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Afrocentrism

Righty: The glorification of African culture is just a transparent attempt by disaffected black intellectuals to further discredit our European heritage and weave a web of self-aggrandizing myths and lies around their primitive culture. Let’s get real: how can you compare tribal masks to the Sistine Chapel ceiling? Afrocentrists even have the audacity to claim the ancient Egyptians as ancestors of today’s African Americans, when everyone knows the Egyptians weren’t black. Afrocentrists are clearly desperate to find some evidence of distinction in their past, but their efforts are either self-deluding or plainly dishonest. To make matters worse, they’re actually teaching this drivel in schools today. What about teaching black kids how to read and write so they don’t end up as angry, drug-dealing street thugs or unwed teenage mothers?

Lefty: Africa was the birthplace of humankind and home to the most ancient civilization on the planet. Africans built the pyramids and the Sphinx; they created brilliant works of art while Europeans huddled over peat fires to warm their sorry backsides. Systematically excluded from our racist school curricula until now, Africa has re-emerged as the cultural focal point in restoring pride and dignity to millions of African-American students — the descendants of enslaved Africans who had been blatantly deprived of their cultural birthright for centuries.

The New Moderate:

African history and culture are worth studying, but so is everyone’s heritage. All world history courses (and world history must become a requirement in all public schools) should include a segment on Africa — as well as on Europe, the Middle East, India, China, Latin America (you get the picture).

The Afrocentrists’ emphasis on the glories of their African heritage might boost the self-esteem of underachieving black kids, and that’s a worthy goal. But at what price? Dismissal of (and hostility toward) European history as little more than a chronicle of systematic imperialist exploitation? Further self-ghettoization of the already ghettoized African American community? The creation of a narcissistic cultural identity that clouds reality with wishful half-truths? (Yes, the ancient Egyptians were African; no, they weren’t black.)

The cultivation of a mythic Afrocentric world-view, like the invented holiday Kwanzaa, springs from noble intentions but will only dig a deeper gulf between the black community and the rest of American society. Include African history and folk traditions in every social studies curriculum, definitely — but teach it accurately, and don’t make it the focal point of a black child’s education. With slavery and Jim Crow dead and buried, black separatism should join them in the cultural graveyard.

Should American blacks take pride in their African heritage? Absolutely. With a passion. Do they need to connect with Africa in order to feel good about themselves and their achievements? Absolutely not. What a sad idea. African Americans need no validation from another continent. A four-century history of suffering and redemption on these shores is validation enough. African Americans are, above all else, quintessentially American, and they have an abundance of American heroes to admire. In a New Moderate’s utopia, some of those heroes might even be white.

Summary: Afrocentrism is a well-intentioned but divisive influence. Include African history in social studies courses, but keep it free of dogma and don’t make it the core of a black child’s education.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Taliesin Knol permalink
    January 6, 2010 2:30 am

    We really shouldn’t edit history to favor one group, no matter the intent behind the revisions, because obvious lies discredit people and lead to disaffection. The last thing any group needs is to go and say “we’re better than you.” It’s still racist if a minority says it. The Egyptians weren’t black, the Nubians weren’t always in charge, and yes, Europe screwed over Africa. Why? Because they needed more stuff to kill each other with/money, and they could. Just because your culture got royaly screwed doesn’t mean you get to be a self-righteous jerk, and just because your culture dominated doesn’t mean you should be proud, or ashamed. WE WERE NOT THERE, no guilt, no reperations, pity, or smugness, history is just facts and they are to be kept neutral so future generations, and here’s the important bit, DO NOT, make the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Not to make anyone feel good/bad.

    • Dianne permalink
      November 28, 2010 12:13 pm

      I agree with most of your post. Europe also screwed North and South America because they could. But that is old history. And history is meant to be learned from so we don’t repeat the same mistakes, as you said, not so we can get angry and blame people for our current mistakes. We are all responsible for our own actions no matter what, or who, our ancestor was. I am the descendant of a Viking who raped a Scottish woman. I have no intention of asking reparation from one of the countries the Vikings came from…it is old history. Not everything in history is pretty. Children need to be taught HONEST history and Whole history, not fanciful bits that make it seem like a fairy tale. I did “afterschooling” with my children to fill in what the school left out. History was a big subject for us because the school did such a bad job. My kids came home after Martin Luther King Day and told me that “he freed the slaves” and he was a really great “prophet” and one of my daughters asked my if we should pray to him. I went ballistic!! Spent a week teaching them about President Lincoln and the Civil War and of course called the school and reamed them out. But my girls said “If Lincoln freed the slaves, how come he doesn’t have a day off from school?” I didn’t have an answer to that one! Teach history Honestly so we can learn from it!

