The Mark of Oppression: Explorations in the Personality of the American Negro

The Mark of Oppression: Explorations in the Personality of the American Negro

The Mark of Oppression: Explorations in the Personality of the American Negro

The Mark of Oppression: Explorations in the Personality of the American Negro

Excerpt

We are particularly gratified that The Mark of Oppression is being reissued, because both the content and the method aroused such great controversy when the book was first published in 1951. Many readers, especially among the laity, rejected the findings on largely emotional grounds because they found them too painful to accept. Most of these critics, we feel, eventually reversed themselves as they gradually realized that the end products of oppression could hardly be very pretty. Others who were professional colleagues in related psychological and social sciences raised methodological objections, mainly about the number of biographies studied; they had doubts that twenty-five was a statistically valid quantity. This objection was raised by those who were accustomed to working with questionnaires on limited sociological data. We said then, and we say again, that twenty-five is a large number for a psychodynamic investigation which relies on free association and dream analysis. We are confident that any expansion of this sample, either through further psychodynamic studies, or by other methods, will provide additional validation for our findings. In fact, with the years, a good deal of the initial controversy seems to have been resolved, and the book has found general acceptance as a standard work in its field.

We are indebted to Meridian Books for undertaking to reprint this book. Nothing has been changed in the text except the subtitle, which formerly read: A Psychological Study of the American Negro. We feel this second publication is particularly timely because of the world-wide cultural revolution that is encompassing all underprivileged nations of the world. Our conclusions about the American Negro are equally applicable to oppressed people any-

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