, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 599-620

Collaborating for Social Change: The Black Psychologist and the Black Community

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Several prominent Black scholars have argued that the predicament of Black intellectuals is inseparable from that of Black communities (C. West, 1994), and that Black psychologists should be at the forefront in developing culturally relevant psychological interventions (J. A. Baldwin, 1989). Yet, for Black psychologists there are a number of challenges to conducting successful interventions in Black communities, including historical abuses of Black communities by the “helping” professions and divergences in values, goals, and behaviors of professionals as compared to community members. In order for community psychologists to design interventions that are respectful of the cultural traditions and norms of Black communities, these obstacles to collaboration need to be addressed. This paper outlines some of the challenges faced by Black community psychologists, as well as the unique strengths they can mobilize when collaborating on research and interventions in Black communities. The paper also addresses methods of empowering Black communities and improving the training of community psychologists.