Student reflects on MLK message

Published on The Herald-Dispatch, Feb 02, 2008.

3 excerpts: … Students from across the Tri-State submitted their essays for the Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Competition. This year’s theme was “Rising from the Dark … To the Sunlit Path of Racial Justice.” Today, The Herald-Dispatch will feature the university winner …

… Psychology – a Euro dominated thought

In terms of the study of psychology, Wilhelm Wundt, Jean Piaget, B.F. Skinner, John B. Watson, Sigmund Freud and so on are taught religiously in the universities. Without a thorough investigation, one would believe that Euro-Americans are the only group that has contributed to psychological thought. Sumner Francis was the first African American to earn a degree in psychology in the United States, in the year 1920, from Clark University. Why doesn’t he have more than a mere paragraph in The History of Psychology textbook?

Sumner Francis’ contribution to the history of psychology includes 45 publications on topics such as perception, advertising and the psychology of religion. He also presented strategies for the higher education of African Americans that aroused tension in the majority group because of the spirit of segregation. The education, life and death of the first Europeans who stepped their feet in the waters of psychology are discussed to the point of redundancy, but only a brief paragraph for Dr. Sumne …

… The reshaping of a nation

Racial progress is undeniable in America, but something must be done about the existence of poverty and cultural deprivation, as well as the racial injustice that remains. Citizens should have the opportunity to gain reliable resources about their culture and heritage without being misjudged, prejudged and discriminated against. As scientists and educators, we must consider other variables that may be the cause of educational gaps and poverty, variables that have remained confounded because of the culminated interests in degrading the intellect of a race. How long shall the slogan, “Underrepresented groups are lagging” be lamented? And how long must we ask, “Does racial justice exist in America?” To answer these questions, we must first revisit the system and truths of oppression, inheritances, privileges, opportunities, poverty and, of course, power.

The future

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (1996), by the year 2050, our country will not be representative of a single dominant group. As this may be the case, we must work today to prepare for the changes of the new world as Dr. King worked yesterday to prepare our world. We must educate our children so they are prepared to face the future mentally, socially and emotionally; an education, cultural awareness and the inclusion of multiethnic education are the engines that will move our nation from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. (full text).

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