“The American Psychological Association failed in its role leading the discipline of psychology, was complicit in contributing to systemic inequities, and hurt many through racism, racial discrimination, and denigration of people of color, thereby falling short on its mission to benefit society and improve lives,” the group said in a news release.
“APA is profoundly sorry, accepts responsibility for, and owns the actions and inactions of APA itself, the discipline of psychology, and individual psychologists who stood as leaders for the organization and field,” it added.
The group adopted the apology and two other resolutions relating to racism and health equity on Friday after they were approved unanimously by its governing body.
“For the first time, APA and American psychology are systematically and intentionally examining, acknowledging and charting a path forward to address their roles in perpetuating racism,” APA President Jennifer F. Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly, also the director of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine, said the resolutions are part of a “long process of reconciliation and healing” and are aimed to guide the association and the discipline as they move forward.
The organization said it has been complicit in systemic racism and eugenics for decades by “upholding the myth of White superiority.”
Psychology has accepted Whiteness as the standard and “presented other races as inferior, marginal, or unnatural,” the group said.