The African History Book of all Times: The ultimate pitch of What is Wrong with Black People
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African History Books have been written and rewritten thousands of times. But what is bizarre about all these African History Books is that they are divided into three groups: one that deals with Colonial History, one that deals with Mediterranean History, and one that deals with Pre-history. The first one tells us about the Europeans all over the African continent. The second one tells us about the Kemets, the Persians and the Greeks in North Africa. And the last one tells us about primitive Negroes who did not themselves have any idea of the notion of History; so someone else has had to write their History in their place. There is no wonder that Basil Davidson has had to come to the embittering conclusion that what is referred to as African History today is nothing but “African History Without Africans” (1999). This is the book in which the true face of what may be referred to as African History is shown in full beam to a world that has cessed to believe in it. [View on... More > www.lulu.com/content/4471308]< Less
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Dec 21, 2009Joe Mintsa is a Fanghish native, born in the present Gabon, Central Africa, on May 1st 1974. After completing his studies of philology and American history at the University of the present Libreville in 1998, he immediately migrated to England for further studies – a sojourn that then turned into a painful journey of reflection on the moral and political crises of his world. After the publication of The Sum of all Doubts (2004) – an essentially aphoristic but extremely sagacious work of fiction on religion and politics –, the release in Paris of his French title: Les Mythes du Recaptif (2005), and that of Third Mind (2006), The African History Book of all Times (2008) is now one of the books that feature his outmost incisive delivery on the subject of the distressing struggles of the most deprived human species of the world, and more particularly African species. Joe Mintsa is a philologist, historian and an accomplished freelance investigator in the field of Political Anthropology.... More > He currently lives in Brighton, England, (UK), while working on a formula to initialise the academic development of negro-african languages, starting off from the Fanghish language, his own mother tongue. The following words are his own: Recently, I found myself addressing a group of young African francophone students studying in different French universities where I was discussing issues of technological development for Africa. During the talk, I was confronted by one of them who, contrary to my suggestion, believed that the Negro-African world should no longer be seen as a world that may have, thus far, failed to follow the scientific and technological stereotypes of the modern world if we have so many Black people who have excelled in science and technology. He got up and walked forward; and as he slammed on a table that was placed in front of me a book that he certainly believed was the evidence of his claim, he said: ‘we should not keep helping White people to suppress the contribution of Africans to science and technology.’ He finally advised that I should have read that book before saying what I was saying. As I took a look at the book on the table, I realised that it was the book by Yves Antoine, a Haitian historian; a book that I had already consulted several times beforehand. Yves Antoine’s book, Inventeurs et Savants Noirs – ‘Black Inventors and Scientists’ – published in Paris in 2004 by Editions L’Harmattan, is indeed, an enthralling compilation of names of individuals known to be Black and who are known to have forged a technological invention or made a scientific discovery. We have corresponding versions of this type of listings in Nathan Aaseng’s Black Inventors (1997), Wade Hudson’s Great Black Heroes (1995), Jim Haskin’s Outward Dreams: Black inventors and their Inventions (2003) etc. etc. The need to present information from different vintage points is, indeed, a dialectic exercise that we all have to assume, to enrich our knowledge and improve our understanding of phenomena; because, as Molefi Asante says, “the inability to see from several angles is perhaps the one common weakness of provincial scholarship.” This is perhaps one of the rare points on which I myself agree with Asante. But, then, as I could have predicted, Asante ends up spoiling this noble warning of his with the belief that suburban scholarship is better than provincial scholarship – his tendency to believe that White people are all the same and that they all see things the same way, as well as his most obvious counterpart tendency to believe that Black people are all the same, too, and that they also see things the same way [both of which beliefs he inherited from his own education as a Eurocentric provincialist], and which result in his subsequent idea that there is one common ‘European worldview’ emanating from one common ‘European culture’ that, in order for human knowledge to be complete and exact, has to be challenged by one common ‘African worldview’ emanating from one common ‘African culture’. This is one of the silliest creeds I have ever come across. This is what is wrong with the Afrocentric idea. I should normally said that this is actually what happens when you