Annotated Bibliography of Psychology and Racism


In the Summer of 1996, the American Psychological Association's Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) initiated its 1997 Miniconvention and National Conversation on Psychology and Racism Project, with the goal of distilling, building and broadly disseminating information about the dynamics and costs of racism and anti-racism, their effects upon science and society, and the mechanisms for the perpetuation of racism and anti-racism. That project is defined by its focus on three major issues:

  1. Psychology of racism e.g., What is racism? How is racism manifested and what are its impacts? How is racism perpetuated and sustained?

  2. Racism in psychology e.g., What is scientific racism and how does it shape our scientific knowledge? How does racism affect theory and research in psychology? How does racism affect the professional practice of psychology? How does racism affect socialization and education in psychology?

  3. Psychology of anti-racism e.g., What is anti-racism? What do we know about anti-racism interventions and their effectiveness? What do we know about empowerment and power-sharing strategies? What major skills, technology, and knowledge can psychology contribute?

This annotated bibliography was conceived and developed as a core resource for the project, its participants, and others who are interested in understanding and taking action against racism. The annotated bibliography, structured by the three themes of the Miniconvention and National Conversation project, focuses primarily on the published psychological literature and to a lesser extent on the published medical literature during 1974 - 1996.

Bibliographic Sources

The Annotated Bibliography on Psychology and Racism: 1974 - 1996 consists of citations taken from the CD-ROM databases of PsycLIT and MEDLINE. Sixteen keywords were used to develop the bibliography that reflected broad areas and interests in psychology.

The citations for the Annotated Bibliography were derived from the PsycLIT-Journals (1974-1989), PsycLIT-Journals (1990-1996), PsycLIT Chapters and Books and MEDLINE 1990-1996 databases. The PsycLIT-Journal database contains summaries of the worlds serial literature in psychology and related academic fields. It is compiled by the American Psychological Association (APA) and published in Psychological Abstracts and PsycINFO. The database covers over 1300 journals in twenty-seven languages from approximately fifty countries. The PsycLIT-Chapters and Books database contains summaries of English language chapters and books in psychology and related disciplines scanned from publications in psychology and related disciplines. MEDLINE is the bibliographic database of the National Library of Medicine, containing biomedical literature from more than 3700 journals.


The thesaurus of the PsycLIT databases was used to develop the search terms for all of the searches in both databases. Sixteen keywords were developed for the input into the databases. These keywords were: Minorities, ethnic attitudes, urban, anti-Semitism, employment discrimination, race, prejudice, racism, ethnic discrimination, intergroup relations, ethnic differences, civil rights, social discrimination, ethnic problems, social issues and anti-racism. Each of the sixteen keywords was paired with the term racism or race and entered into each database. For example, the term minorities was paired with racism and the term racism was paired with race.

The searches examined the databases for titles, authors, abstracts and index phrases. After combining the citations from all the databases into one data file, many citations were eliminated. There were two criteria for the elimination of citations from the bibliography file: (a) duplicate citations were deleted, and (b) citations were deleted that did not conceptually 'fit' into any of the bibliography's three broad themes (i.e., psychology of racism, racism in psychology, and psychology of anti-racism). The time frame for the bibliographic search effort was from May 1996 through December 1996. Annotations were reviewed and edited for substance, clarity, and tone, and when necessary, the text of the cited article, chapter or book was reviewed as a means of gaining added clarity and detail. Edited annotations were then classified into one or more of the three major themes.


tables 1 and 2 (see following pages) show the number of citations that were found in each database and for each keyword term.

The final bibliography consists of 293 annotations of which 196 pertain to the psychology of racism, 60 pertain to racism in psychology, and 37 pertain to the psychology of anti-racism.


There are three minor limitations of the methodology used. First, there was extensive overlap among the sixteen search terms. Excessive amounts of time was wasted through finding and deleting duplicate citations. Second, many recent books and articles from 1996 were not included in the bibliography. Book chapters and journal articles often take up to a year to even make it into bibliographic databases such as PsycLIT and MEDLINE due to the process of abstracting. The MEDLINE database was also problematic since only half of the citations contain abstracts. Many useful citations from MEDLINE had to be deleted due to the time it would take to summarize the article to include it in the bibliography.

Despite these methodological concerns, we believe this Annotated Bibliography on Psychology and Racism provides valuable information for researchers, students, and others who are interested in the topics addressed by the bibliography's three themes.


table 1


Keyword Term PsycLIT-Journals PsycLIT-Journals Chapters & Books
(1974-1989) (1990-1996) (1990-1996)
Minorities 19 21 18
Ethnic Attitudes


32 27
Urban 15 10 12
Anti-Semitism 3 7 6
Employment Discrimination 0 2 2
Race 76 87 98
Prejudice 59 49 51
Racism 392 365 328
Ethnic Discrimination 1 71 30
Intergroup Relations 1 1 7
Ethnic Differences 2123 2672 435
Civil Rights 8 5 11
Social Discrimination 0 12 25
Ethnic Problems 0 0 1
Social Issues 2 8 13
Anti-Racism 1 3 5
TOTAL 2,736 3,345 1,069




Keyword Term 1990 1991-1995 1/96 - 6/96
Minorities 0 3 1
Ethnic attitudes 0 0 0
 Urban 0 2 1
Anti-Semitism 0 1 1

Employment Discrimination

0 0 0


11 42 8


11 52 16


21 87 20

Ethnic Discrimination




Intergroup Relations

0 0 0

Ethnic Differences

15 64 10

Civil Rights

2 3 0

Social Discrimination

0 0 0

Ethnic Problems

0 0 0

Social Issues

0 0 0


0 0 0


60 254 57
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