Sunday, August 09, 2009

Debunking the myth of Afrocentricism

In posting this insert I have in part been motivated by comments I sometimes see flying around about the Egyptians being black. It triggered something I remember reading in Michael Shermer's book "Why people believe weird things".

In the book he debunks the views of extreme Afocentricism. He singles out the Afrocentrist claim that Aristotle stole the ideas that gave birth to Western Civilisation from the (African) library of Alexandria - page 34 & 35 2002 version - (Aristotle died long before the formation of the library)

As can be seen by the above example (and the others in the main article) Afrocentricism is not just bad science or bad history, it is a very dangerous movement, as it seeks to re-write history based on ideological beliefs, not facts. It probably ranks on a level with holocaust denial. In fact, the two views, in my opinion, represent opposite poles of the same spectrum.


From: The Skeptics Dictionery: Abracadabra to Zombie

Afrocentrism is a pseudo historical political movement that erroneously claims that African-Americans should trace their roots back to ancient Egypt because it was dominated by a race of black Africans. Some of Afrocentrism's other claims are: the ancient Greeks stole their main cultural achievements from black Egyptians; Jesus, Socrates and Cleopatra, among others, were black; and Jews created the slave trade of black Africans.

The main purpose of Afrocentrism is to encourage black nationalism and ethnic pride as a psychological weapon against the destructive and debilitating effects of universal racism.

Some of Afrocentrism's leading proponents are Professor Molefi Kete Asante of Temple University; Professor Leonard Jeffries of City University of New York; and Martin Bernal, author of Black Athena.

One of the more important Afrocentric texts is the pseudo-historical Stolen Legacy (1954) by George G. M. James. Mr. James claims, among other things, that Greek philosophy and the mystery religions of Greece and Rome were stolen from Egypt; that the ancient Greeks did not have the native ability to develop philosophy; and that the Egyptians from whom the Greeks stole their philosophy were black Africans.

Many of James' ideas were taken from Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), who thought that white accomplishment is due to teaching children they are superior. If blacks are to succeed, he said, they would have to teach their children that they are superior.

James's principal sources were Masonic, especially The Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry (1909) by the Rev. Charles H. Vail. The Masons in turn derived their misconceptions about Egyptian mystery and initiation rites from the eighteenth century work of fiction Sethos, a History or Biography, based on Unpublished Memoirs of Ancient Egypt (1731) by the Abbé Jean Terrasson (1670-1750), a professor of Greek.

Terrasson had no access to Egyptian sources and he would be long dead before Egyptian hieroglyphics could be deciphered. But Terrasson knew the Greek and Latin writers well. So he constructed an imaginary Egyptian religion based upon sources which described Greek and Latin rites as if they were Egyptian (Lefkowitz). Hence, one of the main sources for Afrocentric Egyptology turns out to be Greece and Rome. The Greeks would have called this irony. I don't know what Afrocentrists call it.

James's pseudo-history is the basis for other Afrocentric pseudo-histories such as Africa, Mother of Western Civilization by Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannnan, one of James's students, and Civilization or Barbarism by Cheikh Anta Diop of Senegal.
Afrocentrism is being taught in many universities, colleges, and public schools.

Get more facts here:

14 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...

I am not posting this piece because I'm a racisit (I'm not) nor even because I'm an Afro-pessimist (which I am) I'm posting it because I want to debunk a pseudo scientific and pseudo historical myth. Afrocentricism is bad science. Period.

It is ironic to me (laughable really) that it is not a field of study in Africa and of Africans, it has it's heart in the USA.

Afrocentricism is a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. African Americans feel so hard done by, that they are attempting (since 1960 ha-ha-ha) to create their own version of history by placing themselves in an historical context that, quite frankly, does not gell with reality. Yup, it is spearding and is the very "African Rennaissance" that you heard Thabo Mbeki spouting inbetween Shakespearian quotes. This is also the nonsense you will hear BC glibly asserting that the Pharoah's were black.

It's "crazy as a bedbug" type shit folks

Anonymous said...

Why has the African lanuages never had numerals or the word "love" amongst other in their vocabulary? Why did it take the white man to put the kaffir languages to writing? Wake up black man, you are nothing but the uncrowned beast of the field. The black has a underdeveloped frontal lobe and also a limited three dimensional vision.

FishEagle said...

Exzanian, I would have thought you'd be glad the blacks claimed Jesus as their own. Lol

Exzanian said...

Well FE, There is another piece of pseudo history to look at, Jesus (as depicted in the Gospels) probably never existed. But that is another story...

FishEagle said...

