Some Psychological Implications of Black Struggle

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  • 1 Columbia University, USA cwl2140@columbia.edu
  • | 2 University of Groningen, The Netherlands c.n.teixeira@rug.nl
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Yet another long, hot summer in 2020 brought to the broader consciousness—in the US and well beyond—what Black folks have known for centuries about the ways in which racial hegemony relies on the acute violence of a police knee on a prone neck and the chronic violence of prisons, prefects, and (public housing) projects (for discussions, see Bulhan 1985; Omi and Winant 2014; Sidanius and Pratto 1999). In their commentary, AK Thompson makes too many important points for us to address in this brief commentary. Thus, as research psychologists with a transdisciplinary social-behavioral approach to protest, resistance, and societal change, we focus on what we see as Thompson's most psychologically oriented theses: II, III, V, and VI. In sum, we see Thompson as arguing that social movements necessarily include a (more or less latent) threat of violence (II) and that this violence is noticed and suppressed because it challenges (III) the logic (economic, political, and cultural), the ethics, and the formalization (legal, political, and institutional) of racial hegemony (V). In addition, we take Thompson to argue that Black freedom struggles are, and have always been, flexible in means and aims (VI), adjusting strategically to the multifaceted dynamics of oppression and resistance.

Contributor Notes

Professor Colin Wayne Leach, Ph.D. is a social and personality psychologist who studies status and morality in identity, emotion, and motivation. He is also interested in protest & resistance; prejudice, stereotypes, …isms; meta-theory, methods, and statistics; and transdisciplinary approaches. At Columbia University in the City of New York, he is Professor of Psychology & Africana Studies, Barnard College; Graduate Faculty in Psychology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; Faculty Fellow, Institute for Research in African-American Studies; Member, Data Science Institute; Affiliate Member, Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Email: cwl2140@columbia.edu

Dr. Cátia Teixeira, Ph.D. studies intergroup relations from a social identity perspective. She is especially interested on how situations that directly imply intergroup “struggles” shape group members’ behaviors. Cátia tries to understand how group members make sense of decisions collectively made by other groups, such the choice of a specific group leader or of a specific type of collective protest. Lately, her focus has been on examining how to mobilize advantaged group members for inequality reduction. This research has received funding from the Belgian and Dutch Science Foundations and the EU under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding scheme, among others. Email: c.n.teixeira@rug.nl

Contention

The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

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