Black Psychology and Whiteness: Toward a Conceptual Model of Black Trauma through the Prism of Whiteness

Kenneth M. Tyler, Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Jennifer L. Burris, Sycarah D. Fisher, Candice N. Hargons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The main objective of this article is to introduce and examine whiteness as a source of trauma for Black people. We explore Black psychology scholarship to conceptually ground whiteness as the impetus for racism, while identifying it as an interpersonal, psychosocial, and contextual phenomenon that informs the race-based traumatic experiences of Black people. The primary factors constituting whiteness are ethnocentric monoculturalism, White standardization, ontological expansiveness, White emotions, attitudes, reactions to race, and White privilege. While racism operates through oppression and exclusion to produce trauma among Black people, we argue that whiteness operates similarly to produce race-based traumatic stress. With this premise, we offer and explain a conceptual model to promote empirical research that identifies and operationalizes whiteness and its components as observable contributors to the traumatic experiences of Black persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-42
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • racial trauma
  • racism
  • whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology


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