Dr. Nobles defined “power as the ability
to define reality and to have others
respond to your definition as if it were
your own and that the most important
reality to define is the meaning of one’s
own human beingness.” Seizing the
power is especially important and essential
in the study, excitement, explanation and
interpretation of African American reality. The challenge of fully understanding the nuanced and subtle distinction of African and African American reality is found in the adoption of African centered language, concepts and terms. Consistent with this epistemological necessity, Dr. Nobles’ scholarship is known for introducing novel and ground-breaking concepts and terminology. The following terms and concepts (partial list) have been introduced (specially defined) in Dr. Nobles’ work:
Alasal Taray: “Alasal-Teray” is a concept from the Songhay language in Mali, West Africa. It means the “process though which you come to know and understand yourself as a human being by serving humanity.
Black Family: Technically, the Black family is comprised of several individual households with the family definition and lines of authority transcending any one individual household unit that comprises the “family.” Familial forms found in Black communities are many and varied. There is no singular, monolithic type or kind of Black family. However, a great deal of similarity exists among the many different Black family forms. Black families are more similar than they are different. There is more that unites Black families than there is that separates them.
Consciousness: Consciousness relative to African people is a construct that represents the ability of human beings to know, perceive, understand, and be aware of self in relation to self and all else. In the African worldview, all that is consciousness is, in fact, revealed in and determined by relationships or “energy in motion.” An African-centered understanding of consciousness would recognize that, at the most fundamental level, consciousness is found in the “pulse” that gives human beings life. What is recognized on the physical level as the electromagnetic energy of the cells underlies the phenomenon of consciousness. From this perspective, then, consciousness is in effect the intelligent energy of the Divine.
Culture: Culture is a process that reflects the vast structure of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals and practices that give people a “general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality.” There are at least four expressions of culture: 1) authentic, 2) adapted, 3) adopted and 4) aberrant. Culture emerges as a dynamic human system of features, factors and functions with sets of guiding principles, assumptions, conventions, beliefs and rules that permit and determine how members of a group relate to each other and develop their creative potential.
Culturecology: Culturecology recognizes that the “relationship” between persons and environments must also be understood and that the “relationship,” between person and environment cannot be understood in absence of their cultural meaning. Culturecology recognizes that (1) “the nature of the person” and “the nature of the environment” are inextricably connected, (2) both the environment and human beings are cultural phenomena, and (3) the “cultural grounding” and meaning of each (person and environment) must be culturally understood in order to fully understand the interactive relationship between persons and health and disease. The inviolate assumption of culturecology is that human well-being is a “relational event” resulting from and defined by situationally bound units of relationships between the person as cultural agent and the environment as having cultural agency.
Extended-Self: Extended Self is a re-conceptualization of Black self-concept that recognizes that awareness of self is the awareness of one’s historical consciousness (collective spirituality) and the subsequent sense of we or being one. Defined as such, Black self concept is the personal transcendence into the collective consciousness (extension) of one’s people.
Human functioning: The science of African American human functioning, i.e., Mental Health, must be congruent with the culture and historical experience (condition) of African American people. The only mental health science that is intentionally designed and created by and for African American people is Black Psychology. As a system of thought and action, Black Psychology examines and utilizes the processes that allow for the illumination and liberation of the spirit. Black Psychology is culturally congruent with the humanity of African people. As a science, Black Psychology is concerned with understanding the systems of meaning of human beingness, the features of human functioning, and the restoration of the normal/natural order of human development for African people. In the form of professional practice, academic discipline and intellectual discourse, Black Psychology is the self-conscious "centering" of psychological analyses and therapeutic applications in African and African American realities, cultures, and epistemologies.
Jegna: Jegna (Jegnoch - plural form) are those special people who have (1) been tested in struggle or battle (2) demonstrated extraordinary and unusual fearlessness, (3) shown determination and courage in protecting h/er people, land and culture. (4) shown diligence and dedication to our people (5) produced exceptionally high quality work (6) dedicated themselves to the protection, defense, nurturance and development of our young by advancing our people, place and culture. The easiest and foremost interpretation of the Jegna is one whose central focus is on the culture and character of one’s people. The Jegnoch cherish and love their people.
