Raising African American youth in a colorblind era generated thoughtful discussion during Regent University’s chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists Student Circle (ABPSC) annual Black America event Friday, February 24.
“The African American community is very communal,” said Dr. Cassandra Page, assistant professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC). “We have what is called a kinship network. We use family and friends and relatives to raise people. We talked about the importance of that and how to feed into the youth and increase their self-esteem when they encounter difficulties when they go to school or out in the world.”
Page is passionate about mentoring minority students going through Regent’s doctoral psychology program. She serves the school as an assistant professor, assistant director of its Psychological Services Center, and faculty adviser for ABPSC. She joined a panel of professionals from ministry, education and local government to discuss what it’s like to raise African American Youth in a colorblind culture.
“People are very good at not seeing color, not seeing differences. How does that impact our youth, their self-esteem, their development, their educational opportunities? And how can we respond more as a community and a village to lift them up in a way that’s going to be helpful?” said Page.
After watching video clips addressing challenges that black and transracial families face, panelists and audience members shared stories and their perspectives to move an insightful dialogue forward.
“I enjoyed really getting to take psychology and apply it to real life events,” said Chris Dewitt ’18 (College of Arts & Sciences). “It’s great we can talk about it in academia, but getting to take it to real life, especially to these issues which have been so prevalent in the country as of late, it’s really important we take this discipline and use it to help. That’s what psychology is about, helping people.”
This is the seventh year APBSC has held such an event to foster dialogue. The organization offers opportunities for students to contribute to scholarship and conferences, boosting their leadership skills so they’ll enter internships and post graduate education with a good foundation.
“My hope is that they just soar, honestly,” said Page. “That we are able to give them enough wings, enough strength while they’re here to be able to conquer their dreams and be mentors, excellent clinicians when they go out into the field. This is just a really good starting step for them, just to enter into dialogues like this, that we can have difficult conversations. People will come and attend, and they will participate. This solidifies their worth and their value.”
The ABPSC also holds a national conference. Two Regent students will be presenting this year in Houston, Texas.