10 black women psychologists who fight for a world free of racism



Note from BW of Brazil: “Racism? Oh, that’s a thing in the heads of black people!” “Oh, that’s just another form of mimimi (whining) by blacks who don’t want to take personal responsibility for their situation”. “We Brazilians aren’t racists.” These are just a few of the responses that Brazil as a while has used to deflect accusations of racism, both on the individual level and in its institutional version. Such comments and the whole discourse that Brazil is a “racial democracy” for decades have deluded millions of Brazilians as well as non-Brazilians, both white and black, that racial problems don’t exist in Brazil. This mythology has wreaked an incalculable amount of damage upon the psyches of scores of black Brazilian children, teens and adults. Even in the face of centuries of cruel racist insults and jokes and a clear preference for European features, it has only been in recent decades that masses of black Brazilians have become conscious of the racial reality. Some of the women featured in today’s post have certainly played a role in raising this consciousness. And as in any other field/profession, in order for black people to benefit collectively they must get into the system and make the necessary adjustments from the black perspective. 

10 black women psychologists who fight for a world free of racism

Courtesy of Sindicato dos Psicólogos do Paraná

Representation matters, especially in the area of psychology, marked by resistance to the debate on racism and its psycho-social implications. Thinking about this, the Sindicato dos Psicólogos do Paraná (Sindypsi PR or Union of Psychologists of Paraná) have prepared a list of black women psychologists who work or have worked in a relevant way in combating racism and oppressions of race, gender and sexuality. It is a simple tribute to black women in Psychology.

Learn more about them:


Luciene Lacerda

Graduated in Psychology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1985), has specialization in Occupational Health and Human Ecology at the Center for Occupational Health and Human Ecology of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (1992) and a Master’s in Public Health at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2002). She’s a researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), acting on the themes of work, moral assault, suffering, racial harassment, gender harassment, occupational health and health of the black population. In addition, Luciene is part of the Instituto Búzios, in the coordination of feminist actions. In 2015, Luciene received from the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, the Chiquinha Gonzaga Medal because of her dedication to the organization of the Marcha das Mulheres Negras 2015 (2015 March of Black Women).

Edna Roland

Edna Roland

She graduated in Psychology in 1972 at the Faculty of Philosophy and Human Sciences of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in recrudescence period of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship. She was a militant in the student movement when it was forbidden to even fix posters on the walls. She lived for five years in hiding due to political persecution. With the political opening, she resumed her studies in the Master of Social Psychology at PUC-SP with a paper on the relationship between bosses and maids, which led her to establish an organic relationship with the Movimento Negro (Black Movement). She founded four major black organizations, including Geledés – Black Women’s Institute, in 1988. Ten years later, she was a visiting researcher at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She was coordinator of the Combate ao Racismo e à Discriminação Racial (Combat of Racism and Racial Discrimination) of UNESCO and is currently coordinator of the Secretariat of Racial Equality of Guarulhos in São Paulo state.

Sempre Mulher - Instituto de pesquisa e intervenção sobre relações sociais

Maria Luísa Pereira de Oliveira

She’s a psychologist from the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), licensed in Psychology from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), specializes in domestic violence against children and adolescents from the University of São Paulo (USP) and a Master in Public Health from UNISINOS. She also specializes in Ethics, Education and Human Rights. She’s currently a member of the NGO Sempre Mulher (Woman Always) – Instituto de Pesquisa e Intervenção sobre Relações Sociais (Institute for Research and Intervention on Social Relations). As a researcher, she seeks to understand the effects of racial discrimination in the construction of identities and modes of subjectivity of black women.

Jaqueline Gomes de Jesus

Jaqueline Gomes de Jesus

Psychologist and PhD in Social Psychology, of Work and Organizations from the University of Brasília (UnB), Jaqueline acts to combat discrimination. She began her activism in human rights in 1997 through Estruturação – an LGBT group in Brasília, where she was secretary and in 1999, assumed the presidency. In 2000, she helped found the Associação de Acadêmicos Gays, Lésbicas e Simpatizantes do Brasil (AAGLS or Association of Academic Gays, Lesbians and Supporters of Brazil and the NGO Ações Cidadãs em Orientação (Citizens Action on Sexual Orientation or ACOS), both targeted at the LGBT public, the same target audience of the radio program audience “Beijo Livre” (Free Kiss) commanded by Jaqueline, which aimed to appreciation of the culture of this segment of the population. She helped build the LGBT Federation of the Federal District and surrounding areas and actively participated in the realization of the Quota System for blacks at UnB. As a researcher, Jacqueline has connected herself to the management of diversity and social movements, from the viewpoint of gender involving identity politics, sexual orientation and color/ethnicity. She is currently a researcher at the University of Brasília, in the area of Social Psychology and Work and teaches at various private education institutions, often being invited to lectures throughout Brazil on topics such as gender, diversity, identity, work and social movements.


