The Psychology of Blacks

Those who have not had the benefit of reading the first, second, or third editions of The Psychology of Blacks, or who are otherwise unfamiliar with the con- cept of a Black psychological perspective, may be asking themselves “What is this discipline called Black or African-American psychology?” As such, perhaps the most logical place to begin this fourth edition is with a definition of the con- struct (psychology of Blacks) and with a discussion of why an African-centered psychological perspective is necessary.

NobleS reminds us that in its truest form, psychology was defined by ancient Africans as the study of the soul or spirit. He writes:

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A summary reading of our ancient mythology reveals that ancient Egyptian thought can be characterized as possessing (1) “ideas of thought” which represent the human capacity to hay “will” and to invent or create; (2) “ideas of command” which represent the human capacity to have “intent” and to produce that which one wills. Parenthetically these two, will and intent, are the characteristics of divine spirit and would serve as the best operationalization of human intelligence.

Nobles further asserts that the psychology that was borrowed from Africa and popularized in Europe and America (so-called Western psychology) in some respects represents a distortion of ancient African-Egyptian thought. What the an- cients believed was that the study of the soul or spirit was translated by Europeans into the study of only one element of a person’s psychic nature, the mind.

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