le scholar and instructor of clinical psychology, touches on important constraints that are keeping the African American community from social and economic development and traces these constraints back to the slave era. Dr Akbar is one of the pioneers of the African-centered approach in psychology and in this book he uses modern psychological tools to provide an innovative perspective on African heritage and possible paths for their future.
The main argument of the book is that the African American community still has not fully escaped from the mental burdens of their oppressed history and need to overcome these constraints in order to move together as a cohesive, supportive community towards economic and social growth. The book attempts to both educate and arm the reader against the illusions of freedom and the ‘slave mentality’ that still impacts the community. In the first section Dr Akbar divides his observations about the African Americans into the following main categories, Work. Leadership. Clown. Personal Inferiority. Community Division. Family and Color Discrimination. Anecdotes and examples are used to explain his viewpoint about how each of these aspects of the community has been adversely impacted by the subconscious perceptions and attitudes developed during their long suffering history.
The author states that the psychological legacy of the group was determined by the negative association of their skin color with slavery and all the human rights violations that the term encompasses. Slaves were forced to work without having access to any of the benefits that one receives from honest work such as economic progression, self worth and self sufficiency. this created a subconscious negative perception that has now translated into youth who cannot see the value of hard work. Even worse, slaves who showed personal control and ability to lead were ostracized among others and penalized for showing independent thought.