  2. Giuliano Taverna permalink
    October 22, 2011 9:12 pm

    I don’t really have much to say beyond two rants…

    I’m sick and tired of subsaharan Africans trying to claim Egypt and Carthage… Egyptians were not black, they were light brown or olive and depicted themselves as lighter than the Nubians which they considered inferior barbarians, and darker than the caananites who they also considered to be inferior barbarians…And the Carthaginians weren’t even African, they came from Lebanon in the middle east. If anything I, someone who’s family comes from the Mediterranean, is closer to either of the aforementioned groups than anyone beyond that impassable desert that marked the end of the world for most of antiquity.

    To add, the Greeks had the same olive supremacist attitude… their take was interesting, they considered the white people to the north to be moral but stupid primitives, and the darker people to the south to be more intelligent but also dishonest.

    That’s more or less it, I don’t care about black Jesus, its bs but then he didn’t look likeTed Nugent either. Plus, you know, atheist.

    • get real permalink
      January 24, 2013 5:22 pm

      Jesus was a Jew….I have friends that are Jewish (by blood and religion)…. and one has brown hair and brown eyes, one has red hair and blue eyes (Most of her family still resides in Israel) and another has blond hair and blues eyes. In fact he reminds me of Emilio Estevez! So Jesus could have had any of those colorings. But he was definetly NOT Black. He was a Jew.

      Next, there are many countries on the continent of Africa. Say like, Morroco. Morrocan Americans do not go around calling themselves African Americans, at least none of my friends do. You cannot claim an entire continent to yourself and think everyone looks like you! Even the Austrailians (which Austrailia is its own continent) know that the aborignal people lived there before them. I’m so sick of it. If you don’t know your history, that’s your fault. Go and try to learn it and get some facts.

      • September 4, 2014 12:26 pm

        Jew is a religion..not a nationality.. most Jews in US are from eastern Europe
        Learn your history..

    • Uromatic permalink
      January 31, 2013 6:54 pm

      Y’all sound ignorant all sound its the land of the black period ancient Kemet. no need to waist my time on this bs shit ass page go educate yourself before speaking if Egyptians were white, then all these fore-mentioned negro peoples and so many others in Africa are also white. Thus we reach the absurd conclusion that blacks are basically whites. On these numerous bas-reliefs, we see that, under the eighteenth dynasty, all the specimens of the white race placed behind the nazis, a tattooed savage, dressed in animal skin, instead of being at the start of civilization, was still essentially untouched by it and occupied the last echelon of humanity.Champollion conclusion is typical. after stating that these sculptures can serve as vignettes for history of the early inhabitants of europe, he adds, “If ever one has the courage to attempt it. Finally after those comments, he presents he’s opinion on the egyptian race: the first tribes of the egyptian race that inhabited Egypt, that is the nile valley between the syene cataract and the sea, came from abyssinia to senar. the ancient Egyptians belonged to a quite similar to the Kennous or Barabras, present inhabitants of Nubia. In the copts of egypt, we do not find any of the characteristic features of ancient population. The copts are the results of cross breeding with all other nations that have successively dominated Egypt. It is Disrespectful to seek in them the principal features of the old race.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 5, 2014 2:10 am

        Wish u would have stuck with your opening line. You wasted your time because none of the educated people here will contest your fictional BS.

      • Lee permalink
        April 2, 2014 1:13 am

        While all people have been enslaved at different points in time and to varying degrees, no people have been enslaved as consistently or in such large numbers and by so many other people as sub Saharan black Africans.

        Also, they are the only people known to systematically participate in the enslavement of their own people. So many of them could easily be sold off only because their own people would travel to the interior of their continent, round up their own kind, and bring them to the coast to be sold to Muslims, then Europeans, and then Americans.

        To this day, Africa is a continent that either fails or struggles to tend to its own needs, with the exception of white South Africans. Yet they want the rest of us to swallow the lie that they invented and created virtually everything related to human intellect, art and culture.

