BME Psychology Archive

BME psychology archive

This is a list of BME psychologists and anti-racist work. The google form includes only basic information (e.g., DOB, names, notable works and notes). Doubtlessly this vastly under-represents the number of BME psychologists that exist and can not do justice to this work. It is intended as a starting place only to diversify psychology away from its White, Western bias. It needs improvement so please add your own BME names to the archive.

If your name is listed on this archive and you would prefer it not to be please email g.jankowski@leedsbeckett.ac.uk to have it removed.

If you would prefer you can add to the archive in google forms directly by using this link.

Do BME psychologists exist? 

Yes, of course. If we take UK psychology as a specific example, according to the latest survey by the British Psychological Society in 2015, 181 (1.8%) of its members are Black (in contrast the last census found that 3.3% of the UK population are Black). There are significant barriers that BME people often contend with in becoming psychologists. Most notably this includes psychology’s own racist history (sometimes termed ‘scientific racism or the intellectual justification of eugenics’) and educational segregation. Additionally, the pressure on BAME psychologists to resist the ivory tower of academia in favour of applied, justice, work may be an additional barrier (especially if such work is less valued within psychology).

Despite these barriers, BME people have progressed within the discipline. It is just that their work is overlooked. Specifically there almost definitely hasn’t been one BME president of the BPS so far and there also isn’t a BME psychology section today in the BPS. Many psychology students do not know about Claude Steel’s brilliant work on stereotype threat, or Mamie and Kenneth Clarke’s work on the impact of educational segregation that helped win Brown vs Board of education (consider which other psychological study has been used in a supreme court case?). We need to redress this.

The below archive is a starting point in showcasing BME and anti-racist work.. Each archive tabs are not exclusive (there are many BAME and anti-racist psychologists for instance) and are not representative. They are designed to be starting point only.

The origins of BME psychology

The history and strides already taken to better psychology shouldn’t be overlooked. Robert Guthrie’s Even The Rat Was White provides a great overview of this history in the US (see this helpful 12-minute video guide). 

Holliday (2009) also brilliantly gives context to the history of Black psychology in the journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. In particular Holliday documents the formation of the first section of psychology for Black people: the Association of Black Psychologists which was founded in 1968 (pg. 319): 

Members of the Association have pledged themselves to the realization that they are Black people first and psychologists second…. The membership assumes primary responsibility for engaging in critical thinking about the relationships between Black people and the society in which they live . . . we are pledged to effect change in those areas in which the American Psychological Association has been insensitive, ineffectual, and insincere.

The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPSi) continues to work today. As their president points out: “Although we are 47 years removed from the founding of the ABPsi, we are seeing many of the same conditions that were present in 1968“.

Acknowledgements: Archive help gratefully received from Leeds Beckett University Psychology students: Kayla Jones, Amir Gilliam, Stephanie Griffiths, Beth Walmsley, Amani Hanif, Zamzam Abdi and Sophie Pedlar.