Robert Williams (psychologist): Psychology professor, born 1930 (1930-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Robert Williams (psychologist)
Psychology professor, born 1930

Robert Williams (psychologist)

Robert Williams (psychologist)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Psychology professor, born 1930
A.K.A. Robert Lee Williams II
Is Psychologist Professor
From United States of America
Field Academia Healthcare
Gender male
Birth 20 February 1930, Little Rock
Age 93 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Robert Lee Williams II is a professor emeritus of psychology and African and Afro-American studies at the Washington University in St. Louis and a prominent figure in the history of African-American Psychology. He is well known as a stalwart critic of racial and cultural biases in IQ testing, for coining the word “Ebonics” in 1973, and for developing the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity. He has published more than sixty professional articles and several books. He was a founding member of the Association of Black Psychologists, and served as its second president.

Childhood and family

Robert Lee Williams was born in Biscoe, Arkansas on February 20, 1930. His father, Robert L. Williams, worked as a millwright and died when his son was just five years old. Williams’ mother, Rosie L. Williams, worked in the homes of white families until her death in 1978. He has one sister, Dorothy Jean. He married Ava L. Kemp in 1948, at the age of 18. They had eight children, 17 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. His eight college-educated children include four psychologists, a nurse, a journalist, a teacher, and a leather craftswoman.


He graduated from Dunbar High School in Little Rock at the age of sixteen before attending Dunbar Junior College for one year. Williams earned a BA degree (cum laude with distinction in field), from Philander Smith College, in 1953. He earned a M.Ed. from Wayne State University in educational psychology in 1955, at a time when all graduate programs in the South remained segregated, and a Ph.D in 1961 from Washington University in St. Louis in clinical psychology.


Williams worked as a staff psychologist at Arkansas State Hospital, the first African-American psychologist to be hired at a state mental health facility in Arkansas. He later served as chief psychologist, at the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Affairs Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, director of a hospital improvement project in Spokane, Washington, and a consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1968 he was a founding member of the National Association of Black Psychologists, and served as its second president. From 1970 to 1992 he served as a professor of psychology and African and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He founded the department of Black Studies at Washington University and served as its first director, developing a curriculum that would serve as a model throughout the country.

Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity (BITCH)

Williams created the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity by drawing from a glossary of African-American vernacular and personal experience. “Danger: Testing and De-humanizing Black Children” Though structured similarly to traditional IQ testing, European Americans scored consistently lower on the BITCH than African Americans. Williams did not conclude, as had white psychologists, that this proved the intellectual inferiority of European Americans.

Coining the term Ebonics

He created the term "Ebonics" (a combination of “ebony” and “phonics”) to refer to African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) on January 26, 1973 at a conference called “The Cognitive and Language Development of Black Children”. In 1975 he edited a book entitled Ebonics: The True Language of Black Folks, which explained the African roots of Ebonics and refuted the popular conception that Ebonics was simply slang or deficient English.

Black Personality Theory

Williams formulated his "Black Personality Theory," presented in his second book, The Collective Mind: Toward an Afrocentric Theory of Black Personality. His theory argued that black personality cannot be understood using European philosophy and values. Instead the Black Personality Theory would draw on an African philosophy of collectiveness diametrically opposed to Western individualism.

Racial scripting

He argued that white children acquire racist predispositions at a young age through the process of “racial scripting”. In this work, he identifies a number of myths and stereotypes that form these racial scripts, including: the myth of black genetic deficiency; the deteriorating black family; cultural deprivation; black language deficiency; black self-hatred; damaged black psyche; the superior sexual stud; the superior black athlete; and the lazy Negro. He argues that these myths and attitudes form a racial "script" or schema, which the adult person draws upon to understand situations. Thus racial scripting received in childhood can shape the conceptions of reality of an adult.

Popular exposure

Williams appeared in the public eye on numerous occasions, including television appearances with Dan Rather, Phil Donahue, and Montel Williams. His work has been cited by many major newspapers, and served as a theme for an episode of Good Times.


  • Ebonics: The True Language of Black Folks, Institute of Black Studies, 1975
  • The Collective Mind: Toward an Afrocentric Theory of Black Personality

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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