        Similarly, delusional idiots like anthropologist Chris Stringer, suffering from some malignant form of white guilt, insists that some time ago (his first theory stated 40,000 years ago, now he’s backing it up to as high as 200,000 years ago) black sub Saharan Africans decided to walk out of Africa in the direction of Europe and Asia. These negroids then morphed into every sort of caucausoid from a Sicilian to a Swede, except for those who headed to Asia…they magically transformed into Indians, Japanese, Chinese, etc. Not only did this wild morphing take place, but these brilliant, world conquering sub Saharan blacks managed to snuff out all the people who had managed to survive and thrive throughout Europe and Asia, often in extreme climate conditions, for at least hundreds of thousands of years. Well, no matter! These dark skinned people who had adapted to a climate and topography vastly different from Eurasia made mincemeat of the hearty early folk living there, (although forced to by genetic studies, some of them now admit that a few might have mixed, but not enough to be significant) before fading into either a Caucasian or Asian…the whole thing is so freaking stupid, so egregiously in service to the most leftist, patronizing sociopolitical agendas I can hardly believe such drivel is taught in respectable universities throughout the US and elsewhere. No matter how many bones you throw sub Saharan blacks, it will never change the facts that we all see. It won’t help de-ghettoize black Americans, it won’t change a damn thing. It will only feed a bs lie for blacks to gnaw on while they remain at the bottom of the socioeconomic barrel. If bleeding hearts truly wish to help them, focus on things other than lies.

  3. Ami permalink
    October 25, 2011 7:06 pm

    My comment is similar to Giuliano. I’m sick and tired of hearing people trying to be something they’re not. You are what you are. Black America does NOT know its history pre-slavery and it has only recently come out that through extensive genetic research, most “African-Americans” are descended from peoples in very SPECIFIC parts of Africa. Secondly, the term “African-American” is rather inappropriate since MOST of today’s American blacks have NO connection to anyone on the continent of Africa. They know NOTHING about the various cultures/countries there – to include sadly – from which TRIBES they even come. Being African doesn’t make you black by the way, since many colors, races, ethnicities, proliferate that continent. Creating a past for yourself does not make it so.

    • October 25, 2011 8:32 pm

      Giuliano and Ami: Afrocentrism is a touchy issue, and I didn’t want to rub salt in any 400-year-old wounds. I think what we’re seeing when American blacks claim Egyptians as their ancestors is a kind of desperate grab for prestige, even if it’s retroactive prestige.

      They’ve looked at statues of full-lipped ancient Egyptians, noted that the Egyptians were Africans like them, and made a kind of flying leap in logic to link themselves with a great culture. (“Egyptians were African. We’re African. Therefore, we’re Egyptian.) We know, as you’ve both observed, that the ancient Egyptians weren’t black, because they depicted black people in their art with a distinctively different look.

      I’m guessing that today’s blacks (including some highly educated ones) are selectively ignoring the evidence in a misguided attempt to erase centuries of brutal treatment and low status. Some of the educated Afrocentrists are probably playing the Egyptian heritage card as a weapon to use in belittling Whiteys’ “Johnny-come-lately” European pedigree.

      It’s irritating, I know, but it’s also sad… as if American blacks feel so inferior that they need to dig up 5000-year-old “ancestors” to justify their existence. Good grief, there have been so many great and distinguished blacks since the Civil War that it seems almost pathological for them to harp on the greatness of their imaginary Egyptian heritage. I guess this is what happens when you’ve been told you’re inferior for generation after generation. Their response is understandable, but that doesn’t make it right. And it certainly doesn’t justify the spreading of falsehoods within the academic world.

      • October 25, 2011 8:45 pm

        Postscript: If American blacks want to celebrate their ancestral heritage, they can look to the Nubians (the Egyptians might have looked down on them, but they still had a pretty impressive civilization) as well as some West African cultures (like the Ife) that created first-rate art.

        What disturbs me as much as Afrocentrism is the increasing conversion of American blacks to Islam. To me it’s evidence that blacks are still feeling alienated from white people, to the extent that they want to distance themselves and even segregate themselves from mainstream American society. I hope they realize that Mohammed was white. (Dark white, but still Caucasian.)

