Position::Racial identity, metatheory, and African personality - Report

A unified theory of the Black experience will constitute the most important research tool available to Black researchers James Goodman (1976, 155)

A Telling Trend

Azibo's metatheory comes the closest to unifying African personality, psychological Africanity, racial identity and behavior for ADP globally, not just the United States. Researching it in all its aspects depicted in Figure 1 is critical to providing support for this personality theory/scientific fiction construct. Again, what puts the science in the fiction of personality theory is research. Starting with the phylogenetic core or hub then addressing the ontogenetic peripheral or spokes followed by ecological/environmental spaces between the spokes, research is reported across the structure, dynamics, development, psychopathology, treatment and assessment subjects. Overall, research deriving from the metatheory is supportive. Actually, there is a multi-decades trend among the African-U.S. for children, adolescents and adults showing that the greater the psychological Africanity measured at the outer core, the greater or more positive is the psychological functioning. This trend holds for other formulations that can be organized under the metatheory too. Charles Thomas asserted in 1971 that "Blackness is a tonic" (101-125). He was referring to the psychological. Over the 47 intervening years to date, research warrants raising this pronouncement to a truism: psychological Africanity is a tonic. Typical findings among the legion of studies can be found in Carter (1995, 139-149), Thomas, Hacker and Hoxha (2011), Croasdale and Mate-Kole (2006), Thompson (1994), Mumford (1994), Jagers and Owens-Mock (1993), Boatswain and Lalonde (2000), Hammond et al. (2014), Taylor and Grundy (1996), Bynum, Burton and Best (2007), Mandara, et al. (2009), Murray and Mandara (2003), Constantine, et al (2006), Caldwell, et al. (2004), Schultz (2003), Atwell and Azibo (1991), Neblett and Carter (2012), Neblett, et al., (2010), Chambers, et al (1998), Sellers, et al (2003), Sellers, et al (2006), Poindexter-Cameron and Robinson (1997), Buckley and Carter (2005), Heflin (1981), Altschul, Oyserman and Bybee (2006), Seaton, et al., (2012), Whaley (2016) and Wilderson (1979). It makes sense psychological Africanity being a tonic for African-U.S. given that racism is greatly implicated in that populace's mental health woes (Azibo, 2011c, 2014a; Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000). This tonic trend usually is found with measures of "ethnic identity" also (Greig, 2003).The tonic idea might be a reality for ADP globally. The phenomenon of connectedness to cultural roots relating to good mental health occurs among American Indian and Alaskan Native people also (Cavalieri, 2013).

Naturally, Azibo's researches into each part of the holistic African personality metatheory will be featured as they have attempted to answer questions deriving directly from it. However, research by Semaj (1980) is presented first for its direct implication for one of the fundamental assumptions of the metatheory's structure and dynamics--ORB.

Structure and Dynamics

A Peek at ORB. Semaj's (1980) study is an instantiation of the metatheory's argument for ORB as innate brought on in evolution, though that was not his purpose. He compared older (ages 8-11) and younger (ages 4-7) children who had not developed the cognitive ability to process racial cues with those who had--i.e., those without versus with racial constancy, respectively--on three childhood measures of the outer core's ORP. He used the Preschool Racial Attitude Measure, the Social Affect to Black and Racial Reference Group tests. Results are shown in Figures 2a, 2b, and 2c. If Azibo's theorization is correct that the inner core ORB construct automatically engenders leaning toward things African, then ORP should be evident in the outer core of the very young very near the time they acquire racial constancy. Semaj pooled data across several studies he had conducted and found precisely this result on each measure for 4-7 year olds with racial constancy, but not 8-11 year olds with racial constancy. In fact, the latter group decreased in ORP behavior from 85% to 40% and increased in "neutral" responding from 10% to 45%. In contrast, ORP behavior for the 4-7 year olds with racial constancy increased from 68% to 75% (Semaj, 1980, 15). Thus African-U.S. children for whom race is a cognitive category (i.e., can process cues as racial phenomenon) appear as if pre-equipped by something or for some reason for ORP as indexed by these measures in a manner consistent with the metatheory's structural constructs. Thus, ORB per the metatheory would seem the prime explanation.

