspectives or are systematically blocked from adequate environmental opportunities are identified by a score of 85 in the dull normal range of intelligence on the WISC-R. Objectifying such imperatives for human action and reaction permits a neutralization of such conscience provoking realizations. A score of 70 does not carry the impetus for help-giving that an emotionally depressed and unhappy human being carries. An IQ score of 85 does not carry the impetus for political and social reform that frustrated human beings seeking societal effectiveness carry. A value system based on the societal ideals would necessitate certain types of remedial actions for such human conditions, but objectification permits a comfortable hypocrisy.
As African-American social scientists particularly, we must be sensitive to such subtle manipulations of our thinking and activities. We must realize that many of the efforts that might be intended toward our liberation result in our greater enslavement. We must understand the nature of the limitations in using the opposition’s weaponry in our own defense. Often the effort to eliminate the barriers to liberation results in fortifying those barriers because we do not realize the intricacy of our borrowed tools. An important example of this problem is the work of Kenneth Clark. He was a well-trained scientist who uncritically but effectively understood the use of this Western scientific methodology. He made the first major breakthrough in having the voice of the Africa American scientist heard by having his scientific work documented in the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas. We, of course, realize some 25 years later that this probably was one of the greater disasters of the political decisions regarding our fate in North America. The price paid in the educational destruction of our children by that decision and its aftermath will, no doubt, take us another 100 years to recover.
The kind of assumptions implicit in the Clark and Clark (1958) conclusions were so devastating that the outcomes of decisions based on such conclusions were predictably disastrous. We now know that even the data lacked validity, based on some recent findings and reanalyses (Semaj, 1979). Even short of the data, the paradigm that was utilized was already loaded with deadly assumptions. For example, one implication from the Clark findings was that it was psychologically unhealthy for “colored” children to go to school only with one another. According to Dr. Clark, “the outcome is likely to be self-hatred, lowered motivation, and so on.” Another conclusion implied from the data and made explicit in the Supreme Court decision is the idea that it is psychologically healthy for Black children to attend school with white children. Such an opportunity is likely to improve the African-American child’s self-concept, intellectual achievement, and overall social and psychological adjustment. There was no critique of the commensurate racist conditions within the society that accounted for such low self-esteem, lowered motivation and performance levels. The dreadful conclusion was that it was psychologically unhealthy for African American children to interact exclusively with each other, but there was no indication and any negative consequence of white children interacting exclusively with each other in segregated environments. The entire statement of the 1954 Supreme Court decision identifies the so-called“ damage” done to “Negro” children by the system of school segregation:
The segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of law: for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to retard educational and mental development of Negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system. We come then to the question presented—does segregation of children in public schools
solely on the basis of race deprive children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities. We believe that it does (excerpt from Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 US 483).
At no point does the statement identify the reality that in maintaining a system of segregation, not only are African-Americans hurt by the thwarted opportunity and abuse, but Caucasian children are raised as racists with the illusion of white supremacy. No research was quoted to identify the pathological implications of such a system or of racism itself. If you assume that the process of desegregation is benefiting only African-Americans, then implicit in such a conclusion is a perpetuation of precisely the system that you are allegedly seeking to correct. It is not surprising that the drop-outs, push-outs, suspensions, achievement levels, and overall academic performance of African-American children probably is much worse than it was before1954 in the overtly segregated school system. The kind of logic that was utilized in drawing these conclusions of dubious value to the oppressed people was rooted in the application of an implicitly destructive paradigm.
Empirical approaches to the study of human beings assume that such knowledge is primarily exoteric. The very devolved definition of psychology as the “study of behavior” personifies this conclusion. The concepts of consciousness, awareness, will and certainly unconsciousness have increasingly come to be looked upon as forbidden in “good scientific” psychology. From this perspective: material is sense, mind is nonsense, and spirit is nonexistent.