        Here in Philly, I see so many black women clad in black from head to foot even on hot summer days. I wonder when African Americans will finally start identifying as Americans. I’d have thought Obama’s election would do it, but I guess he’s “not black enough.”

      • WhoKnew permalink
        September 5, 2012 5:16 pm

        A more balanced reply.

      • Lee permalink
        April 2, 2014 1:18 am

        except that embracing a lie does nothing to erase one’s brutal history or low status. The only way to do that is to embrace education, employment, participation in the political system, etc. Lies create delusions, conflict, intolerance, and stagnation.

  4. Ami permalink
    November 7, 2011 11:03 am

    Agreed. He could NEVER be “black enough” for them because he acknowledges having a white parent, just like his detractors want to IGNORE the fact that his mother is white…hence the Kenya Muslim birther crap. During my entire existence the black community has gone from negro to colored to black to Afro-American to African American. When I asked one black person what was with all the different labels over the last 50 years, the response was, “Well…our community has never REALLY known where we’re from….” I guess that says it all.

    And interesting that you’ve mentioned their conversion to Islam. If they are still feeling alienated from white people as you’ve pointed out..this will not help their cause. I went to Turkey in 1997 and the tour guide said as far as his country was concerned, American Black Muslims are not regarded as “true Muslims” because the men wear “bling bling”, which is considered a FEMALE thing. Muslim men don’t wear jewelry. (Just quoting the tour guide).

    And another interesting point, an Egyptian woman told me that it was the ENGLISH who made a distinction between “Egyptians” and the Sudanese…only because the Sudanese are black. Egyptian people have no issues with “blackness” or the Sudan, and consider the Sudan part of Egypt. Hence the Sudanese are Egyptian as far as Egyptians are concerned….which of course, as you’ve already pointed out, does NOT make Black America “Egyptian”.

  5. Mahala permalink
    December 13, 2011 4:58 am

    Black people should be proud –there are many accomplished people who claim to be members of the black and mixed races. However, claiming the ancient Egyptians were black, is kind of telling the actual Egyptians that THEY have no rights to their own history and heritage. This could cause an identity crisis for the Eqyptians—at least for those who are deluded enough to think that they are, well, Egyptians—- and that their ancient ancestors—were—well, their ancestors. My Egyptian friends seem to think THEY are Egyptian–you know, a brown semitic type people who historically have lived in Egypt? Although they think black people are wonderful, they don’t think they themselves are black nor their ancestors. And, they believe, THEY are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. Since the afrocentrist movement centers in America, I don’t get how these people who don’t live in Egypt think they should dictate to the Egyptians who their ancestors were. I mean, I’m sure the Swedes would just love to be told their ancestors are black, cuz, well blacks are just great, but it just isnt accurate, and most Swedes, like most other people, just want the truth -cuz reality can be a mentally healthy thing, right? What if a bunch of Swedes decided they were actually the ancestors of the sub-saharan black Africans?—It’s easy to twist up some data to sound accurate—so they could do that and call it the Swedo Centric movement.

    • Mimi permalink
      January 12, 2014 7:25 am

      Ancient Egyptians =/= Present day Egyptians. As we can all see Northern Africa was invaded by Arabs from the East similar to the Moors invasion of Spain. They were not from those areas and should be seen non-natives of those lands as westerns in USA, Canada and Australia are seen.

  6. April 11, 2012 3:16 am

    you people meaning white racist assholes are really sick if you think ancient Egypt was white first consider the fact Egypt is in the continent of north east Africa the oldest skeletal remain is that of Africans found in Tanzania, Uganda , Ethiopia and the Sudan they migrated northward to Egypt before during the Pharonic there were no Caucasoid found in that region so stop with the lies you or only trying to promote superiority of a dying race of people.

    • April 12, 2012 5:13 pm

      Another tirade against white people… surprise, surprise! FYI, they’ve done DNA testing on modern Egyptians and compared the results with ancient Egyptian DNA. Guess what: today’s Egyptians are pretty much the same stock as ancient Egyptians, which actually surprised me (I thought modern Egyptians would have more Arab blood). So if you want to see what ancient Egyptians look like, just check out some photos of today’s Egyptians. They’re dark, like Arabs, but they’re Caucasian.

