The Manichean Division in Children's Experience: Developmental Psychology in an Anti-Black World

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Theory & Psychology

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Recent research in developmental psychology situates human development in ecological systems. While culturally sensitive variants of ecological systems theory take important strides in identifying how racialization structures the world in which youth develop, limits remain for critical researchers interested in humanity transformation projects. A fundamental error is being made when modern/colonial capitalist Man remains the unquestioned representative of the human. Accordingly, we discuss the case of anti-Blackness in the ecology of Black youth’s development and its origins with the natural slave, arguing that the child–adult trajectory is distorted for Black youth. We argue that anti-Blackness is inextricably tied to capitalism’s historical development and that developmental psychologists concerned with humanization can adopt a decolonial attitude in service of that goal. For developmental psychologists concerned with humanity transformation, we propose a step back from the dominant approach in developmental psychology to better afford an actional stance.


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