Blackipedia is a bi-weekly CASSIUS feature that takes a fun approach to exploring Black history, slang, and culture. In May (#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth), we’re honoring Black and brown mental health pioneers. Get ready to learn something—and tell a friend!
Robert Lee Williams
[rob-ert lee wil–yuh mz]
- Robert Lee Williams II is a well-known psychologist who was a founding member of the National Association of Black Psychologists and served as its second president. While he is a professor emeritus Afro-American studies at the Washington University in St. Louis, he is probably best known for coining the term “ebonics” in 1973 to describe African American vernacular english.
- In 1972, he created the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity (BITCH). The test is described as a “‘culture specific’ test is used to determine the taker’s ability to function symbolically or to think in terms of his own culture and environment.” According to ERIC, the test was formulated by combining “dialect specific and culture specific tests would certainly enhance the possibility of measuring what is inside the black child’s head; this is the basic rationale for the BITCH-100.”
- In 1975, he wrote and edited Ebonics: The True Language of Black Folks. The book went in depth about Ebonics’ African roots and pushed back against the notion that Ebonics was “slang” or a flawed form of English.