Defending the Paradigm Author(s): Adisa A. Alkebulan Source: Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 37, No.

3, Sustaining Black Studies (Jan., 2007), pp. 410427 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 05/07/2011 12:38
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San Diego StateUniversity

Recent attacks Africana on studies follow historic a pathofinstitutionalized racism theacademy itscustodians in the and questioning discipline's relevance. to These ongoingattacks demonstrate society'srefusal this allowAfrican within Therefore, assault it. the fullparticipation people's on Africana studies reallyan assaulton African is people.This article seeksto remind scholars African in studies that Afrocentric has the idea been theguiding of and paradigm thediscipline it notonlyneedsto be but needs to be vigorously defended, Afrocentric scholarship pursued. The paradigm this from others. all This article distinguishes discipline also confronts false notionof Afrocentrism critics' the and use of the claimsofa fewnon-Afrocentrists indictment as an the against Afrocentric In movement. defending reasserting Afrocentric and this the paradigm, article setsout to further define it the Afrocentricity. Finally, addresses falseclaimsattributed itbyitscritics. to studies; Keywords: Africana Afrocentricity; Afrocentrism

of studiesis notan anomaly. Debatingtheimportance Africana Fornearly years, 40 scholars thisdiscipline in havebeenin constant with their institutions. havebeenfighting for struggles Many their professional own on onehand, their and sometimessurvival, on In on fledgling departments, theother. spiteoftheattacks the old must understood be within much a discipline, and new,they framework. theheart thisdebateis notreally sigAt of the larger nificance Africana of studies rather value,orlackthereof, but the that thissociety placedon African has all, people.After whatis thesignificance a peopledeemed of worthless a racist by society? This article to reassert Afrocentric the as attempts paradigm the framework guidethediscipline. doingso, theAfrocentric to In Africana studiesfrom traditional disciparadigm distinguishes The aimis also to defend Afrocentric scholars the plines. against
JOURNALOF BLACK STUDIES, Vol. 37 No. 3, January 2007 410-427 DOI: 10.1177/0021934706290082 © 2007 Sage Publications




false claims and media distortions typify Eurocentric that the toAfrican response agency. The recentdebate is merelythe latestmanifestation a of decades-old White American dilemma: "Negro the This problem." out the predicament playsitself in academiawith lackof support for Africana studies but itis many departments, more important, a directassaulton African intellectuals themselves. Historically, academic institutions beenhostile scholars have to whochallenge traditional and that scholarship disciplines promote Europeandits ideasas themodelofcivilization at while, thesametime, omitting or distorting meansbywhich the obtained their Europeans global dominance. is mostapparent theongoing This with attacks the on Afrocentric or has "Afrocentrism" paradigm what beenmisnamed its critics. academicand media critics distort the by Although Afrocentric towhere is unrecognizableAfrocentric idea it to scholthe ars,it nevertheless represents ongoingwar games overthe of scholars interpret to African from their audacity African reality own cultural Maulana Karenga(2002) accurately perspective. between the and explains difference Afrocentricity themedia'suse when ofAfrocentrism he writes, in Afrocentrism more often ideological dis[Theterm] appears Afrocentric advocates critics and in course between especially popular on subject.. . [There a] popular . is of pieces the appropriation of critics the and media the who by category some itsadvocates, which todefine as an ideological tend it useitfor purposes posthan Its ture rather an intellectual from category. transformation toAfrocentrism is indicative this. the of of For use Afrocentricity to that as of "ism" tends suggest itis seen more a political posture ororientation inintellectual (p.46) than methodology a work. African idealsatthecenter anyanalysis of is placing Afrocentricity and that involves African culture behavior 1987,p. 6). The (Asante, of Asante's(1980/1992) book,Afrocentricity: publication Molefi in TheTheory Social Change, 1980 and his subsequent of publiThe Idea cations thesubject, Afrocentric (Asante, on 1987,1998) and andKemet, (Asante, 1990),revoluAfrocentricity Knowledge the African The tionized waywe study phenomena. paradigm profoundation manyscholars question, for videdthetheoretical to