Lol. Exzanian, you're like my ex boyfriend. You don't need much encouragement to get started! Haha.

Viking said...

THis Afrocentrism is the latest in the list of pseudoscience that includes diffusionism and Atlantis mythology, and it's good to read an article pointing this out once again!

I read Black Athena, which is based on the accurate belief that the Greeks themselves claimed ancestry from Egypt. That is neither here nor there; the Egyptians weren't black!

They were obsessed with race - they painted all the peoples of the world very differently, and detailed their clothing and beards. Europeans were red-faced (sunburn!), and Nubians were black - and they themselves were yellowy. Probably a bit lighter than modern Egyptians, as befits their Semitic heritage.

Exzanian said...

Viking ~ I hate pseudo science - The scientific method will trounce all! And if I, or any views I hold, go down the drain with it, then so be it!

Viking said...

@Ex
right!
Although some pseudoarchaeology is great fun and I love reading the likes of Lawrence Gardiner as an exercise in critical thinking!
The Egypians-were-black hypothesis would be great reading if I could actually find any evidence for it!!

Doberman said...

Very good post. It is a pretty pathetic attempt at reading bones and cave drawings and deriving accurate history from that. One would take a hunter spearing a buffalo on a cave drawing to mean just that, a hunt. Afro revisionists will try and turn that into something that it isn't and therein lies the problem with their revisionist history, it's guesswork. Also, without a written language, word of mouth means little Sipho who killed a baby elephant indeed became a great hunter who mowed down hordes of elephant herds.

This is the same inferiority complex that seems to plague the black race, they know they are retarded by world standards, just look at Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mayan, Aztec, Persian and European history and it is rich in abundant discovery and accomplishment. Black Africans look at this and have nothing to show, not one structure above three storeys, not one word written down, no civilizations of note to speak of so they figure well, it's time to create a history - and while we're at it, we'll pinch some, like from the Eqyptians, perhaps some Arabic accomplishments, some Greek work etc.

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted and truly saddened by the comments on this website. Afro-centrism is a response to the centuries of Eurocentric History that has been accepted as the only real and valid science. I am not saying that African culture or science is superior even though all of the Great Greek philosophers admitted they studied at Waset which was the first university in Ancient Egypt! I am so sick and tired of other people making themselves look great and superior by tearing others races down. So I ask you and any others like you what makes your background so great? Let's see South Africa imposed apartheid on Native Africans. European nations went to Africa and exploited the entire continent for all of its material goods so that it could prosper without sharing any of this prosperity with African Nations. Since you and the narrow minded people want to ignore this and act like you're all high and mighty, you need to remember your sh#t stinks like everyone else. If you take the time and so-called knowledge that you claim to possess to actually do some research, you would discover that Africa had wonderful civilizations such as Kemet, Kush and Songhay that were stable and organized. It's funny how one of the commenters claimed "Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mayan, Aztec, Persian and European history and it is rich in abundant discovery and accomplishment" and that blacks have an inferiority complex. But with all of the time and energy that Eurocentric historians and people have taken to call blacks inferior, it seems that they must do this in order to validate themselves. If you can read through this posting and still have the same views you posted, you're just a sad individual who continues to perpetuate the evil of racism throughout the world. That's laughable!

Viking said...

@Anon 11:11

Stop being disgusted with people's opinions and you will not be so saddened.

Any attempt to re-write history to make a certain ethnic group feel good about themselves is plain ridiculous.

I do often feel sorry for many Africans who must look around them at the rest of the world as we would to an advanced alien race that decended upon us. It must feel like crap.

But, they'll manage. It doesn't give them the right to steal our history.

Exzanian said...

Anon said "Afro-centrism is a response to the centuries of Eurocentric History that has been accepted as the only real and valid science."
Well, Anon, someone much more clever than me said "Historians think they are explaining the past, in fact they are explaining the present" Afrocentrism does not gel, it does not work beyond raising the old cliche's of theft and treachery perpetuated on indigineous peace loving people who, in their gentleness and nobility, allowed this theft to continue. To this day they blame all their failings on the white man. We are forced to endure this guilt and are somehow expected to agree to a re-writing of history to make this all fit?! No, it won't do, not at all. Examine the present my dear, the answers are there for all to see.

XXninti said...