The Emergence of the New Paradigm
What then are the anomalies created by the existing paradigm that I am suggesting will give rise to the coming paradigm shift? Without a doubt, African-Americans and our genuine authentic characteristics personify these anomalies. In fact, women also are an anomaly within this paradigm, as is anyone who differs drastically from the essential (i.e., material) characteristics of the paradigmatic human being (i.e., Caucasian male of European descent with middle-class status). The greater the degree of your difference from this model, the more of an anomaly you are. African-Americans are anomalies because of their inability to manifest the characteristics required by this paradigm.
According to Kuhn (1970), “scientific revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense that an existing paradigm has ceased to function.” For a long time the paradigm has remained functional because it simply defined the anomalies who would not fit as abnormal or in some way deviant. A classification of “deviance” based on the model became a persistently simple way to dismiss the anomalies while maintaining control over their identity. Treatment or remediation was identified as any technique that could bring the deviant more in accord with the model. The explosion of the Black psychology movement in the late 1960s was a reaction to growing discontent with the consistent failure of non-white people to fit the model and the insistence that we should conform to the Caucasian middle class male model of humanity. When African-Americans consistently failed to fit the intellectual, emotional and social organizational patterns demanded by the alien model there evolved a growing challenge to the appropriateness of the model. A few African-American psychologists began to question the model, although the vast majority of African-American psychologists persisted in trying to force the “deviants” into the alien model. This is why we are still inundated by volumes of deficit data emanating from Afro-American and Euro-American psychologists alike.
The Black psychology movement, women’s psychology, Hispanic psychology, and Asian psychology all are statements about the limitations of the existing paradigm. The consistent claim is that the paradigm is malfunctioning and that new conceptualizations must begin to be articulated. An example of such an alternative concept has emerged from African psychology (an outgrowth of the Black psychology movement). The proponents of this conceptual framework (Clark et al., 1976; Nobles, 1980) suggest that a more valid ontological statement for African people is “I am because we are,” as opposed to the Cartesian notion that has shaped Euro-American thought as “I think therefore I am.”
The cogito ergo sum leads to a measure of intelligence as being one’s familiarity with the
objects and processes of an external environment. The volumes of data and controversy around the intelligence issue are based on this assumption of the cogito (I think, therefore I am). No one has yet dealt with implications for intelligence based on the assumptions of I am because we are. Such an assumption would lead to alternative concepts and measures of intelligence. Rather than assessing people’s ability to effectively manipulate material objects of the outer world, one would be concerned with assessing people’s adequacy in negotiating cooperative, amiable human relationships. With such criteria we might find the Western world to be a population of intellectually challenged human beings if they are assessed on the basis of their effective family and general human relations their tolerance of human diversity and capacity to relate to wide variations of human beings, their capacity for cooperation with their fellow human beings and their generally poor showing in effective interpersonal relationships. So long as the criterion remains one of adequacy in manipulating external objects, then people who often sacrifice objects on the basis of human values will continue to be seen as intellectually deficient while the human tyrants and technical tycoons will be models of human intellectual accomplishment. Again, I must caution
that I do not condemn the value, and even the necessity, of technological accomplishment; instead, I am asserting that it is of even greater importance that human beings should be adept at handling human relationships.
The paradigm shift comes with recognition of the existing paradigm’s inability to account for the failures in living. When that paradigm is unable to speak to the epidemic proportions of alcoholism and other self-destructive processes growing out of people’s failure to utilize their human resources and when emotional disorders begin to occur with greater frequency than physical disorders, we have a situation in which our technology has outflanked our mentality. We must begin to redefine reality in such a way that such problems can be corrected and a more universally applicable paradigm begins to emerge. Wade Nobles (1978) has defined power as
“the ability to define reality and to have others accept your definition as if it were their own.” As long as we accept alien definitions of reality and internalize them, we remain be powerless. If we can emerge with such new definitions and not be so thoroughly intimidated by the existing paradigm, we can begin to collect on our destiny.
