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Even the Rat Was White: A Historical View of Psychology (Allyn & Bacon Classics Edition) (2nd Edition) Paperback – March 28, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0205392643 ISBN-10: 0205392644 Edition: 2nd

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Even the Rat Was White: A Historical View of Psychology (Allyn & Bacon Classics Edition) (2nd Edition) + A Brief History of Modern Psychology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 2 edition (March 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205392644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205392643
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Even The Rat Was White views history from all perspectives in the quest for historical accuracy. Histories and other background materials are presented in detail concerning early African-American psychologists and their scientific contributions, as well as their problems, views, and concerns of the field of social psychology. Archival documents that are not often found in mainstream resources are uncovered through the use of journals and magazines, such as the Journal of Black Psychology, the Journal of Negro Education, and Crisis. The historical role of African-Americans in psychology. History of Psychology, Psychology of Prejudice.

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Customer Reviews

I got this book for a graduate class I'm taking and it was really amazing.
AC04
In his book Even the Rat Was White Guthrie implicitly describes racial discrimination and its path of corruption through the history of psychology.
Jessica Hetrick
Any student interested in psychology should read this book for a deeper insight into the history of the field.
S. Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Aron D. Gerhart on March 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
Robert V. Guthrie's classic novel, Even the Rat Was White: A Historical View of Psychology, is an excellent historical document that views psychology from multiple perspectives. Guthrie cites many archival documents that are not found in typical, mainstream resources, which exposes students and educators alike to not only elusive but also informative material. It is an excellent source for informing and intriguing readers and inquiring minds about the impact that African-American psychologists have had on the field of psychology.

The first part, or section, of Guthrie's literary work focuses on the "scientific" measure of race and racial differences. From physical appearance (e.g., Shaxby and Bonnell's photometer) to mental aptitude (e.g., the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler-Bellevue scales), there existed a myriad of measurement devices and instruments for measuring racial differences. Of course, the majority of these measurements indicated the racial inferiority of American minorities (viz., African-American inferiority). The spurious results were the product of three major factors: (a) experimenter expectancy, which was due, for example, to the previous research of eugenicists such as Francis Galton and Charles Davenport, (b) culturally-biased instruments or measures, and (c) suspicious statistical analyses (e.g., Charles Babbage noted the unethical practices of "trimming" and "cooking" data sets.).

As stated previously, the result of the measure of racial differences led to an assumption of minority inferiority. Even though much research has been conducted to invalidate and repudiate these claims (e.g., M. J. Mayo and Horace Mann Bond have produced literature in support of racial equality.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel X. Arnold on January 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book as a psychology major in the late 70's. It was facinating then and timely. Now it is even more so. The perspectives it shares are critical to understanding racism in its full capacity. Racism is not merely a side issue or cultural anomaly, it is the centerpiece of American life and European culture in general. It goes beyond simply naming behaviors as racist or non-racist. It allows you to understand and label the components of racism and to understand the mechanisms of the disorder. Only then can you cure yourself and help others.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Martin on May 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Robert Guthrie's Even the Rat was White, was written from the historical perspective of African Americans and was designed to inform readers of the challenges African Americans faced and contributions African Americans made against all odds in the psychological sciences. This brief review is aimed for the general reader and will succinctly cover topics discussed in the book.

Even the Rat was White is divided into three parts. The first part discusses and analyzes psychology and racial differences. The second part of the book presents influential African American psychologists, their struggles, and their contributions to the fields of psychology. The third and final part of the book is composed of conclusions and future directions. The first part of the book painted a detailed historical picture of the stereotyping of African Americans and how psychology did nothing to dismantle these ideas; it only perpetuated the obviously flawed stereotypes that kept African Americans as inferior individuals for hundreds of years. An example of this is IQ research, IQ tests, and IQ standardization. These tests are not culturally sensitive, are designed by middle-class whites for middle-class whites to excel on. The second part of the book provides biographies of several prominent African American psychologists giving detailed background on their upbringings and the adversities they had to overcome to receive their education and have their work taken seriously. Their contributions are also noted at the end of each biography.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Jablonski on May 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Robert V. Guthrie's Even the Rat Was White does a wonderful job of illuminating the often untold history of racism in psychology. It is integral for those entering this field to become well acquainted with the potential ramifications of allowing science to be utilized as a tool for discrimination. Guthrie provides numerous examples of this, including the misuse of intelligence testing as "proof" of racial inferiority. Under the guise of research, numerous anthropomorphic measurements were obtained and used to support what was viewed as the inherent inferiority of certain races.

Part II of the book focuses on psychology's increasingly important role in historically Black colleges, and provides information about the backgrounds and contributions of numerous notable African American psychologists. Overall, this work provides a frank discussion of some of the most egregious ethical missteps in the history of psychology. This is a valuable perspective that unfortunately is rarely mentioned in most textbooks, and serves as an important reminder of the importance of conducting ethical research as well as questioning the societal norms that are taken for granted.

In order to progress beyond the problems highlighted by Guthrie, I think this is a must read for those in any social science field. However, although this book does seem to be geared mainly towards those entering the field of psychology, it is detailed and well-written, making it an interesting read for anyone with a general interest in the history of racism.
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