First Advisor

Marcus Sharpe

Date of Award

Winter 3-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors






black psychology, undergraduate psychology education, white privilege, cultural competency, optimal psychology, loneliness epidemic, cultural psychology, APA




When we think about the theories behind the foundation of American psychology, many European names come to mind (i.e. Freud, Erickson, Brofenbrenner etc.). This Euro-American mode of psychology has been the standard in American Undergraduate education since the founding of a formal psychological education in the U.S. but what about names like Wade Nobles, Joseph White, Na-im Akbar, or Linda James Myers? These forerunners of Black Psychology are elusive in the foundational education of current American Undergraduate programs due to longstanding racial bias in the field. This bias reflects the systemic racism that American culture was founded on. This paper presents the argument for Black Psychology to be a foundational educational requirement for all Undergraduate Psychology programs in the United States for the benefit of not only the field, but for society as a whole. Through a brief history of the discourse in the psychological field, origins of Black psychology and the framework of Linda James Myers' optimal psychology theory, I will establish a foundational need for integration in education. Through the evaluation of the study of White privilege and cultural competency, I will discuss the implicit and explicit benefits of Black psychology specifically for White students. Lastly, in addressing the development of community and connectedness, I will establish the need for the study of Black psychology education for the benefit of society.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Psychology Commons