and ultimately us of Europeannotions White rid of challenge, and patriarchy. More important,provided frameit a supremacy work interpret present study African to and the of peopleandculture from perspective theAfrican the of person. Mazama(2001)points that developmentthe out the of Afrocentric cannot understood be of outside thedevelopment the of paradigm first program Africana PhD in studies 1988atTemple in University. she "It not because Furthermore, writes, was a milestone so much thePh.D. validated African the but experience because,forthe first and an time,we were systematically consciously building of scholars who weregoingto challenge whitesupremacy army in waysithad never beenchallenged before" 403). (p. Attacks Afrocentricity, frankly, been insidious. on have quite Writers as D'Souza (1995),Schlesinger such (1991),andLefkowitz who allege thatAfrocentric is (1996), scholarship "pseudo"feelsgood history," "groupself-esteem," and demonscience," strate thatthe attacksemanatefromthe leftand right the of EuroAmerican The irony thesecharges of is political spectrum. that describe propaganda the they actually many Europeans pass off Western as education. anyrate, criticism Afrocentrists At the of deals primarily thediscussion ancient with of Egypt's(Kemet) influence Greece.This criticism on theuninformed reader gives theimpression Afrocentric that scholars havean ahistorical obsession withKemetand are concerned withlittle else. Of course, could be further from truth. the Eurocentric However, nothing scholarshave rarelylet the "truth" interfere withthe White that a goodportion Western of supremacist cheerleading represents thefalsenotion Greeceas an ancient of oasis scholarship, namely, withlittle outside influence certainly and miraculously emerged nonefrom Africa. The reality thatancientGreece is merelya footnote is in Africanhistory. For most Afrocentrists, Greece is irrelevant. Afrocentric is scholarship varied.Afrocentrists specialize in diverse areas suchas psychology, cultural literature, linguistics, social work,history, communications, expression, philosophy, and political science.Greece,therefore, notfallwithin does the of mostAfrocentric In spiteof thisreality, research. the scope debateof "Egypt versusGreece"remains central the battlefront


4 13

idea not overtheAfrocentric butcertainly becauseAfrocentrists have made it so. The aim of thisarticleis not to engagethat it readersare debate,howeverintriguing may be. Interested of to directed theworks Diop (1974, 1981),AsanteandMazama and (1995), to namea (1954/1992), Van Sertima (2002), James further advances Afrocentric the few. Thisarticle, however, parain for new digmas a necessity thediscipline charting understandworldexperience. wrests the Afrocentricity ings of theAfrican traditional and disciplines studyof African people away from their on Afrocentric scholars also position methods. experiences In of the withall others after centuries exclusion. discussing par with what is it instructive start to Afrocentricity paradigm, is most to to andthen proceed whatitis not.

are thatall investigations culscholars Afrocentric recognize worldview. and are informed a particular centered by turally and Linda James Myers(1987) agreeswiththisassertion holds is that worldview yielded a set of philosophical the assumpby in thatthose tionsthatare represented the conceptual systems that set structure. also maintains "a cohesive of She assumptions a create [sic]a conceptual system, patassumptions philosophical define way of lifeand worldin a of tern beliefsand valuesthat which (pp. judge,decideandsolveproblems" 74-75). peopleact, the thatstructures thatit is thisconceptual She asserts system in to at worldview thelevelofdeep structure be reflected surface as acrosstimeand space. Afrocentricity,a paradigm, structure base thatcomes to its requires practitioners have a knowledge descent of from lifeexperiences peopleofAfrican the (Kershaw, of 1992,p. 477). The collective people,their experience African the culture helpedconstruct Afrocentric has and worldview, their paradigm. be four ForanyAfrocentric enterprise, issuesmust considered. the mustreflect ontology/epistemology, Afrocentric scholarship and of peopleand must axiology, aesthetics African cosmology, in be centered Africanexperiences (Mazama, 2001, p. 399).