There are movements even within the mainstream of psychology that are raising doubts about the effectiveness of the existing paradigms. Most prominent, perhaps, are the humanistic psychologists, who have revolted against the increasingly mechanized, dehumanized, ethnocentric conceptualizations that have come to characterize psychology out of the neo behaviorist and Skinnerian models of human functioning. Psychotherapists are admitting that their techniques do not work and are looking for other models to reduce human suffering. The family therapy movements, group therapy movements, and community psychology in general have been efforts to shift away from the insular, individualistic model described above. Paradoxically, these movements actually emulate “the traditional folk methods that have persisted in African, Native American and other non-European settings. African American social scientists have only recently begun to consider the kinds of activities and interventions that have permitted us to survive and often excel in the hostile and alien environments of the European American social reality.
The African-American experience itself is an anomaly for Western psychology. Given the existing conceptualizations of human functioning, stress-tolerance, psychological coping strategies, socialization of children, self-esteem, depression so many other dimensions of human functioning discussed even in traditional psychological theory, there should be no sane, emotionally stable, adequately functioning African Americans. Our very presence as effectively functioning scholars, fathers, mothers, citizens, even scientists actually contradicts their theories of human development. Western theories of psychology cannot account for just one W.E.B. DuBois at Harvard, or one Martin Luther King, Jr. or one George Washington Carver, Ben Carson or one Madame C.J. Walker, much less the tens of thousands of successful, well-functioning human beings in all aspects of this alien cultural experience.
The failures are predictable and the slave system and oppression of America are adequate explanations for these frustrated and self-destructive examples of African American failures. The paradigm does not account for the overwhelming evidence of human accomplishment that is more common among African-Americans than the failures their model would predict. The very theories that we as scholars use are erroneous by virtue of our presence here and even our ability to utilize those theories. Too often we find ourselves advocating certain models for our people that do not even account for our success. The vast majority of us are not raised by a “Parenting Manual” but by good, intuitive maternal affection and guidance. We have tons of data about how the few do not make it but very little information about how so many estranged and emotionally abused oppressed people do.
What are we doing here? How did we survive the oppression and assaults to our very physical being, not to mention our self-esteem? How did we survive the kind of material privation that, according to the existing paradigm, would assuredly destroy any vestige of humanity in the Western paradigmatic being? These are questions that our research has not bothered to address because the research has emerged from the alien paradigm. We must begin to address those exceptional cases of great accomplishment rather than being preoccupied with those exceptional cases of failure. The real anomalies are those who have achieved prominence despite oppression rather than those who have understandably succumbed to inhuman pressures and treatment such as that experienced under slavery and subsequent racial oppression.
Another area that creates severe contradictions for the existing paradigm is spirituality. This aspect of human life has been so thoroughly eliminated from the parameters of modern social science that it probably will take a couple of generations to reintegrate it into our studies of human beings. There is considerable evidence that the European scientists’ ongoing battle with the Christian church (and vice versa) has forced the European American scientists to isolate themselves from spiritual consideration in any form. The only way left available to them to pursue their studies was to create a dualistic universe that gave the church sway over the spiritual sphere and gave science dominion over the material sphere. The result is that an essential page from the annals of human study was removed and the subsequent distortions represent efforts to understand the human makeup without its essence. The African American experience and survival is the overwhelming evidence of the existence and potency of the transcendent human spirit and its resilience. The paradigm shift will necessarily accommodate this sphere, as the absence of spirituality is probably the source of much of the anonymity created by the existing model.
The Methodology of the New Paradigm
It is difficult to project the form of the methodology that will begin to document the presence of such intangibles. Certainly the existing methods relying on objective measures could not adequately infer this superordinate dimension. It may require the coerced presence of the skeptic and alien scientist in a “prayer meeting,” or a “juke joint,” and their subjective trepidation in experiencing vibratory intensity that they cannot cognitively assimilate. Certain types of people may never be able to grasp the “data” as some people are incapable of grasping the confusion of certain mathematical proofs. Clearly, the collection of data about spirituality will have to call on instrumentation currently unavailable. Subjectivity does not preclude consensual validity. Some metaphysicians already have suggested that all knowledge is esoteric and knowing self may permit one to know all things.