do scholarship with race in mind; when you cannot make the difference between worldview and skin colour; when you cannot distinguish anthropology from biology. If ‘romance’ and ‘tragedy,’ for instance, have been, as Asante notes, popular literary themes throughout Europe this is only because writers from different European nations borrowed these themes from one another in the course of the development of their literatures. Because this is what civilisations do: borrow themes, ideals, technologies, practices etc. from one another. Asante’s constant reference to the theme of romance throughout European literatures to make an argument for a European worldview is as short-sighted as his reference to an African worldview on the basis of race. It is even more farcical as he uses literary concepts to vouch for a European worldview whereas he cannot provide any counterpart literary concept to make a similar argument for an African worldview, since the concept of literature does not even exist in Black Africa yet. What we have in Black Africa is extensions of European literatures, as they are all written in European languages. I will deal with this issue much later in the book. But what I am going to begin to show here is that the idea of an ‘African worldview’ is not only erroneous, it is equally flippant, with no true cultural point of fixation, but rather a variable focal point according to the four main groups of followers that we have in the Afrocentric realm. The first one concerns the group of those who believe in Egypt as the focal point of their ‘African worldview.’ What they will tell you is that all Blacks should look up to their Egyptian ancestors for guiding principles. This is the group that I referred to much earlier when discussing Rey Bowen’s psychopathological recommendations (although the Egyptians do not even exist any more to have the ability to provide anyone with any guidance of any kind; neither would it be demonstrable that they are the true ancestors of all Blacks; but they are, yet, regarded, or simply publicised for some reason, as the heralds of Black pride across the globe by those who need fame in their name); an idea that was, surely unintentionally, breathed out of Professor Diop’s work upon trying to promote the civilisational greatness of the Egyptians, to justify today’s Negro’s civilisational retardation on the account of the conjectural biological similarity between the ancient Egyptian and today’s Negro, as if it were enough to look like someone to possess the same qualities and abilities as that someone. I had a very enlightening experience some time ago with a young woman that I had never met. She was one of my friend’s acquaintances. Apparently, she was single, looking for a lovely man; and coincidentally, I happened to be speaking on the telephone with my friend while he was with her in town (they might just have bumped into one another). It seems that she might have asked a question to my friend about the person he was on the telephone with; which led to my friend telling her a few things about me. I suspect that my friend must have played a good introduction agent, since he called me back a few minutes later to tell me that he was with a very nice person that was very interested in speaking to me. As I got into a get-to-know telephone conversation with the soft voice at the other end of the line, we came to a point where she asked me to give her the name of my look-alike celebrity, if I had one. I told her that many people had told me that I looked like Samuel L. Jackson. To this revelation, the young woman went ballistic: “Oh my God! I love Sam Jacks! He is so cool!” I could hear her turning to my friend to ask: “is it true that he looks like Sam Jacks?” Of course, it is true that I kind of look like Samuel Jackson. But we have to be careful here. Samuel Jackson and I may have similar type of facial bone structure, but this does not make me as cool as him; I mean, looking like Samuel Jackson does not endow me with similar qualities and abilities as him… In the end, I realised that the young woman did not actually know whether she was looking for a man or for a celebrity poster. This is exactly what the Negro is doing today. The Negro is trying to look like an Egyptian, or at least trying to force the Egyptians to look like Negroes, in the expectation that this will empower Negroes with similar qualities and abilities to the Egyptians; because, at the end of the day, qualities and abilities are what we are after in this debate, nothing else. The Egyptians could erect pyramids. If we look like them, or if they look like us, then we may be seen as people who can also erect pyramids. This is the psychopathological reasoning behind the fuss about Egypt; a pathology that was fuelled by Cheikh Anta Diop upon trying to make the Negro look and sound great; a pathology that then was handed over to all Negroes around the world who found in it a way to relieve their frustrations, leading to what is now known as Afrocentricity. Yet, this is not the whole issue. For example, Diop’s answer to the question: ‘what where the Egyptians?’ was a baffling three-world sentence – ‘they were Negroes!’ This is the attractive answer that seems to have bewildered all the so-called Black scholars due to the glorious picture of race elevation that it provides. Yet, the real question behind this enterprise has not been answered at all. It has not even been asked, to begin with. What is it that makes even Eurocentrists – let alone Afrocentrists – so befuddlingly eulogistic about ancient Egyptians, but so staggeringly disdainful towards modern Negroes in general although they are all supposed to be Negroes – if we are to believe that the Egyptians were actually Negroes? What is it that makes two Negroes so different? I mean, what is it that makes the Egyptian Negroes so attractive and glorious, but today’s Negroes so disparaged, which caused this debate to be raised in the first place? This is the question that all Afrocentrists have sworn to evade since the dawn of this quest. But it is this question that I am interested in. No other question imports to me. Why are we so admiring of the Egyptians? I am sure that the answer is pretty simple. We admire the Egyptians, not because they were White; nor even because they were Black; but because they seem to have displayed a performance in many areas of excellence, including science, arts, architecture, technology, political organisation etc. etc.; which, in our perception, grants them the title of Great Civilised Human Beings. This is why we admire them. This is why we want to be linked to them so badly so that we may be seen as great human beings too. This is the issue here – performance. The Egyptians were capable of performing impressive achievements. This is even why I have always been more likely to advise that there is actually no difference between ancient Egyptians and modern Anglo-Saxons, for instance; not because they are both White, but because they both can perform achievements which not only make them both admirable, but they have equally provided them both with the power to enslave others. The way the Egyptians were able to enslave the Jews is exactly the same way the Anglo-Saxons have been able to enslave the Mendé – two powerful nations with the capability to enslave others. And if you think that it is better for you to try to be a modern Anglo-Saxon by nationality – as I see many Negroes fighting to get English nationality or British citizenship [whichever you like] – or rather, or even at the same time, try to publicise your nexus to the ancient Egyptians too, it does not make any difference. The only objective in your mind is to be linked to and/or be a part of a great performing human community in some possible way in order for you to be seen as a great human too. This is the issue here. We, humans, seem to be intuitively conscious – without admitting it in time of political correctness and propaganda – that we cannot be humans unless we are linked to humans, lest we can ourselves perform like humans; so we have to look up to those who can or could perform as humans for our redemption. We know it, and we behave this way; but we cannot say it. Remember, ‘the best way to listen to what people say is to look at what they do.’ We experience this phenomenon in our every day life. I have experienced this several times. When a Negro arrives somewhere nowadays and introduces himself as an American, people fall on their faces to revere him. But another Negro that arrives in the same place under the etiquette of Malawian, for instance, is dismissed at once, and even made fun of. Yet they are both Negroes. We see it in today’s international airports: Negroes from Zambia are stopped and searched while Negroes from Deutschland are shown the way with reverence, whereas they are all Negroes. It is not race that we are dealing with here. We are dealing with status. Who has a better life than whom? Whose nation is more powerful than whose? This is what Diop and all his followers have not been able to understand. The Europeans have never expressed any form of detraction towards the ancient Egyptians, however Black or White they might have been. Many Eurocentrists are not even interested in the Whiteness or the Blackness of ancient Egyptians. They are only interested in their achievements. But one important thing is to note. Some Eurocentrists have only been tempted to strip ancient Egypt of its Black population on purely syllogistic grounds, not on scientific merits. This is to say: if today’s Negroes appear to be so incapable of performing impressive civilisational achievements, how can one conceive that they have been able to do so in ancient Egypt? What happened for them to completely lose it, just like that? – Which is a perfectly understandable position. To refuse to take a look at this position is to be totally irrational and demented; is to refuse to face up to the most sensitive, but most practical question of the whole issue. Of course, this is the question that ‘Afro-Egyptology’ and Afrocentricity have both evaded for the past sixty years. Yet, this is the only true question that we need to answer in this quest. There is no other problem to solve in this discussion. And I have to confess that this is the only problem that I myself have; the only problem that I need to solve before I am gone. In fact, I have never had any other problem in my entire life. When I was born, the only thing that I needed was to be looked after; and I was. Then, when I grew up, the only thing that I needed was to be given an education; and I was given one. As a man, the only thing that I have needed has been survival capabilities; and I have been endowed with some – I mean, if I need to eat good fish, I will be served some. If I need to drink good wine, I will be served some. If I need a charming