for These are fundamental issuesthat needto be considered any in Afrocentric TheAfrican voiceis embodied thesecateinquiry. gories.In otherwords,theseare the meansby whichAfrican the worldview itguides and their thought peoplearticulate African andaction. Of cosmology, Asante(1990) asserts theplace ofAfrican that in culture themyths, of and literatures, oratures African legends, level, the cosmological people makesup, at the mythological issue within Afrocentric the he Furthermore, asks the enterprise. in theAfrican's Whatrole does African culture following: play interface withthecosmos?Are dreams lifeand deathin this of tradition in reflected metaphysical he ways?Finally, maintains thatthe fundamental are of research assumptions Afrocentric basedon the African orientationthecosmos(pp. 8-9).Similarly, to the extended is God manifesting, self Myersnotesthat "African the humanbeingis withGod havingstructured consciousness to of through conceptual systems be divine supremely good"(p. 77). In other the in must words, workof theAfrocentrist be rooted a of whatis good. Theremustbe an ethical/ spiritual conception functional dimension Afrocentric to research.Researchmust address needsofAfrican the it peoplefor to be relevant. ForAfrican As peoples,theessenceof lifeis spiritual. a con"Afrocentric methods well as Afrocenrically as [sic] sequence, must reflect primacy thespiritual, the of the generated knowledge between physical thespiritual, wellas the the and as relationship interconnectedness things" of all (Mazama,2001,p. 399). Akbar as of (1984) also identifies spirituality a majorcharacteristic the Afrocentric He asserts thata holistic modelincludes paradigm. thefulldimensions thehuman of mental, composition: physical, and metaphysical. Afrocentric The "viewshumanity as approach reducible a universal to substance is harmonious that ultimately withthe entirecosmos." Spirituality impliesorder, harmony, and and in interdependence, perfectibility is essential thehuman makeup (pp. 408-409). refers theknowledge truth anAfrocentric to or in Epistemology and danceall embody whatis Music,language, rituals, inquiry. considered truth. Thesemodescarry knowledge lessonsof the and African culture. contains symbols, It the peopleandtheir concepts,



It sources knowledge. refers thequestion, of to ideas,andall other is How do we knowwhatwe know?Self-knowledge thebasis of inAfrocentric all knowledge 1987,p. 74). (Asante, epistemology us Mazama (2001) also informs thatall Afrocentric inquiry but withself-knowledge mustalso be conducted through begins and the subject.Cultural an interaction betweenthe examiner is "Afrocentric is she asserts, imperative: immersion, knowledge a of and validated through combination historical understanding is that and suprarational." intuition; is, knowing bothrational she "One mustremember Furthermore, contends, always that one'sheart superior all andpriceless" 399). is to with (p. knowing thatemotional as Akbar(1984) concludes reaction, a Similarly, is and meansof knowing as a balanceforrationality, legitimate Holisticknowledge critical "is within Afrocentric the paradigm. the as of in terms bothstructuring Afrocentric methodology well of the as characterizing appropriateness certainobservations" of (pp. 410-411). The axiologicalissues answerthe questions and is ethics values.Theseissuesshapewhat acceptable what and worldview. of is notin thecontext theAfrican elements of are "aesthetics said to existas theleading Finally, the African's (Asante, responseto art,plasticor performing" aesthetic is Panand 1990,p. 11). This modelis an Afrocentric WelshAsante(1994) explains in African focusand perspective. and has that visionof theAfrican guided, the informed, inspired and as of thereclamation Africa politically well as historically of facilian Furthermore, understanding aesthetics aesthetically. critiand "forartistic, tatestheparadigm literary philosophical aesthetics Pan-African cism and scholarship" 2). Moreover, (p. trasomeaspectoffunctionality. to "tend involve Philosophically a worldview." reflect specific refers valuesthat to Africa ditional of "Thecultural WelshAsante In other words, dynamics explains, An aesthetic a people createa specificaesthetic complexion. in of exists harreflects imagesand symbols a culture the which the thus of with cosmology that the society, facilitating highmony that andinnovation" 2). It is theculture estcreative (p. expression with to with perspective which voicehisor the theartist provides that an herartistic expression, expression speaksto theneedsof



