February 25, 2010

The Problem With Afrocentrism

Afrocentrism objectively is ideas based in furthering issues centered on Africa. It sounds progressive as a abstract idea that will assist people of African descent to achieve some semblance of equality and representation on the world stage so that our issues can be heard and viewed as world issues.

During Black History Month I haven't seen anything that has leaped out at me and screamed "its Black History Month" so I actually have to remind myself day to day what this month represents to me. Afrocentrism sounds great on paper but off of paper that is where it falls apart.

Anyone that has read Nu Kynk has an idea of the kind of person I am and what I view as important and placing people of African descent above all others isn't one of them. Afrocentrism calls a person to embrace the past and cultivate an anger that is not their own and than use that as a vehicle to progress legitimate issues surrounding race and inequality. It uses the Us Verses Them argument to make points that are no longer valid.

I have always believed that their are good and bad among every race and that corruption, greed, and hate is not just a characteristic of one race but of people among all races. Afrocentric ideas elevate the Black man and woman to 'gods' and uses melanin as the power to be like 'the gods' and to tune into 'your third eye.' People who are not familiar with these teachings may be either laughing or opening their mouth trying to make sense of what they just read, so let me say this: its not a secret that many people of African descent view their physical attributes as the closest to 'god' in the living flesh.

How do I explain to my White colleagues at work this viewpoint or my East Indian friends or my friends who identify as Black but have White grand parents or a White parent? How do you explain such ignorance?

When a people are suppressed and abused to the extent we have been we find layers to clothe ourselves and bandage those wounds that have cut through many generations and sometimes we hurt ourselves in the process. We hurt who we are and tell ourselves a lie to make that wound seem as a badge of honour, like "I took this one for my people."

We have codes among ourselves that I wont air at this time, simply put when I see a Black man or a Black woman at work, in the grocery store, or at the bus stop, "I get it!" We can look into each other's faces and know what the story is, no words needed many times, we all understand the struggle, and to say there is no struggle is reckless. What is the truth is that we all find a path to happiness, some of us marry outside of our race, some of us take a career path that may raise eyebrows among some or conjure statements like "I don't have time to be educated in this White man system" and many of us want to be comfortable in our skin and that means many times not "taking one for my people," because my people to me is my family and close friends and not a random person on the street.

Their is so much to understanding the power structure of this world that I won't get into it, I will say this though, power from my observation is not racial. A Black man can be corrupted as easily as a White man and both can do unspeakable things in the name of spreading an empire. The difference is that one has been given more longevity in modern times and has racked up a horrid record that speaks to all corners of the Earth. Power needs a host, it needs a willing participant that will entrust corruption to meeting the end result. Hearts and minds are won by spirit and not by the colour of skin.


fe said...

Being a person of African descent, when I first read the title of the post I was prepared to be offended by whatever you had to say but truly, that was well said. Power and its subsequent corruption does not discriminate

Nu Girl said...

Afrocentricity means different things to different people, therefore the difinition that you applied to the term may mean that for you.

For myself, Afrocentricity is the method of interpreting phenomena, events, ideas and personalities from the perspective and in the interest of African people.

Nu Kynk said...

@ Nu Girl

Yes, I completely agree with you concerning your view of Afrocentrism. The problem I see with many people who adapt this word to describe their world views is they use it to elevate themselves above any person who is not of African descent, they see themselves as superior (Black Nationalism).

Furthermore, some people cannot grasp the idea that maybe another Black person is corrupt because they are and not because the 'white man' made them do it or they adapted their ideologies, people are who they are not because of skin colour.

The white man is not the root of every problem black people have.

Anonymous said...


First things first, love the blog. 2. Second to the last paragraph (3 line in) has an error: "their" --> "there"

3. I completely agree with your last comment. Most of what we see paraded as afro-centrism is really ill informed black nationalism using the rhetoric of ancient myth religions.

Nu Kynk said...



kasalina said...

There is incredible diversity within the African diaspora, anything that limits or ignores that historical reality I believe is retrograde.

Olisadera en Ecuador said...

It was neat to hear your views on Afrocentrism....I believe no form of Etnocentrism is good for all people of this world to adapt, but i do think it is important for each person from what ever walk of life to take pride in their history and legacy of ancestors, but being well aware of the fact there are other walks of life that are just as beautiful as theirs and we are all one. As for myself I am proud to be African and black so that allows me to connect with other people from the african diaspora but i am also indigena so i am able to related with indigena ppl here in latin america/south pacific/asia/etc.. with their close connection to nature but also with my fellow mestizo and white friends because i have lived most of my life in the West...

Sultana said...

@Nu Kynk 'The white man is not the root of every problem black people have.'

I concur!

Anonymous said...

I really love this post and I feel a lot of times although some mean well it is more so detrimental, LOVE WHAT YOU SAID!!

rose said...

well said!