"ONLY FOOLS DUCK WHEN THE TRUTH IS THROWN AT THEM"- Dr. M. Z. York-El

**I have read quite a few of the comments left on this page pertaining to "Afrcentrism" and all I can say is WOW! It not only astonishes me that most of the comments were made with NO in depth research, but also with the tone of "How dare African people think they have a culture"! I have to ask: Is the SPELL OF LEVIATHAN really that damn thick?? (If you don't know what leviathan is then you'd have better look it up before responding to me)! Are the average non-african people really that well tricked, to believe that the people who claim to be your leaders, have you participating in ANYTHING nobel at all??? How can you make such claims about African people, knowing the burtal nature of our history with YOURS??? NEWS FLASH: Our real identity was hidden from US and YOU as well??? THE PURPOSE: SO that YOU would not oppose REAL oppression- (Opression that you can’t SEE being done to you- the kind that gives you theILLUSION of FREEDOM) Stuff like: taxes, unjust laws, money hungry schemes, and RELIGION!! YOU ARE ONLY BEING USED AS SOCIAL STRUCTURE SHEEPDOGS!! WAKE UP!

Africans were the MOTHERS OF EVERYTHING- just because melinated people don't rape and pillage does not mean that they are not powerful and knowledgeable. Let's be real here you "anti-afrocentric" people are running a race you can't win because you are too focused on what your leaders have dangled in front of your faces like rabbits to carrots. Look outside of your posession and OVERSTAND that the principals you and your kind have lived by are what's destroying the planet right NOW. It is your Eurocentric ways that have caused all these divisions. -By the way- it was the Africans who knew Europeans were a hot mess, so the MOORS stepped in to FIX your societies after the Black Plague- We had to tell you all to wash your Asses, so you would cut down on germs!!!! So next time you wanna play “frontal lobe”- check out some real FACTS FIRST, I would say gee- “Heiroglyph from a PYRAMID WALL”- Ancient Egyptians, called Kemites, wrote it all down in pictures- just in case we couldn’t speak the language and…everybody on the wall is BLACK accept for the HYKSOS, who were the fathers of the early Asians- who were prevented from entering Kemit (They were not CLEAN people) until the Pharaoh KuFU opened up the immigration laws!! –One more point EUROPE IS NAMED AFTER THE AFRICAN QUEEN EUROPA!!!!

So…STOP this OUTDATED ignorance. Honestly -it's really distateful for anyone to make some of the obsene comments you all have made- especially without through research first.

PEACE!

XXninti said...

"ONLY FOOLS DUCK WHEN THE TRUTH IS THROWN AT THEM"- Dr. M. Z. York-El

**I have read quite a few of the comments left on this page pertaining to "Afrcentrism" and all I can say is WOW! It not only astonishes me that most of the comments were made with NO in depth research, but also with the tone of "How dare African people think they have a culture"! I have to ask: Is the SPELL OF LEVIATHAN really that damn thick?? (If you don't know what leviathan is then you'd have better look it up before responding to me)! Are the average non-african people really that well tricked, to believe that the people who claim to be your leaders, have you participating in ANYTHING nobel at all??? How can you make such claims about African people, knowing the burtal nature of our history with YOURS??? NEWS FLASH: Our real identity was hidden from US and YOU as well??? THE PURPOSE: SO that YOU would not oppose REAL oppression- (Opression that you can’t SEE being done to you- the kind that gives you theILLUSION of FREEDOM) Stuff like: taxes, unjust laws, money hungry schemes, and RELIGION!! YOU ARE ONLY BEING USED AS SOCIAL STRUCTURE SHEEPDOGS!! WAKE UP!

Africans were the MOTHERS OF EVERYTHING- just because melinated people don't rape and pillage does not mean that they are not powerful and knowledgeable. Let's be real here you "anti-afrocentric" people are running a race you can't win because you are too focused on what your leaders have dangled in front of your faces like rabbits to carrots. Look outside of your posession and OVERSTAND that the principals you and your kind have lived by are what's destroying the planet right NOW. It is your Eurocentric ways that have caused all these divisions. -By the way- it was the Africans who knew Europeans were a hot mess, so the MOORS stepped in to FIX your societies after the Black Plague- We had to tell you all to wash your Asses, so you would cut down on germs!!!! So next time you wanna play “frontal lobe”- check out some real FACTS FIRST, I would say gee- “Heiroglyph from a PYRAMID WALL”- Ancient Egyptians, called Kemites, wrote it all down in pictures- just in case we couldn’t speak the language and…everybody on the wall is BLACK accept for the HYKSOS, who were the fathers of the early Asians- who were prevented from entering Kemit (They were not CLEAN people) until the Pharaoh KuFU opened up the immigration laws!! –One more point EUROPE IS NAMED AFTER THE AFRICAN QUEEN EUROPA!!!!

So…STOP this OUTDATED ignorance. Honestly -it's really distateful for anyone to make some of the obsene comments you all have made- especially without through research first.

PEACE!