The Cultural Psychology of White Normativity: A Draft to the Concept of White Psyche

Abstract

In this essay, I attempt to elaborate a first draft to a concept of white psyche. Drawing upon a notion of human psyche, as understood through the lenses of Cultural Psychology, I use the framework of mutual constitution to demonstrate how white normativity operates as a generalizable particular way through which the white psyche is constructed both as a cultural product and a producer of culture in white supremacist societies. As opposed to suggesting that there is something inherently particular—and therefore permanent and inseparable—to the ways white minds work, I argue that white supremacy produces particular, generalizable ways of experiencing and perceiving reality and of being in the world, thus causing a significant impact in the shaping of our higher mental functions, which in turn reflects our individual and collective identities and experiences as racialized bodies. Finally, I conclude by arguing that racialized societies produce not only racialized bodies but also racialized psyches.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    On August 9, 2014, an 18-year-old African American man, Michael Brown Jr., was fatally shot by 28-year-old White police officer, Darren Wilson, in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. Although Brown was unarmed, Wilson fired twelve times at the young man, six of which hit the target. The incident initiated a series of racial protests in the city of Ferguson that lasted for over a week, quickly turning into one of the top news stories in the United States during that period and becoming a topic of national debate.

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Correspondence to Márcio Nunes de Abreu.

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de Abreu, M.N. The Cultural Psychology of White Normativity: A Draft to the Concept of White Psyche. Hu Arenas 3, 297–309 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-019-00087-5

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Keywords

  • White normativity
  • White psyche
  • White supremacy
  • Cultural psychology