Akbar Papers in African Psychology by Na'im Akbar

By Na'im Akbar

Publication via Na'im Akbar

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Melanin is synthesized and dispersed by specialized cells, which are called melanocytes, Melanocytes synthesize melanin through a series of bio-chemical reactions beginning with the consumption of the amino acid, phenlalanine, Each subsequent biochemical reaction in the chain is controlled by a specific enzyme. If all the essential enzymes are present the pigment melanin is produced in considerable quantity. When this occurs, an individual has skin, which is dark in color, hair, which is black, and eyes, which are brown.

White is assumed to be "normal" and anything else is a deviation from that norm, and therefore designated as non, "" white. ~ The model dictated by this paradigm is one that has been identified as a "Eurocentric model" (Baldwin, 1976, 1980). The more one approximates this model in appearance, values and 34 The Afrocentric Paradigm behavior, the more "normative" or "normal" a person is considered to be. bs early as 1840, medical researcher, Dr. Samuel Morton (Stanton, 1960) concluded from his craniometric research that the brain of various races of man became successively smaller as one descended from the Caucasian to the Ethiopian.

We do, however, have our hunches, and these are articulated in more detail below. 3. What is tlte Natllre of Black Intelligence? From our research into melanin, we are led to believe that it is the concept of sensitivity, which is of fundamental importance to human intelligence. A related concept, consciousness, is also considered important in our consideration of human intelligence. Consideration of these two concepts - sensitivity and consciousness - underscores the fact that African Psychology adopts a different philosophical base than contemporary Euro-American Psychology.

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