and are thecommunity. Moreover, rhythm, creativity the spirit, for criteria discussing in aesthetic African people,for key any aesthetic bankthat "African can drawupon a collective people and baseduponhistory subhousesimages, and symbols rhythms sequent mythology" 4). (p. editedthemost Ama Mazama,a leading Afrocentric scholar, textin Afrocentric discoursesince Asante's(1998) significant secondedition TheAfrocentric TheAfrocentric of Idea. Paradigm become most the definitive theoretical (Mazama,2003)hasquickly in research. compleIt collection thebrief of history Afrocentric mentsAsante's threeauthoritative textson the subject:AfroThe centricity: Theory Social Change (Asante,1980/1992), of and Kemet, 1990),andthepre(Asante, Afrocentricity Knowledge The Idea. mentioned, Afrocentric The Paradigm viously Afrocentric details evolution theidea.Afrocentricity several the of had important antecedents. Mazama (2003) credits MarcusGarvey, Cheikh Anta Diop, FrantzFanon, Aime Cesaire, Maulana Karenga, BlackNationalism, Africanism, Kawaidawith Panand Negritude, Asantewitha theoretical foundation developthe to providing Afrocentric (p. 10). Thistext onlydefends paradigm idea not the but also dispenses withall other falsenotions Afrocentrism. of Thesefalsenotions existbecause"there confusion largepart in is becausescholars haveoften in a failed approach to Afrocentricity Mazamahasbroken ideadownso thorthe systematic (p. 6). way" that us and oughly sheinforms oftheaffective, cognitive, connotativeaspects theAfrocentric of In she paradigm. addition, provides thereader with socialdimensions theparadigm; the of Afrocentric andmethods; multiplicityAfrothe of epistemology, methodology, centric the theories; structural aspectoftheAfrocentric paradigm; andthefunctional of aspect theparadigm 23-26). (pp. Mazamaassembled collection scholars a of whosework representsthecore of Afrocentric research. None of thesescholars' workrepresents "spurious the thatantibody of knowledge" Afrocentrists attributeAfrocentricity to (Oakes,2005). erroneously Thesemajorscholars thefieldofAfricology/Africana/African in American/Black studieshave contributed to significantly the Afrocentric andhavevarious idea areasofspecialization spite in of



are theclaims Afrocentrists onlyconcerned Kemet. that with Each in a solid framework article TheAfrocentric Paradigm provides research. Afrocentric withwhichto engageAfrocentric scholars set understand a cohesiveand coherent of philosophical that in is an frame of assumptions necessary developing Afrocentric a willhelpcorrect Ama Mazama has created text that reference. of idea. thedistortions theAfrocentric

ATTACKS of in Scholars thefieldofAfricana studies, regardless subject intheposition having defend intelof to the area,areoften placed to of andourright existin acadtraditions African lectual people existedin Africalong before thatphilosophy emia. The reality was a Greeceof whichto speak is a factconspicuously there of absentfromthe curriculum most philosophy departments. of aboutthe study African is Africana studies not simply phenomena.The fightagainstWestern hegemony, unfortunately, for of concern thediscipline. remains great of Studies San Diego at In fall2002,theDepartment Africana with Some prowas StateUniversity confronted thischallenge. studies courseon anAfricana at fessors theuniversity challenged education intellectual African heritage beingaddedto a general of and section by monopolized thedepartments philosophy reliwas that course members asserted this Somefaculty studies. gious studies and had no justification norreligious neither philosophy for being placed in a sectionof generaleducationentitled, Not Studies." philosophy? and "Philosophy Religious or whospecializein philosophy relischolars studies Africana suchas African ancient with arequitefamiliar philosophers gion (2040 (2414 BCE), Khunanup (2700 BCE), Ptahhotep Imhotep son (1990 BCE), Amenhotep, of Hapu (1400 BCE), Merikare (1300 BCE). Theyalso know,as Western BCE), or Akhenaten the that GreekThales(600 BCE), the scholars must, philosophy several of father Western so-called yearsstudyspent philosophy, of mathematics, knowledge geometry, ing in Kemet,acquiring



