Psychology for Social Workers by Lena Robinson

By Lena Robinson

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Black (African-Caribbean) people often feel the need to switch between their own cultural language code and that of the more dominant white society. There is a tendency among some authors to describe black English as a deviant or deficient form of mainstream or standard English (Smitherman, 1977; SmithermanDonaldson, 1988). Viewing black English as a dialect stems from a Eurocentric perspective that describes only what is ‘missing’ and what is grammatically ‘incorrect’. Therefore, we need to use the term black English rather than black dialect to indicate the language form.

Visual behaviour A major nonverbal facial feature relates to maintaining eye contact in a dyad or to ‘gaze behaviour’: looking at or looking away from the person being addressed. This section is concerned with visual behaviour, which is one of the most studied aspect of nonverbal behaviour. ) plays a major role (see Watson, 1970, for detailed review of cultural gaze). In particular, it plays an important role in interpersonal communication, interpersonal attraction, and arousal. The research carried out by LaFrance and Mayo (1976) demonstrates that black Americans tend to have lower eye contact and gaze than whites.

Heinig (1975) reported that black American students touched teachers more than their white counterparts. , (1976) showed that touching behaviour among black Americans was much greater than the touching behaviour among white children (Hanna, 1984). In a study of touching behaviours among black Americans and white female pairs, Willis and Hoffman (1975) observed that there was ‘more frequent touching in same sex and same race dyads than in dyads of other race/sex combinations’ (Smith, 1983:58). , (1976) found that touching was more likely to occur in black-black dyads with females touching more frequently than any other group.

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