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but facts are facts. You can even look at ancient Egyptian art for evidence; black people are portrayed as looking much different from ordinary Egyptians. And there’s not much resemblance between Queen Nefertiti and Diana Ross.

      Frankly, I don’t see why so many blacks are so hung up on whether the ancient Egyptians looked like them. Instead of fantasizing about a glorious, vanished black civilization, they should focus on building a strong community right now, right here.

    • get real permalink
      January 24, 2013 5:28 pm

      Egyptians are not white, black or arab. They are egyptian just as the jews are their own distinct race.

    • DD3 permalink
      May 4, 2013 1:02 am

      demouchetter

      Nobody here is claiming the ancient Egyptians were white. How blind in your hatred of white people do you have to be to think this? There is not a single credible scholarly work that claims this?

      The ancient Egyptians were a mixed people though predominantly Arab in ethnicity. Once again it seems people like you are confusing Hollywood movies with actual historical research which actually takes some education and intelligence two things notably lacking in the afrocentric community of “scholars”.

  7. July 12, 2012 1:41 pm

    This is an interesting perspective to say the least. Our opinions converge and diverge in different places–and that’s fine: such is life.
    However, to say the Egyptians were not Black would be an logical fallicy–a sweeping generalization. Thinking (writing) should be nuanced and specific, not cumbersome and general, for then it looses accuracy and valididty. Egypt was Black. Egypt was Asian. Egypt was also Greek. Egypt has a long and varied history, and to imply that Blacks were never consituted a ruling dynasty would be erroneous.

    • get real permalink
      January 24, 2013 5:32 pm

      Egypt was Greek Macedonian until Cleopatra’s grandfathers time. Look it up. Cleopatra is considered more Greek than Egyptian and never considered black African.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    August 18, 2012 8:29 am

    ummmm… i am tired of such bull-crap and racism.What the hell is afro-cetric bull. If your intelligent enough ask yourself somalis and ethiopians exist, last time i checked they are not black skinned but arent they African? 2) If your intelligent enough look at most of the historians who wrote about egypt describing them as similar to their ethiopian brothers but also dark in skin texture 3) Why was it that most African looking pharaohs images were destroyed and mostly at the nose at times the whole image, ummm..something called colonialism happened and euro-centric thinking began, where they detested the primitive black negroe and could never imagine him been so intelligent. I mean if your truly moderate the simple fact is inter-marriage took place due to been conquered by ancient middle eastern empires and from there we have mixed up races occuring but the founders of egypt in all honesty were indigenous Africans. History can never be hidden and the proof is in the artefacts and culture which have alot of similarity to African cultures.So id say the Egyptian civilisations were a beginning of African indigenous people,then mixed race in the middle part of egypts life and finally a complete occupation of arabs. And do you know the current southern parts of egypt today have black indigenous people another thing that most of the artefacts were also reconstructed by the europeans who had a theory known as the supreme race theory. Research instead of using emotions.

    • get real permalink
      January 24, 2013 5:34 pm

      This message is for EVERYONE: A person’s race is not contingent upon their skin color. It’s your DNA. Have yours tested.

  9. J Walker permalink
    November 3, 2012 10:05 pm

    I get the gist of what you’re saying. I’m black myself and I’m tired of this feel good, pat me on the back Afrocentrist crap.

    Demouchetter obviously lacks reading comprehension skills. Nobody here said the ancient Egyptians were literally white Europeans. I’ve seen afrocentrists respond this way over and over, but they’re almost always putting words in someone elses mouth because I’ve never heard anyone make that claim with credulity. When I hear it it’s almost always from white supremacists making the afrocentrist’s argument in reverse.

    It’s more than likely the ancient Egyptians were a mix of many different racial groups, probably starting with Africans and then mixing with other people from the Levant and eventually Greece and Rome.

    We as black people in America are NOT the descendants, either racially or culturally of ancient Egypt. We came mostly out of West Africa and that’s all there is to it. Why can’t we just be proud of all the great blacks who have accomplished so much since the end of the Civil War in spite of great adversity?

    Or hell, why not be proud of our slave ancestors without whose strength we wouldn’t exist today. They suffered under an almost unspeakably cruel system where human beings were bred and sold to the highest bidder like common farm animals. White folks didn’t build the South’s economy of tobacco, sorghum, and cotton. Our ancestors did that with the sweat of their own brow and sometimes they paid in blood for disobedience. If that doesn’t speak to the strength of the black spirit I don’t know what does.