and philosophy(Obenga, 1995, p. 54). Such obvious omissions are predictable of when we considerthatdefenders theEurocentric thesisbelievethat(Lefkowitz, 1996) to of civilizathe Greek anyattempt question authenticityancient tion(i.e. Greekphilosophy) of direct evento people is concern who ordinarily in have little interest theremote past. Since the conof ancient Greecehas beenintimately founding thiscountry, nected with idealsofAmerican the 6) democracy, (p. The Akan, Dogon, Yoruba,Zulu, Kikuyu,and more have contributed significant a body of knowledgethathas led to our underof African Furthermore, standing traditional Nyerere's philosophies. (1962/1995) Ujamaa, Nkrumah's (1964/1995) Consciencism, Stewarts's(1833/1996) On AfricanRightsand Liberty, Garvey's (1926/1986) The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, DuBois's (1940/1995) The Conceptof Race, Blyden's (1887/1996) and Mohammedanims, Christianity the Negro Race, Washington's Racial Accommodation, Nascimento's(1980/1996) do (1895/1996) D. Walker's(1830/1995)AnAppeal in Four BrazilianQuilombismo, Wells-Barnett's Horrors:Lynch Law Articles, (1900/1996)Southern in All Its Phases, Malcolm X's (1963/1996) Message to the Grassroots,Fanon's (1967) Black Skin, WhiteMasks, Ture and Hamilton's(1992) Black Power,Hudson-Weems's (1993) Africana and The Womanism, Asante's (1980/1992) Afrocentricity: Theory but a portionof Africanintellectual of Social Change represent and characterizeseveral aspects of the Africanintellecthought tual tradition. those who objected to the inclusion Nevertheless, of theAfricanastudiescourseused theSan Diego StateUniversity Guide to make theircase. The guidelinerefer(2004) Curriculum encedreads, Humanities in courses Foundations embrace broader must the content application a discipline fieldand are notto be limand of or itedby national, or boundaries. . . Courses . cultural, historical with non-Western cultures with and ethnic other and dealing major minorities they as relate theprevailing to modern cultural context and courses primary the intent which to redress cultural of is this or awareness it heritage movestudent beyond are pedagogically moreappropriate GE Explorations, 87, italicsadded) to (p.



