Welcome to DIRECTIONS the monthly online newsletter of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi). Please feel free to contact us at www.dvabpsi.org, email@example.com or by regular mail (information
provided at end of this newsletter) with content you wish to share with the DVABPsi community in the newsletter. We look forward to providing our readers with pertinent information to support, encourage, and uplift our community and those who serve the community. The goal of DVABPsi is to make a positive impact on Black Mental Health today and for the future.
DeBorah Gilbert White, Ph.D.- Editor
Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden
Delaware Valley Association
of Black Psychologists
We provide monthly Mbongi, which is an African word from the Bantu Kongo meaning
a house without rooms. It is a place where learning occurs by discussing issues and
resolving the issues to the benefit of the people. Topics have included racism, COVID-19,
gun violence, stress reduction, managing isolation and other stressors during the pandemic,
and Kwanzaa. Last month's Mbongi focused on love relationships, empowerment, and
ethical considerations. Mbongi may be viewed by clicking on the link at the top of this
page. Dr. Tashekah Smith serves as the VP and President Elect. You will have the opportunity to see Dr. Smith's clinical skills at work as she guides Mbongi attendees
through soothing relaxation exercises. Dr. Janice HoffmanWillis was one of the founders
of DVABPsi back in 1975, and served as the first president. She has been the glue that has held the organization together, serving as president for several terms, and now, serving as
the Secretary. Dr. Faruq Iman, Past President, and current treasurer of DVABPsi, is an expert examining the relationship between food and behavior and who continues to publish The Mashariki Gazeti, the Eastern Region Newspaper - Kiswahili. Dr. Iman
has been dedicated to writing this excellent publication which provides readers with information regarding the International Association of Black Psychologists and chapters in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and in Washington D.C. Dr. Iman will be the presenter at our April Mbongi on child abuse. DVABPsi has revived our newsletter, Directions under
the leadership of Dr. DeBorah Gilbert White, Chair of the Public Relations Committee.
She is a social psychologist and advocate for the dignity and rights of people experiencing
homelessness. Directions will provide the public with a close and personal look at DVABPsi members, our work, and relevant topics. Mr. Colmon Holmes, M.Ed., serves as the Chair
of the Community Services Committee. Mr. Holmes keeps DVABPsi and our connected audience informed about programs and activities that help our healing and promote our
empowerment. Our student Student Concerns Committee is Co-Chaired by Ms. Ferlin Charles, MSW and Ms. Rashidat Anthonio, B.S., these two members have provided us with critical technical skills that have allowed DVABPsi to enter the Zoom era and other
social media arenas. Thank you each for what you bring to the organization. I am
appreciative of our leadership team and members.
Harambee! Harambee! Harambee! (Let us all pull together).
Hotep (Peace and Blessings)- Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC, LLC
Guest Contributor- Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC
A strong sense of self-esteem is an essential ingredient in developing healthy
relationships between two people. Once you are secure with who you are, the next step is finding a love partner who is a “kindred spirit”-someone who has common values, interests, and goals. Finally, you want a love partner who can build a future with you which may
include raising children. Unfortunately, the Maafa (systematic dehumanization of Blacks by racists) has damaged how we see ourselves and the values we use to make decisions regarding who is a desirable love partner, as well as, how to raise healthy children. Many males believe that sex without commitment is a “rite of manhood” and that the
ideal sex/love partner is someone who looks like Alicia Keys. Many females have been
taught to lower their standards and to falsely believe that their bodies are bait to attract and keep a partner. These same females have also accepted the propaganda that states that the more European/Caucasian you look, the more beautiful and desirable you are to a love partner-which is reinforced by far too many Black males( who have been shaped by racist propaganda regarding standards of beauty).
Many people enter relationships feeling very incomplete and unsure of themselves. Too many people look to their love partners to provide them with a sense of identity and wholeness. If you are unhealthy and your partner is unhealthy, this is a recipe for a failed relationship. Perhaps, this explains why there are so many unhappy marriages, lonely singles, soaring divorce rates, and single-parent households. Individuals who come from families where there were negative experiences such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual, physical and/or verbal abuse, hostility, ridicule, criticism, lack of encouragement, lack of
love and affection, generally suffer from low self-esteem. Unless you learn how so many Blacks have learned unhealthy beliefs and behaviors and learn that if your home life was
not healthy, you will tend to repeat these same behaviors in future relationships. Who you are today has been shaped by the societal abuse you have been subjected to for the past
five hundred years.