    And if we have to bring up Africa, what’s wrong with the mighty Ghana, Mali, and Songhai? Or the Ife who built beautiful bronze statuary? Isn’t the rest of Africa worth mentioning? A lot of these afrocentrists gloss right over sub-saharan Africa, treating it with the very contempt they deride whites for holding against Africa. Just because you put on a dashiki and talk about Egypt doesn’t mean you “get” Africa. So many black Americans are ignorant of Africa as a whole and this is why friction is often created when American blacks meet Africans. A shared complexion does NOT guarantee a shared culture or appreciation of African history and accomplishments.

    • November 3, 2012 11:37 pm

      Beautifully said, J Walker! You summed up The New Moderate’s position more eloquently than I did. African Americans can take genuine pride in those ancient sub-Saharan civilizations (some of those Ife sculptures can rival anything produced in Europe or Asia), as well as the slave ancestors who persevered and created a wonderful cultural legacy despite two centuries of suffering… and of course the black heroes and heroines who distinguished themselves after emancipation. With so much to be proud of, who needs Egypt?

      You also make an interesting and valid point about African Americans’ apparent dismissal of sub-Saharan African cultures. I think it stems from the Afrocentrists’ cultural inferiority complex; they’ve probably internalized the age-old American prejudice against blacks, so they feel the need to overcompensate… to claim Africa’s most famous civilization as their own.

      If only they could feel the kind of pride you feel: the clear-eyed, unostentatious pride of someone whose self-esteem is secure and who feels no need to score points.

  10. Uromatic permalink
    February 1, 2013 2:17 am

    I found this article to be quite interesting. Let me start off by saying that the statement made “African Americans don’t need to connect with the continent of Africa to gain a full awareness of themselves and their (past) cultures/history on this planet” is complete non-sense! How can one say that people do not need to gain understanding of their ancestral past? Our ancestors, our past is like the roots to our standing tree and without roots we cannot stand firm. Why do you think African Americans are in the current predicaments that they are in today? Statistically speaking, black people are one of the most broken if not THE MOST broken people in America; broken families, scoring rates of drug abusers, incarcerations and that’s just naming a couple of the pressing issues of African Americans in 2013. Not to mention the poor Africans who are on the continent of Africa right now. I am especially disturbed by the statement being made that African Americans have American heroes to look up to rather than identifying with Africa/African culture and their own heroes.
    1. Why? and 2. How?
    Why would African Americans need to look up to anyone of the European race when Europeans were the people who enslaved, oppressed, murdered and ultimately forced them to detach from their past which in turn made them lose sight of themselves? And yes this is history and it happened a long time ago but these are the facts and we will face them! Europeans have oppressed not only Africans, but Native Americans as well.. so tell me what is it that we should be looking up too? Wait, is it the White American’s federal reserve system that creates federal reserve notes only to create more DEBT so that Americans will continue to work/slave, taking the place of those past African and Native Slaves, that we should be impressed with and admire????????

    There is nothing about the European Race that African Americas/Africans should be looking up too. Europeans still have their unity, and their “culture” but black people have been stripped of theirs and so it is completely necessary and urgent that Africans find a way to reconnect with AFRICA, African culture and traditions.

    Your thesis sounds like just another way of Europeans continually trying to detach Black people from their roots so that Europeans can reap the benefits of beautiful Africa.

    …. and they say white supremacy/racism is dead. Bullshit.

    And no matter how you try to twist and turn and lie and steal and deal AFRICANS WILL ALWAYS BE THE PEOPLE OF THE SUN AND THE PEOPLE OF AFRICA, just the same as Europeans are the people of Europe.

    Haters

    • Trini_American permalink
      May 8, 2013 11:48 pm

      You hit the nail on the head!