The new paradigm that will emerge will be a balance between the extreme materialistic and exoteric ontology represented in the Eurocentric model and the extreme spiritual and esoteric ontology represented in the Eastern models. The paradigm that will emerge will be a “natural” or general human paradigm (Akbar, 1980) rather than the ethnocentric paradigm that describes a particular human. This model will permit cross-validation between subjective and objective experience. The model will accept that the human being’s experience of him- or herself is as “real” as the environment’s influence on the human being. It will also shift the arena for human observation away from the external behavior and towards the internal life of human consciousness and its varied manifestations.
A prototype of the emerging paradigm may be seen in the African traditional healer. Such healers were simultaneously herbalists (users of objective power) and griots (reciters of “self’ or conjurors of subjective power). Such a model does not require a sacrifice of material mastery or technology, but it permits a balanced development of the inner and outer worlds. In such a world, one does not construct huge skyscrapers as a precipice for the deranged to throw themselves from. Instead, one’s skill in scaling the heights of gravity is paralleled by insight into the depths of the human make-up.
The new paradigm will incorporate, as well, the significance of the emotional or affective environment. The capacity to feel emotionally attached to experiences and for emotions to modulate cognition will have legitimacy within the new paradigm. The kind of observational design implied by such a model takes on more of the form of pioneering efforts in Euro-American psychology. The early life of a paradigm has similar developmental processes. For example, participant observer kinds of models would be essential for the new paradigm. The dichotomous assumptions of the old paradigm would not function in the new science. Consistent measure would not preclude the variability of the measurer. The person can remain a person without becoming the E(xperimenter) and still produce valid and reliable observations based on what he or she experiences by participating. Such an approach immediately eliminates the necessity for “human subjects’ protection legislation.” If the observer is what he or she observes, then he or she will also be compelled to preserve the integrity of what he or she observes. We must regain our capacity to immerse ourselves in our experiences and gain information from the outside and the inside.
Another device that could be used in moving toward the paradigm shift is naturalistic observation. We simply need to describe what we see happening in our lives, communities, with our children - as Piaget did with his. Naturalistic observation should precede the experimental manipulations and creation of artificial realities that hold such prominence with the current paradigm. We must accept that there is much in human experience that is like astronomy, in which manipulation is not possible, but the science becomes precise and thorough observation and description. Particularly, as African-Americans we have not looked at ourselves “naturally” since the psycho historical trauma of slavery took place. We have taken the naturalistic observations of Euro-Americans of themselves and their armchair theorizing and have arbitrarily attributed that reality and those assumptions to ourselves. Perhaps, step one would be to seek funding for a group of armchairs for a group of African-American psychologists to sit upon for several years and just theorize. Certainly, Euro-American psychology has a comparable genesis.
The new paradigm must restore the psyche to psychology. Strange as it may seem, there is considerable evidence that so-called “parapsychology” is going to be the warfare of the future.
Evidence is already present that the new paradigm must restore the psyche to psychology. Strange as it may seem, the Soviet Union has put considerable money and effort into the study of psychic phenomenon. More obscure evidence suggests a similar clandestine effort by the CIA, particularly in the area of mind control and psychic manipulation. This kind of study becomes a natural outgrowth of a shifting paradigm. However, it must be called “parapsychology” or dealt with in obscurity because it does not fit the current paradigm of psychology. However, I am convinced that there are insightful scholars who anticipate the shift, have pioneered the new spheres, and are probably cognizant of our destined role in the new order. We as African-
Americans are a natural bridge or kind of psycho historical chiasm between the peaks of ancient civilizations, with their humanistic vision, and the peaks of modern civilization, with its technological opulence. If the range of human experience can be conceptualized on the model of the cerebral hemispheres, then we are like the neurological bridge that connects the best of the aesthetic, esoteric, and affectional spheres with the best of the rational, cognitive, and exoteric effectiveness. Future generations will condemn us as traitors to our heritage if we do not collect on our destiny to bring about a scientific revolution by causing a paradigm shift.
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