Eurocentric Perspectives

Appreciation of White’s perspective is enhanced when one looks first at the so-called science of psychology and then at the resulting conclusions that emerge from these research practices. In commenting on the science of psychology, Boykin argues that there are inherent biases and subjectiv- ity in the investigation and application of scientific principles despite their claims to the contrary. Thus, he believes that biases inherent in Eurocentric per- spectives render research investigations and resulting conclusions invalid at most, or at least, inappropriate.

It is important to note, however, that questions of bias could be dealt with in less confrontive ways if one believed the intent of scientists and psychological scholars to be honorable. When one considers that scientific intent was and is supported by racist ideologies, then challenging and confronting those biases become even more important. As such, one can now better appreciate the critique of science and psychological (scientific) inquiry provided by Nobles, who argues that research has been used as a tool of oppression and represents a form of “scientific colonialism.”

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The construct of colonialism harkens back to times of old when many European countries/nations (but not exclusively so) sought to conquer and control the human and natural resources of a certain country or region of the world. In essence, they were acquiring by force the people, land, and both natural and economic resources belonging to a particular nation. The term “scientific colonialism” then represents the political control of knowledge and information, in order to advance a particular group’s agenda and/or prevent another group from advancing its own. According to Nobles, scientific colonialism is operationalized in several ways. These include:

Unsophisticated Falsification: deliberate attempts to erase and/or oth- erwise disguise the African origins of an idea or the historical contribu- tions of African people;

Integrated Modificationism: assimilation of a known concept into ex- isting ideas such that the result is a distorted version of the original mean- ing and intent; and Conceptual Incarceration: where all information is viewed from a sin- gle perspective to the exclusion of other world views or frameworks.

As a consequence of this biased and inappropriate method of inquiry, much of the research and scholarship written by European Americans about African Americans is severely tainted. Let us now turn our attention to the out- comes and resulting conclusions of that science.


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