Blacks have experienced inter and intragenerational trauma due to the Maafa. Every Black female, male and child was raped repeatedly as a function of the brutal character of
the racist European/Caucasians who were given the right to do whatever their racist pathological minds desired to do to Blacks. These racist Europeans/Caucasians beat, raped, and tortured Blacks physically and psychologically, repeatedly throughout their lifespan.
The abuse of Blacks did not stop with the legal end of slavery. The abuses continue to this day. Propaganda is pervasive in all forms of media and especially in the news and in
movies. Propaganda is used to convince the world that Europeans/Caucasians are the most brilliant, beautiful, worthy, honest, righteous, and deserving people on the planet. Blacks
are described and perceived as being ugly, criminals, thugs, drug dealers, and prostitutes. Even Black children are seen as criminals and older than their European/Caucasian peers. Black partnering relationships are plagued by a unique pattern of negative conditioning
which further impacts the quality of the relationship. Unhealthy roles for Black males and females have been reinforced over four-hundred years of slavery and over a hundred years
of institutionalized racism.
Racist Caucasians who enslaved Blacks wanted to increase their profits and Blacks were forced to produce as many children as possible. Black males and females who could
produce children were more valuable to the racist Caucasians who would daily rape Black females including children. In addition to satisfying their savage lust for Black females, they wanted to impregnate females to create more “property.” The children produced from the racist Caucasians raping Black females were frequently given preferential treatment and
sometimes allowed to live in the “main house” instead of the poorly constructed shacks in which most enslaved people lived. Separating Blacks with lighter skin color and straighter
hair from other Blacks was used to create a divide between Blacks. Blacks with dark skin,
full lips and tightly curled hair were described by racist Caucasians as ugly, ignorant and as apes. The resulting colorism became a pattern of acceptance or rejection based on whether
a Black person possessed more European/Caucasian features and hair texture. Blacks were not permitted to protect nor raise their own children. Many Black children were separated from their parents. One of the goals of institutionalized racism is to destroy the Black family
by destroying Black males and females.
As a result of the Maafa, far too many Black males have been conditioned to base their masculinity and self-esteem on their sexual ability and the number of babies they can
produce without being responsible for taking care of them. A Black male today who does
not have the opportunity to work and provide for his family harbors a great deal of anger. The Black female often becomes the target of his anger and sometimes the victim of his abuse. Some females base their esteem on being sexually desirable and being able to bear children. Black females have fewer choices for selecting a love partner due to males lost to drugs, prison, homosexuality, and non-Black female partners. Feeling a sense of worthlessness contributes to Black females accepting abuse in their relationships. Feelings
of worthlessness may be exacerbated if the Black female has dark skin, full lips, and tightly curled hair because Black males who have embraced the anti-Black propaganda are less
likely to seek her as a permanent love partner. Internalized self-hatred is translated into
the rejected Black female striking out against the Black male and far too often,
emasculating her partner. The lack of love and tenderness between Black males and females is not healthy and nor is it the way Black males and females treated each other before
slavery and institutional racism.
Before slavery, Blacks experienced wholesome family relationships. African rites of passage taught females how to be women, wives, and mothers. Males were taught how to
be men, husbands, and fathers. Having values and cultural traditions and a society that reinforced successful relationships ensured the success of the family and community. Today there are many examples of healthy Black love partners who can serve as role models but access to these individuals is limited. Today we must rely on Black psychologists, Black
social workers, and Black marriage and family therapists who are trained to provide an African-Centered approach to healing and living for Black individuals and couples.
Therapists who embrace and understand Black culture can help organize support groups for Blacks who want to begin building healthy love relationships. The Delaware Valley
Association of Black Psychologists is one organization that promotes the healing and brings the Virtues of Ma’at (Truth, Justice, Balance, Harmony, Compassion, Reciprocity) back to
Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden is a clinical psychologist in private practice, and President
of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists. She is the host of
"Don't Get It Twisted" a weekly program covering issues and topics pertinent to
the African Diaspora.