itself demonstrates Eurocentric the that The guideline hegemony theacademy. opposition's The defense European of culpervades had that tural disciplines on spaceandthestranglehold traditional section should expected be and Studies thePhilosophy Religious havealwaysbeen studies scholars no and surprise one.Africana and defending right existin these our to for battling inclusion is The Western institutions. idea that "liberal" philosophy someor boundaries" how not"limited national, cultural, historical by to culture universal all peoples.Thisideis that supposes Western to in Eurocentric fashion, attempts pushall "nonology, typical of to cultures" theperiphery the"universally" Western accepted Western culThis clearly assumesthat center. cultural European of for as serves thefoundation all peoples.Therest theworld ture role. of (themajority theworld) mayplaybuta supporting and intellectuals AfroThe broaderattacksagainstAfrican in their have deceptiveness centricity been muchmoreinsidious moveof Giventhemomentum theAfrocentric and dishonesty. Critics and be it ment, cannot dismissed racists Eurocentrists. by of the to nowfeeltheurgency warn against dangers Afrocentrism. takethe claimsof a few scholarsand Criticsof Afrocentricity the themto the entiremovement. attribute Furthermore, few and focuson arenotAfrocentric havenever whomthey scholars to were.The onlycriterion be classified madetheclaimthat they the it wouldseem,is to challenge traditional an Afrocentrist, as achievethat scholarship placesEuropeat thehubofintellectual ment;this is hardlythe makingsof a systematic analysisof of discussion theparadigm. or an Afrocentricity honest has for Louis Farrakhan, example, beenlabeledan In thisway, and himself an Afrocentrist as He Afrocentrist. has notidentified At research. theMillionMan to has notcontributed Afrocentric thatNapoleon asserted Marchon October16, 1995, Farrakhan features. the nose of the Sphinxto hide its African destroyed is is notsupported evidence, juxtaFarrakhan's claim,which by posed on 60 Minutes(Reiner& Pearson,1996) withMolefi This Afrocentrism. bit whatthehostis calling Asantedefending the of that theimpression Asante, creator the of deception gives a and Farrakhan, religiousand community Afrocentric idea, At an haveformed axis of dubiousscholarship. anyrate, leader,



theclaimsthat attributedAfrocentrists moreoften are than to are, in thediscussion about not, insignificant Afrocentricity. this does notseek to enter Kemetversus the Although article Greecedebatebecauseitdistorts nature Afrocentric the scholof to the claims of arship,it is important highlight dishonest Eurocentric racist and critics. itis Currently, thisdebateat which a good portion theattacks of thediscipline lodged. are against Martin Bernal(1991), a Europeanscholar, in found himself the middleof theAfrocentric debateafter publication Black the of Athena. With BlackAthena, Bernalmade a significant contribution to the world'sunderstanding the relationship of between ancient KemetandGreece. Of course, Bernalwas notthefirst scholar bring to attention to Greece's toKemet. debt James (1954/1992), (1974),Nantambu Diop havealso done (1996), and Obenga(1995),just to nameof few, so. The difference, was thatBlack Athenawas more however, about Greece thanit was aboutAfrica.Nevertheless, Bernal, to not but according his critics, onlybecamean Afrocentrist was also givencreditforproviding foundation Afrocentric the for Bernal(1991) sought debunk to whathe called the scholarship. was the model,"whichholds that"Greekcivilization "Aryan result cultural of mixture a conquest from north the following by Greeks" 1). Bernalsought replace to Indo-European-speaking (p. theAryan modelwiththe"Ancient model."The Ancient model "Greecehadoriginally inhabited Pelasgian. . . been contends, by and settlers" 1). For [and]civilizedby Egyptian Phoenician (p. Bernalmiraculously ascendedto theforefront a moveof that, ment he didnotinitiate is clearly a part Although that and not of. BlackAthena does makea contribution thestudy classical to of it the of civilizations, hardly represents foundation Afrocentric research. This racistsupposition revealsthe historically false notionthatAfrican can do nothing themselves for and people outside influence guidance. and require The primary claimsthat Eurocentrists fixated and that are on their to Afrocentrism include represent mostadamant objections thecharge thatCleopatra was Black and that Aristotle stolehis ideas from library Alexandria. the at out Theyare quickto point that was but and Aristotle Cleopatra notEgyptian Macedonian that