    • Mimi permalink
      January 12, 2014 7:35 am

      Most White Americans do not identify as ancient Europeans. They idealize their founding fathers amd developed a culture of their own. Black Americans need to do the same. They have TONS of black American heroes, geniuses, activists and freedom fighters (ex. I am 100% sure most black children didn’t know about Solomon Northup before 12 year a Slave, this guy was an incredible, strong man!). Africa will never be the true home of black Americans as it is complex, diverse and very cultural/clique-centred (most African immigrants will tell you they only feel at home in their specific tribe/clan/people within their country. Many Americanized Africans aren’t even welcomed warmly back home bc they aren’t “African” enough).
      Learn about your past, embrace it and move on. Those are the ways of success. Yes, slavery was horrible, but how about focusing on the strength of those slaves who fought and EARNED their freedoms and will always be remembered in history! Black children need to learn about people like Northup to be proud of!

  11. February 2, 2013 1:38 am

    Uromatic: What I said was that black Americans don’t need to use African culture to validate themselves, as if they have no worth without some connection to Africa. They’ve achieved so many great things here in America that they don’t need external validation from long-vanished African civilizations. (And no, the ancient Egyptians weren’t your ancestors; nearly all African Americans came here from West Africa. It’s as if Irish Americans claimed that their ancestors were Greek.)

    Sure, connecting with your African roots is a good thing, but as I said in the main article, it shouldn’t be the driving force behind African American culture. I find it sad and Ironic that African Americans, who were isolated from mainstream society by whites for so many years, are now deliberately isolating themselves more and more. Unless you’re serious about going back to Africa, you should probably be encouraging African Americans to adapt to American society — without losing their identity. (Plenty of other ethnic groups have done the same thing.)

    When I said that African Americans have American heroes to look up to, I meant people like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Jack Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King… you get the idea. Then I added that in an ideal society, blacks could have white heroes as well, just as so many white people have black heroes. Anything wrong with that?

    What you say about African Americans as a “broken” population has validity. But I’d guess that it has less to do with the disconnection from Africa and more to do with the damaging effects of slavery, the brutal Jim Crow caste system in the South, prejudice, and even well-intentioned (but ultimately disastrous) interventions like the welfare programs of the late 20th century.

    Finally, you really should try to get over the notion that all white people are somehow guilty for the sins of their ancestors — or even that all their ancestors were guilty. My ancestors never owned slaves, and only a small percentage of white people in America have ancestors who owned slaves. Even most Southerners before the Civil War never owned slaves. Collective guilt is an easy charge to level against people you resent, but that doesn’t make it valid — and it does nothing to improve race relations.

  12. February 6, 2013 5:17 am

    What is all this talk of African this African that, the term African is a European so is Egyptian or ancient Egyptian. once you find the most ancient name of ancient Egyptians by themselves for themselves you will find the chain that chain themselves to others in the continent. Today’s history is driven by people with their own shot comings. The terms black people, African they are too narrow to understand the continent. The so called historian they often stretched them when it suit them, narrow them when it does not suit them.

  13. Trini_American permalink
    May 8, 2013 11:22 pm

    There are pros and cons to the dialogue……I agree to disagree yet very interesting arguments. So, here I am a first generation American born to Trinidadian parents. My parents immigrated here to the US in 1977 from the island of Trinidad located in the West Indies and then I was born in 1979.

    My mother, who is 50% East Indian and 50% black and my father is mixed with chinese, black, and spanish. My parents sound very exotic to some but the end result was a child (me) who looks black but with more defined features like the stereotypical chinky eyes and “mixed” looking hair.

    My maternal grandmother, who was black, glorified all her biracial children because she, my grandmother, was the outcast amongst her siblings, who had a different father from her and they were biracial (creole chinese). So she in return married my grandfather, a 3rd generation East Indian who ironically considered himself “black” because he was not raised as a traditional hindu so he can not identify with the Indian culture……he just looks it.

    Anyhow, I recall when i was a teenager or so asking my grandmother about her family history and background. She told me her mother was a French Creole…….my grandmother’s maiden name was Piaget and she spoke creole. So here we go…..I’m like well who was 100% African and black in your family cuz you look black for a reason…..OMG….she frumpled up her face and said the word “African” in such disdain that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or seeing. All she said was no we dont have Africans in my family. Ignorance. But she was born in 1924 and raised during a time where to be fear-skinned was doted upon and to be dark-skinned was inferior and shunned. And within the black race it is still regarded as such in these modern day times. But it just goes to show you how the mindset can be infiltrated generation to generation.

