"Using psychological science to create equal opportunities to the American Dream" 

What is CANT Culture?

All cultures are created and sustained by ideas. CAN'T Culture is built around the collective Black male’s idea that “we have little worth”, “the world is unfair to us”, and “we have no control over our future”. Common sense tells us that dysfunctional environments by nature produce dysfunctional thinking, feeling, and behaving. CAN'T Culture is the Black male form of collective coping (sum total of individual attempts to cope with race-related stress) that sustains itself through social stigmatization, personal internalization and maladaptive coping behaviors. CAN'T Culture expresses itself through goal avoidance, withdrawal, self-sabotage, minimal long-term planning, and the avoidance of responsibility. These behaviors serve the psychological purpose of reducing race-related stress.

The official definition for CAN'T Culture is below:

CAN'T Culture represents habitual or ritualized forms of counter-productive coping that represent a group’s collective psychological adaption to an unfair and/or threatening environment. These maladaptive perceptions, behaviors, and forms of expression serve as counter-productive coping mechanisms. These collective maladaptive coping mechanisms serve the collective purpose of minimizing the fear, stress, sadness, anger, and frustration connected to the frequent and intense experiencing of extreme social stigma and marginalization.

These negative emotional experiences are minimized through the stigmatized group’s creation of a set of norms, customs, values, and beliefs that are different from the norms, customs, values, and beliefs of the discriminating mainstream group. The stigma-constructed way of life now serves as a sub-culture or society where power and status can be attained and the complete loss of hope, pride, and esteem can be avoided. This avoidance of a complete loss of dignity, value, and self-respect is possible as an individual now has the ability to align his belief-system, self-system, and value-system to the norms, values, customs, and beliefs with the limiting and underachievement producing social norms of CANT Culture. 

Collective Counter-Productive Coping


In conclusion to CAN'T Culture, the collective survival responses, coping strategies, defense mechanisms, and means of escape of the Black male population have become a part of the collective Black male personality and culture of dysfunction.  This collective culture and personality ultimately serve as internal barriers to forward progress and upward social mobility for all Black males who are a part of CAN'T Culture as they have internalized a mind state that inhibits them from fully participating in the American social, political, and economic system.

Black males who are psychologically immersed in the beliefs, norms, customs, and expressions of CAN'T Culture, are role models for each other, informing, instructing, and inspiring one another with distorted messages, failure-laced expectations, and dysfunctional forms of coping and self-expression. Guided by the beliefs, expectations, and norms of CAN'T Culture, young Black males are eventually driven to obtain inferior identities that are characterized by socially inappropriate forms of expression. 

Once these negative social roles are coded into the personality and character of a young Black male, these young minds begin to consciously and subconsciously pursue socially inappropriate goals that are irrelevant and ineffective as it pertains to acquiring the American Dream. This leads to a developing Black boy investing his mental and emotional energy on the standards, ideas, goals, aspirations, and pursuits of a counterculture that psychologically embraces failure and underachievement. This state of existence, if prolonged, negatively influences general decision-making and other specific areas of executive functioning (i.e. long-term planning, impulse control, emotion regulation, etc.). The reinforcing relationship between bad decision-making and stigmatism, produce deeper cognitive distortions that result in limited levels of psychological empowerment and social advancement.

FIGURE 3

How CAN'T Culture Feels

FIGURE 1

FIGURE 1

How CAN'T Culture Exist

FIGURE 4

How CAN'T Culture Behaves

Collective Maladaptive Coping = CAN’T CULTURE
     Cognitive and Affective Negativity Template (C.A.N.T.)

FIGURE 2

How CAN'T Culture Thinks