had been built.Howeverfalse died beforethe famouslibrary the factis thattheyare not Afrocentric those assertions are, YosefBen-Jochannan John and Henrik Clarkehavebeen claims. suchclaims(C. Walker, accusedof making 2001). Bothscholars contributionsthestudy Africa its to of and havemadesignificant I will let their workspeak forthem.However, neither people. In nor Ben-Jochannan Clarke is Afrocentric. fact,both have the paradigm. rejected Afrocentric the and Clarke (1994) tookissuewith word Afrocentricity with as with theparadigm well. He opined,"I have an argument the withtheword becauseit is a compromise word'Afrocentricity' Africa.Thereis no 'fro' in Africa"(p. 113). In his view,the are too His circle Afrocentric andparadigm much limited. vision, is quite broad in thatit whichhe called "Africancentricity," includesthe sum totalof African scholars, people,and moveand seek to destroy ments thatchallenge Europeanoppression or On of hand, ideologies valuesystems. theother regardless their as articulates it however, is also quitelimited Clarkemostclearly that whenhe writes Africancentricity "beganto developin this in and African Holocaust ithasn'tendedyet.It has continued its (p. progression" 116). Afrocentric thisis notan Afrocentric It is clearthat position. foundation. and culture their as on African scholars history rely as not that An ancient tradition is certainly borneoutof slavery, is characClarkesuggests, Afrocentricity shapesourworldview. of not of terizedby a consciousness victory, a consciousness that chief mirrors oftheparadigm's criticism Clarke's oppression. is This Clarke and Eurocentric racist opponents. is notto saythat the but a racistor Eurocentric thathe clearlydismissed basic ideals at the whichplaces African premiseof Afrocentricity, African culture behavior and that involves center anyanalysis of 1987,p. 6). (Asante, is of or the To attribute words actions a fewto an entire group to others over havetheright confront All racist. scholars blatantly to asserfalseclaims.Theyalso have a responsibility challenge or After to are tionsthat believed be inaccurate problematic. all, in are scholars charged whatAfrocentric thisis precisely with,



criticsof Afrocentricity labeled an entire have part.However, cadreof scholars, whoseareas of specializations ideologies and arevaried, thebasis of a fewscholars on whomadeinsignificant notations beginwith. to Much of the public's understanding Afrocentricity relies of on journalists, research of rather thanon thepublished "heavily scholars" Themediarest on the 1995,p. 130). (Hilliard, primarily controversial polemic,Not Out of Africa, Mary Lefkowitz by as of academic (1996). Lefkowitz emerged thechief proponent the notion Afrocentrism. OutofAfrica become, of Not has for bogus theextremist cheerleaders Western of thedefinitive civilization, text that deals with Afrocentrists and forall. The media the once distortions Afrocentricity Lefkowitz therole of the in of place in of who rightscholar, thefaceof charges racism, courageous reestablishes Greeceas themonumental that civilization eously birth the to Western world oweslittle and toKemet. gave gratitude thereare otherscholars, Lefkowitz as Although emerged their White NotOutofAfrica. Asante(1999) writes, great hopewith TheaimofProfessor Lefkowitz to support unsupportable is the ideaofa miraculous and Greece thus enhancewhite to a supremacistmyth theancient of world. WillandRoger Perhaps George Kimball believe they that havefound savior thepure a of white thesis. are The cannot supported facts be with They wrong. thesis Professor Lefkowitz togreat to the although goes lengths confuse onirrelevancies.51) picture concentrating by (p. The pedestalon whichthemediaplaced Lefkowitz, the despite weaknessesof her argument, demonstrates how pathetic the are to attempts to denyAfrica'scontributions the world.For MichaelGove (1996), in The Times London, writes, example, of "61-year-old classicsdon,MaryLefkowitz, outthat these pointed African had no togas. In ... Not Out of Africa, the emperors took to unweeded Wellesley Collegeprofessor a scythe therank, of Post garden bogus scholarship" 1). Washington columnist (p. Ken Ringle(1996) weighsin with, the "MaryLefkowitz, philoofAfrocentrism, is talking abouttruth" E01). sophical scourge (p. In spite themediafanfare herpropaganda, of over several scholars