Alas, Semaj's results also show that aging to older childhood in the anti-African United States ecology is associated with diminishing ORP responding for children possessing racial constancy. Also, these results raise the possibility of a "critical period" for solidifying or losing the presumptively inborn ORB's generation of ORP sometime between 7 and 8 years of age. It should be noted that although Semaj reported the age x racial constancy interaction as statistically significant for each measure, as Figure 2b reports the Pre-school Racial Attitude Measure significance level exceeded .05. Still, it shows the same trend of the other two measures. Two out of three with the third in the direction of the other two suggests strong support.

Approximating Spiritualistic Energy with Personal Causation. If the metatheory be correct that spiritualistic energy is the dynamic powering the personality's ORB [right arrow] (through transposition) ORP [right arrow] ORM structural relationship in the personality (where [right arrow] stands for leads to) and if the presses in the ecology (spaces between the spokes) are Eurasian-based/formulated/oriented/sustaining in all areas of people activity, then African personality is under continuous onslaught. Necessarily, African personality will require intrinsic energy to keep moving in the ORP and ORM directions. As environment dominated by Eurasian civilizations is a constant drain on ADP's intrinsic energy and affords nothing in terms of extrinsic reinforcement for ORP and ORM behaving, it militates against the ORB [right arrow] ORP [right arrow] ORM relationship and thus the entirety of African personality. Although spiritualistic energy is theorized, not every African person will have that energy available due to draining by the ecology and/or interference getting in sync with it. Therefore many ADP may not be intrepid succumbing to the onslaught. Without a manifestation of intrinsic energy--spiritualistic or otherwise related--ORP and ORM likely suffers. Therefore, intra-race, ADP will be classifiable using measurable differences in ORP/ORM. A uni-dimensional low-to-high psychological Africanity continuum variable that reflects ORP/ORM status can be conceptualized as the most rudimentary model of African personality by definition (Azibo, 2006a). Investigating hypotheses about ORB, ORP and ORM behavioral correlates of the rudimentary model can provide tests of the metatheory's basic premises.

Lacking a measure of spiritualistic energy, Azibo (1983c) used the personal causation construct as a rough substitute. It refers to the intrinsic motivation deriving from a feeling frequently involving flow--which is reminiscent of rhythm--born of feeling in control of outcomes existentially as the environment is negotiated (deCharms, 1968). The hypothesis of a positive correlation between personal causation scores and rudimentary psychological Africanity scores (RPAS) was confirmed and replicated in two small convenience samples from a community college (Azibo, 1983c). With confidence stemming from the personal causation results that indeed there was intrinsic energy somewhat akin to spiritualistic energy, i.e., either approximating it or maybe deriving from it, concomitant with psychological Africanity and thereby available to fuel the theorized ORB-ORP relationship, discernible in Semaj's results, the metatheory's logic compelled the question: Would RPAS relate positively to ORP and ORM behaving? Two experiments were run.

"Black" is Beautiful (only) when the Psyche is "Black." To test ORP, college students at a mid-western, predominantly Caucasian university were randomly assigned to rate the attractiveness level of yearbook photographs of "attractive" Caucasian or African-U.S. coeds. A bi-polar 1 (unattractive) to 11 (attractive) scale was used. Target photographs were pre-rated by a different group of students. They were regarded as equivalent based on mean ratings above 10. The thinking was that "Black" would be perceived as beautiful if the person's psyche was "Black." The results showed that as RPAS increased, the perceived attractiveness scores of the African-U.S. photo increased ([beta]=.11) whereas the effect was opposite for the Caucasian photo as attractiveness ratings decreased ([beta]=-.08). This interaction was statistically significant. The theoretical significance was the results supported ORP as a function of an outer core index (Azibo, 1983b).

Stay in My Corner. Azibo's (1983a) dissertation presented an experiment similar to his perceived attractiveness study. Published at Azibo (1991a), it sought to determine which ADP would "stay" with the race when requested by a higher status individual to abandon it. College students at a mid-western, predominantly Caucasian university were asked to evaluate (ORP) and recommend for a job (ORM) African-U.S. and Caucasian applicants who were presented as equally qualified. Participants were randomly assigned to either condition or a control group exposed only to same-race applicants. They were made to believe their responses would be used in the hiring decision. Manipulation check was confirming. For participants choosing the African-U.S. applicant over the Caucasian applicant, an "expert" in the job...

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