Maria Lúcia da Silva

Psychologist and psychotherapist, Maria Lucia specializes in works from a perspective of gender and race. She is director-president of Instituto AMMA – Psique e Negritude (AMMA Institute – Psyche and Negritude), which develops its activities favoring a psycho-social approach in the treatment of exclusion, particularly racial discrimination. She is also general coordinator of the Articulação Nacional de Psicólogas(os) Negras(os) e Pesquisadoras(os) de Relações Raciais e Subjetividades (ANPSINEP or National Articulation of Black Men and Women Psychologists and Researchers of Race Relations and Subjectivities) and participates as a social entrepreneur of Ashoka Brasil. As a researcher, she discusses Brazilian racism from the psycho-social perspective and the impact of prejudice in the development of black subjects.

Maria Aparecida Silva Bento

Maria Aparecida Silva Bento

Having graduated in Psychology at the Farias Brito Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters in 1977, Master of Psychology (Social Psychology) from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of São Paulo (1992) and PhD in School Psychology and Human Development at the University of São Paulo (2002), Maria Aparecida Silva Bueno is currently Executive Director of the Centro de Estudo das Relações de Trabalho e Desigualdades (CEERT or Study Centre for Labor Relations and Inequalities), a nongovernmental organization that produces knowledge, develops and implements projects aimed at promoting equality of race and gender. She has experience in psychology with an emphasis in Human Psychology. She acts  on themes of affirmative action, ethnic identity, discrimination on the job, administration of human resources and prejudice.

diasJussara Dias

Jussara Dias

Psychologist trained in psychodrama from the Centre International de Psychothérapie Expressive (CIPE) in Yamachiche, Quebec. Psychotherapist – psychoanalytical clinic. Coordinates the Nucleus of Training of the Instituto AMMA Psique e Negritude (AMMA Institute Psyche and Negritude), a non-governmental organization whose work is guided by the conviction that combating racism, discrimination and prejudice is necessarily to do in two ways: politically and psychically, with the task of developing strategies for identification, preparation and deconstruction of racism and its psycho-social effects.

Virgínia Leone Bicudo

Virgínia Leone Bicudo (1915 – 2003)

Virgínia is recognized as the pioneer of the racism debate in academia. A black female psychoanalyst, she was the first Brazilian woman to be accredited by the Associação Internacional de Psicanálise (International Psychoanalytic Association). In 1945, she defended the thesis “Estudo das Atitudes Raciais de Pretos e Mulatos” (Study of Racial Attitudes of Blacks and Mulatos) in São Paulo, at the Escola Livre de Sociologia e Política (Free School of Sociology and Politics). In 1953, she wrote the report “Atitudes dos Alunos dos Grupos Escolares em Relação à Cor de Seus Colegas” (Attitudes of Students of School Groups in Relation to the Color of Their Colleagues), published in Revista Anhembi. She was president of the Instituto de Psicanálise (Psychoanalytic Institute) and one of the creators of the Jornal da Psicanálise (Journal of Psychoanalysis) and the Revista Brasileira de Psicanálise (Brazilian Journal of Psychoanalysis). Also known as a sociologist, Virgínia was essential for the social diffusion of psychoanalysis in Brazil.

Neusa Santos Sousa

Neusa Santos Sousa (1948 – 2008)

Psychoanalyst born in Bahia and relocating to Rio de Janeiro, Neusa mixed like few psychoanalysis and anti-racist activism. She is the author of the classic book Torna-se Negro (becoming black), which reflects on the arduous and painful reaffirmation of blackness in a society marked by racism and by embranquecimento (whitening). Moreover, she was chronicler and writer in newspapers and magazines, such as the Correio da Baixada, targeting the population of the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio.

Maria da Conceição Nascimento

Maria da Conceição Nascimento

Councilor of the Regional of Psychology of Rio de Janeiro Council, Maria da Conceição is coordinator of the Integrated Work Group in Psychology and Racial-Ethnic Relations, Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity of the Regional of the Human Rights Commission of PRC-RJ. She represents the Council at the Articulação Nacional de Psicólogas (os) Negras (os) e Pesquisadoras (es) de Relações Raciais e Subjetividades (ANPSINEP or National Articulation of Black Men and Women Psychologists and Researchers of Race Relations and Subjectivities).

In addition to these important women, a new generation of black psychologists is taking psychology by the hand, as an instrument of resistance to racism and sexist violence. Women like Lumena Aleluia, Clélia Prestes, Gláucia Fontoura, Simone Cruz, Jarid Arraes, Michelly Ribeiro, Crisfanny Soares and Rafaela Mayer, among many others, fulfill the laudable role of building a theoretical and methodological framework deeply connected to the Brazilian social reality, consolidating an emancipating and dignifying perspective to Psychology.

Enegrecer a Psicologia (Blackening Psychology)! Combating racism and violence!

Sindypsi PR congratulates the struggle of black psychologists.

SourceSindicato dos Psicólogos do Paraná

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. How can I post individual articles (like the one on the 10 women psychologists) on Facebook? My friends aren’t necessarily interested in all of the things included in your daily posts to me. But some articles would be extremely interesting to them.

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