of haveresponded to racism strongly herweakdefense academic falsificationAfrican conversely of and thedeliberate (i.e., European Asante(1999) further remarks, history). as if Thebookis badly written terribly and redundant, sheis ina How times can to a hurry enlargerelatively argument. many poor not G. should have usedthe term really George M. James say you when claimed the he that Africans influenced the "stolen legacy" Greeks? 52) (p. book was obviBernal(1996) exhorts, "Lefkowitz's Similarly, in in It ouslywritten a hurry. stillshowssignsof its origins the written passionate with for of urgency cobbling together articles the the popularand semipopular 86). Nevertheless, press" (p. has from The of publications frailty herarguments notprevented London fromregurgitating Post to The Timesof Washington abouta Black Cleopatra straw-man tired Lefkowitz's arguments Aristotle. anda plundering in is It is obviousthatthere also a political agendainvolved and The lackofcivility thepejorative theseattacks. name-calling characterize response the etc.) (myth-makers, pseudo-scientists, that Hilliard out there aretelling. toAfrican (1995) points that agency that and social) network is funded right is a "private by (political on tanks fund The propaganda thetopic wingthink-tanks. think on technical scientific research publish and butdo notfund papers thetopic"(p. 130). Case in point: (1995), wifeof Lynne Cheney Dick Cheney and senior fellow at the U.S. Vice President much American Institute, regurgitated ofthe"sameole Enterprise in mantra her and same ole" Aristotle/Cleopatra Greecemiracle In the Telling Truth. this propaganda piece,as polemic, right-wing Not well as in a reviewof Lefkowitz's Out ofAfrica(Cheney, of the she promotes insignificant 1996), ranting herright-wing "Lefkowitz In and comrade hero. thereview, (1996) writes, Cheney world of . better . . she appliesherknowledge theancient knows all as to anditslanguages showing, sheputsit,that'virtually the subcan claimsmade by Afrocentrists be shownto be without cites does Lefkowitz no suchthing ofcourse, stance'" 29). and, (p. in liberals figure also source. So-called noAfrocentric prominently



in thepolitical debate over Afrocentricity. take They part theattacks Jr. and distortion Afrocentricitywell. Arthur of as Schlesinger of thedangers also cautions a celebrated liberal, (1991), against theAfrocentrists,muchso that warnsof thisin his book, he so are The Disuniting America.Black studiesscholars mindful of most find that is intheliberal it hallsofacademia where they their and and scholars punimmediate Conservative liberal opposition. ditsrepresent sidesofthesamecoinwhen comesto attacktwo it who and the mythology ingintellectuals challenge debunk European that as universal truth. parades CONCLUSION The recent attacks Africana on studiesare a partof a much a that notlikely be settled is to soon. It is conflict, battle larger this will the the of hopedthat article accelerate process resolving fracas. firm their in African Afrocentric and scholars muststand tradition continue produce and research African for to applicable that Africana will studies cease tobe people.Ifthisstops, is when If relevant. Africana discistudies followthepathof traditional and abandon founding the of Black studies, its plines principles demise inevitable. is whytheAfrocentric is This is cruparadigm cial. It forces African Afrocentric and scholars generate to scholthat of arship speaksto theneedsandaspirations African people. The Afrocentric idea draws a significant distinction between Africana studies other and Itwas a discipline borne of disciplines. andmust remain extension African an of communities. It struggle must also continue produce to scholars to committed these ideals. It mustcontinue understand politicaldynamics chalto the of must lengingWestern scholarship. Afrocentricity be defended with Afrocentric must approached be with vigilance. scholarship and a senseof purpose. mayseemthat It liberals and conrigor servatives findlittlein commonideologically. when However, Afrocentric scholars shakethefoundation Western of libsociety, erals and conservatives common find and a ideologicalground common Andthat is enemy. enemy us.



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in studies San Diego State at AdisaA. Alkebulan an assistant is professor Africana His He his area University. research University. received MAandPhDfrom Temple is Pan-African States.He is a major languagesin theCaribbeanand theUnited of to contributor theEncyclopedia Black Studiesand his work appearsinpublion and cations rhetoric, literature, MalcolmX.

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