Love: The undeniable desire of one’s spirit to connect, merge, expand and extend into a greater oneness with another (spirit). Experienced as romance, love requires that one value and treasure another with caring and affection in order to sustain, promote, nurture and inspire their "perfectibility". Love is self and collective cherishment. It is the essential act of personal and collective preservation and actualization
Nsaka Sunsum: Nsaka Sunsum (Touching the Spirit) is an educational pedagogy and process that captures the interdependent meshing of African intuition (the voice of the spirit), consciousness (the voice of the ancestors), and information (the voice of experience). The three key Nsaka Sunsum pedagogical ideas are (1) Love (the undeniable desire of one’s spirit to connect, merge, extend and to expand into a greater oneness with another (spirit); (2) Culture (the critical milieu without which human life can not develop or exist. It is represented as the vast structure of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals ceremonies and practices “peculiar to a particular group of people and which provides them with a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality”; and (3) Education (the process whereby humans both formally and informally reproduce and refine the best of themselves by guiding the student to human mastery, perfectibility and excellence).
Nganga (Healer): The Nganga (Healer) is one capable of activating the process by which the body (persons or community) repairs, cures or restore itself to health and well-being. S/he is one who restores the physical, psychic, social and cosmic balance and harmony in and between persons, people (community), nature and the Divine. The Nganga (Healer) serves as a powerful mediator between the visible world and the realm of spirit and ancestors.
Ngulo: Energy of self-healing power
Power: The ability to define reality and to have others respond to your definition as if it were your own. The most important reality to define is the meaning of one’s own human beingness.
Sahku Sheti/Djaer: Sahku Sheti/Djaer is the deep, profound and penetrating search, study understanding and mastery of the illumination of the human spirit. The penetrating search, study and understanding requires an investigative approach that always seeks the deeper meaning of phenomena and explores the invisible aspects of reality. This process recognizes that a full understanding of reality acknowledges that spirit is the bases of all known and knowable perceptions.
Spiritness: "Spiritness" pertains to the condition of being a spirit. Being “energy” or a power. When the person and/or community experiences congruity between the "super", "inter" and "inner" realms of “Spiritness”, then the sense of human integrity is achieved. It is only when one has a sense of their own "human integrity" that one has the “instinct” to resist dehumanization or oppression as well as the capability to even contemplate, let alone achieving, human liberation/freedom and believing in the certainty of victory.
Well-being/ Wholeness: Synonymous with healthy and wellness. State of being love -filled, happy, healthy, joyful, prosper-ous and efficacious. Cultural well-being applies to a whole people. When the human spirit is “whole” and “healthy”, the experience of being human is characterized by confidence, competence and consciousness expressed by the sense of full possibility and unlimited potentiality.
Critical Ideas & Concepts
A complete, free and unlimited access to the thoughts and ideas reflected in over 50 years of scholarship, programs development and initiatives designed to liberate the mind of African people and support the worldwide development of African people.
Reclaiming the Science of the Spirit - Advancing Black Psychology
From Black Psychology to Sakhu Djaer: Implications for the Further Development of a Pan African Black Psychology
Bibliographic Essay -African (Black) Psychology: Transformed and Transforming
The Archeology of the African Spirit: Toward a Deeper Discourse in Black Studies
NSaka Sunsum (Touching the Spirit): A Pedagogy and Process of Black Educational Excellence
Family Life and Youth Development
Toward an Empirical and Theoretical Framework for Defining Black Families
Per Âa Asa Hilliard: The Great House of Black Light for Educational Excellence
Drugs in the African American Community: A Clear and Present Danger (with Lawford Goddard)
African-Centered Model of Prevention for African American Youth at High Risk (with Lawford Goddard)
Culturecology, Women and African Centered HIV Prevention (with Lawford Goddard and Dorie J. Gilbert,)
Cultural Resistance and Psychic Terrorism
Cultural Groundings (vol 1.1) (vol 5.1): Working with African American People
Cultural Groundings (vol 2.1): Fatherhood Matters
African Philosophy and Cultural Worldview
The Whitening of Black King Tut: Implications for Educating All Children (with Vera L. Nobles)
Black Identity and African Consciousness
Shattered Consciousness, Fractured Identity: Black Psychology and the Restoration of the African Psyche
To Be African or Not to Be: The Question of Identity or Authenticity - Some Preliminary Thoughts
“Shattered Consciousness and Fractured Identity: The World‐wide Memetic Conversion of the African Mind” Sub‐Title: Black Psychology and the African Renaissance