    So how do I self-identify? I do not tick African-American on those forms that ask me to choose from the list of options. I check other and identify myself as Trinidadian-American. How can I deny all of these wonderful races that are a part of me just because I look more like one race than the other? Why not have European-American as an option also? I was born American but raised Trini. I recall resenting my parents when I was younger because they were determined to raise me “their” way, they refused to have me become like the American kids I was friends with….idle, no respect and manners, not taking their school work seriously……

    I grew up in the Wash., DC area, attended Syracuse University, got a good job (money wise) and moved to Philly, where as the gentleman somewhere above mentioned that a lot of blacks in Philly are Muslim……Yes they are and it irritates me for a different reason. In my opinion it’s a monkey see, monkey do thing and an insult to the “real” practicing Muslims/Islamic culture.

    So…..are the Egyptians black? So based on what I have read and gathered from Egyptian friends who are near and dear…….Present day Egypt is more or less Arab which makes sense considering the vast majority of North Africa was taken over by the Arabs. I think the rest is self-explanatory as to who the Arabs ran out and conquered. And yes they too along with Black Africans sold many Africans into slavery for profit. Its a shame on both ends as far as the mindset of the European in those times to want enslave folks to do their labor, the torture alone is sickening and those in Africa who sold their own into it. 2 wrongs don’t make a right. But that was history and we’re supposed to learn from it. I would just like to say from my own personal experiences from college on up to my everyday work life~physically its gone but mentality wise it is not. And I’ve never heard Black American claiming Egypt as part of their ancestry, maybe in the context of being “African” and not black.

    And Black America is so lost when it comes to their identity. And the reason I glorify mine for being a first generation American. And I think this is why they patronize Africans…..it is the one bond that is lost but not forgotten…..

    I recall visiting Nigeria with a few close friends (asian, nigerian, and american) back in 2006. One of my friends was going to try and start a business there after visiting Nigeria before and falling in love with the country. We went to a business seminar to support her which was run by a caucasian American and everything sounded great until he said “Africa has a lot of problems. We want to forget about the problems and take their money” which in my opinion has always been the case……What other continent has so many natural resources from oil to minerals to precious metals……And a pity that the govt is so corrupt in Africa. Money is the root of all evil.
    And yes Jesus was middle-eastern and looked probably like a stereotypical Israeli. Today, you see people not fitting the stereotypical look of certain geographical areas due to the mixing of races and ethnicities. Such is life and so are the times we live in.

    Love, Peace, and Happiness

  14. Anonymous permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:30 pm

    AFROCENTRISIM IS NOT BASED ON COLOR IS BASED ON THREE PRINICPLES AND THOSE ARE CREATIVITY,WILL, AND SPIRITULITY…..:)

  15. Anonymous permalink
    December 25, 2013 7:12 pm

    WOOOO!!!! I am Harlo-centric! WOOOOOO!!!!!! AWWWLLLLRRRIIITTTEEEE!!!!! Hot Damn!!!!!

    -Ol’ Harley Nichols

  16. anon permalink
    December 26, 2013 10:49 pm

    Is this just a blog for white people to wax poetic about how stupid they think afrocentrism is? What about the Indigenous people erased by contemporary black imperialists posing as afrocentric thinkers? What about the Indigenous people throughout Europe who were destroyed by imperial church leaders? Being more nuanced in your arguments isn’t about reiterating racist nonsense insisting that European social, political, and artistic achievements are superior to the rest of the world’s. You sound like a group of racists patting each other on the backs. The problems with afrocentric theories go much deeper and include such things as gender and class. Also, you don’t have to throw the whole discussion out the window. Afrocentric thinkers have done an amazing job of ensuring that the broader society does have a stronger reference point for African influences on the rest of the world. Insisting that no, Africa has influenced nobody and only European influences count for anything, just makes you all sound like total jerks.

  17. Destroy Ignorance permalink
    May 7, 2014 1:19 am

    Black people- and by Black I mean the descendants of sub Sahara blacks who were brought to north America as slaves, are so desperate to feel better about their lowly heritage, they try to appropriate a history that isn’t theirs. It would be like the Irish trying to claim ancestors built the Roman coliseum, because they are part of Europe too. Very transparent and sad, not to mention embarrassing. Even if there was truth to the belief, the slaves brought to America, we’re from sub saharan tribes on the mostly southern west coast of Africa.

  18. Anonymous permalink
    May 10, 2014 9:23 pm

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