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Francis Cress Welsings Contributions to Africana Studies Epistemology


Journal of Black Studies

Published online on


Francis Cress Welsing, a Black psychiatrist and medical school professor, advanced one of the most notable and controversial theories about the perpetuation of global White supremacy. The cress theory of color confrontation (CTCC) seeks to etiologically explain the varying degrees of White supremacist patterns of behavior that shape White interaction with Black people in particular and "non-White" people in general. White supremacy has been under-theorized in Africana Studies save for a few key scholars. The present investigation seeks to locate the CTCC within Africana Studies in terms of Christian’s, McDougal’s, Karenga’s, and Banks’s epistemological models, and to estimate the analytical value it adds to knowledge production in the discipline. This analysis concludes that CTCC both enhances and challenges Africana Studies. It offers a systematic scientific examination of White supremacist behaviors and psychology to equip Africana communities for the continuing needs of the freedom struggle. CTCC also challenges Africana Studies in that in order to move beyond a reactive posture toward racism, it is necessary to direct systematic attention, resources, and research toward studying White thought, in order to understand, anticipate, and defeat its efforts to oppress people of African descent.