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This is one of a series of excerpts from older articles put online by John Ray as a public service. The articles concerned are in general otherwise available only by special request to a University or other major library.

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The Journal of Social Psychology, 1979, 109, 187-200.

THE SCARS OF BONDAGE: BLACK AMERICANS AS SUBJECTS IN BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE RESEARCH



By Hoyt Alverson

An extensive literature in the behavioral sriences has argued that structured social inequality and racial discrimination have had profound effects on the personalities and self-identities of black Americans. Notably, the experience of racial discrimination has led, it is claimed, to numerous psychological disorders and disabilities among its victims. A critical review of this literature leads to the conclusiun that the evidence for this near consensus concerning the "scars-of-bondage" is meager and quite equivocal. Indeed some evidence exists which supports the contrary view that permanent psychological injury has not occurred despite undeniable suffering and privation. Conclusions are offered concerning (a) how a thesis with such little support could become a widely-held "finding" in the behavioral sciences and (b) how a more robust and rigorous assessment of the psychological affects of social and or racial subordination might be undertaken.





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