Dr. Parham’s uses Psychological Storms as a short introduction into his views on Black Psychology. In the book, he explains how racial oppression experienced by the group manifests itself as psychological issues.
The root of racial conflict comes from the differences between African and European worldviews. European worldview is based around individualism, while communalism undergirds the African worldview. As Africans living in European culture, blacks have to balance their natural essence with the need to conform for survival in a capitalistic world. This dissonance between these competing spirits cause psychological issues within individual black people that become widespread and result in societal trouble. The chart below details the European and African worldview.
|Dualistic / Fragmented||Self||Holitic / Spiritness, Thoughts and Behaviors are Interrelated|
|Suppressed to rationale||Feelings||Expressed and Legitimized|
|Individual Competition||Survivial||Cooperative Econmics|
|Formal and Detached||Language||Informal and Connected|
|Commoditized with Future Orientation||Time||Experiential with Present Orientation|
|People control nature||Universe||People live in Harmony with Nature|
|Life ends at Death||Death||Afterlife starts at Death|
|Material/Individual Achievement||Worth||Collective Work and Responsibility|
Not only are Blacks forced to hide their true African nature. They live in a world which vilifies them for being different. The Eurocentric worldview dictates control of all people and things non-European. This disregard for Black men not only manifests in personal relations but on a systematic level. It manifests in the lackadaisical investigations of black murder cases. In seeing black colleagues performing at a high capacity and not getting promoted. Mass media ignoring stories centered around black people. Racism has a profound effect on the psyche of Blacks.
Black people have developed many coping mechanisms to deal with the duality of being African in a European world. Many of the mechanisms that are not healthy involve denying one’s African identity in favor of assimilation. The over assimilation leads to feelings of alienation from one’s people. Also, even once one has no connection to their African roots, they may not be accepted in mainstream society.
Another extreme is always challenging other people’s blackness to show how connected one is to the community. Dr. Parham’s shorthand for this is “Blacker than thou.” When this is coupled with negative internalization of blackness leads to referring to fellow compatriots as niggas, bitches, and hoes. Dr. Parham does not condone the use of derogations in colloquial language, only gives background psychological underpinnings of the behavior.
Dr. Parham gives two models of one developing a healthy sense of self. He begins with the idea that all Black people have an African nature. Then they are exposed to an environment. If the environment is supportive, one will develop a Positive African Self Consciousness. If the environment is unsupportive one will undergo the stages of Nigrescence to build a positive self-image.
The stages of Nigrescence, first theorized by Dr. William Cross, are a step by step process that one grows through to actualize a healthy sense of self that includes their identity. The first stage is Pre-encounter. In this stage, a person has never been faced with the race problem and sees themselves as part of mainstream America. Then in the Encounter stage, one is confronted with race through discrimination. As a response to the discrimination, one enters the Immersion-Emmersion stage. In this stage, one immerses themselves in black culture to emerge a new person. The Immersion-Emmersion stage can manifest as joining Black political and cultural movements or just going to black spaces. Internalization is the last stage. In this stage, one accepts their ethnic identities with all their other identities and saliences. One can continue to stay in black groups and space, but one is also comfortable venturing out into the rest of the world.
To weather the upcoming racial storm, black people must cultivate an understanding of Africanity. Because Africanity is based in communalism or the idea all matter in the Universe arises from one spirit, it is specially equipped for building a strong community. Consubstantiation is the term Dr. Parham uses to define the idea that all people are united in spirit. He believes a deep understanding of consubstantiation would solve many societal ills. One couldn’t kill another because he understands that it is suicide. A person couldn’t become a drug addict because he understands how it hurts his people. Those that have education will naturally want to teach others because they see themselves as part of a community. Ultimate, black people have to reach back for the strength to move forward.