This Professor Didn’t See Enough Positive Reflections Of African Americans In Academic Literature – So She Wrote A Book

“The main idea really is that African Americans have a lot of strengths that we’re kind of ignoring and overlooking. We’re kind of focusing on a lot of the negative.”

By Laura RiceMay 7, 2020 10:29 am, ,

University of Houston Downtown Associate Professor Stacie DeFreitas teaches psychology. She said the field is often focused on problems – but that can all start to feel overly negative. She said that is especially true when the focus is on African Americans.

“So I felt like it was really important in this book to look at some of the historical reasons why African Americans are struggling in some areas and look at some of the structural reasons – looking at things like racism, biases, other types of discrimination that are impacting African Americans,” DeFreitas said. “But also focusing on those strengths that African Americans have within the community to be resilient and rise above a lot of those barriers that they’re experiencing.”

While DeFreitas said one of the biggest misconceptions is that African Americans are a homogenous group, she said common strengths in the community include strong religious or spiritual beliefs and solid family connections.

“And I end the book with a chapter on the future that really looks at ways that we can continue to improve,” DeFreitas said. “So focusing on the strengths but also looking at ‘well, where are these areas that the African American community really needs to dig in and make some improvements and how do we do that?’”

Her book is African American Psychology: A Positive Psychology Perspective.


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