woman for a good time, one will come to me. If I need a faithful friend for a great conversation, one will be available for me. If I need to give my body a relaxing rest in a quiet home I will give it one etc. etc. This is all I have needed; and I have got it. But the reason why I have almost totally lost interest in my ability and right to enjoy all these beautiful things of life is because my soul has known no peace since I was first faced with the disturbing question as to what happened for us to find ourselves with an entire human section only consisting of clumsy people. Why is it that the Negro knows and performs so less to the point of having to invent himself some truncated nexus with those who have proved to know and perform more than him; and why is the Negro so blinded to the fact that those who detract and brutalise him today do so because they have also proved to know and perform more than him? Why this persisting refusal to face up to the real reasons for the Negro to suffer in the world? Because, in truth, neither the modern Anglo-Saxon nor the ancient Egyptian can be proved to be biologically superior to the modern Negro! But they are both superior to him in matters of performance in arts, philosophy, science, technology, architecture, political organisation and so on. The way the Ancient Egyptian performed over a period of approximately ten-thousand years prior to 500 BC, the period of time extending from 500 BC up to this day has been marked by societies of essentially Caucasian descent performing better in several areas of excellence upon which modern existence seems to depend largely for its survival, compared to societies of essentially Negro descent. This is the only thing that has rocketed societies of essentially Caucasian descent to a certain superior position, giving the Caucasians the feeling of superiority – the feeling of being of better quality and greater power – due to the superior performance that they have displayed in many areas of excellence over this specific portion of human evolution. This is where I was trying to come to a bit earlier. Racial hatred does not exist. The only thing that exists is the supremacy of the fittest. It is, therefore, most probable that the negation of the Negro’s human nature and his relegation to the rank of something not truly human as well as all the brutalities that he has had to go through and is still going through in this world do not hold from any premise other than his apparent inability to perform amongst humans. At the end of the day, it is not too much about what we say, but about what we do. By trying to hook oneself up to such superior humans as the ancient Egyptians, one may be giving away one’s belief in one’s own inferiority. Because, in this case, one seems to be paradoxically conceding that unless one is linked to those who can perform, in the absence of one’s own ability to perform, then one has no chance of proving one’s humanity. This is why I said in the introduction to this book that the human being is not something that even needs to be human in the first place. All it needs it to be able to compete – to perform. Because it is by the force of its ability to compete with other entities of its own genus that it truly is what it fundamentally is. This is what makes it human. Indeed, this can be contended and even demonstrated on a purely lexical point of view. The Romans themselves, the ones who invented the notion of ‘human nature’, did not see it as something fundamentally connected to the human genus, but rather as something more related to mechanical sophistication. For example, if we take dictionaries, we will find that the phrase ‘human being’ is a literal translation of the Latin phrase sēre humanus which means ‘to be cultivated, educated, organised. That is why its derivative noun humanitas means ‘culture’, ‘education’, ‘organisation’, or ‘civilisation’. And, if we try to look a bit further, we will find that the word humanus is directly linked to the word cultus which means ‘cultivation’, ‘education’, ‘organisation’ ‘refinement’, ‘decoration’, ‘sophistication’. So, when the Romans would use the phrase ingenia cultiora as referring to their own culture, what they meant was that their culture was the most sophisticated and refined compared to their neighbours’ cultures and who, for them, were barbarous for being not as refined and well organised as themselves; which implied that they were more human than their neighbours on the grounds of their high level of sophistication. This is even the reason why Roman annexations took their impetus from the famous sentence: homines a fera agrestique vita ad hunc humanum cultum civilemque deducĕre; which means, ‘take men from their wild and savage life and drag them into our state of civilisation and political organisation’. In fact, the Romans felt as if they had a ‘duty’ to educate the primitive peoples around them to help them enter ‘humanity’ or ‘the world of sophistication’. The Oxford Dictionary of Advanced English confirms this too when it defines ‘a sophisticated culture’ as ‘the one that has lost natural simplicity and learned the ways of the world with the latest improvements and refinements’; which implies that those who are not improved and refined are ‘out of the world’ and live ‘on the fringes of humanity’. Apparently, it is the fact that the human psyche seems to be impressionable by sophistication – technical artificiality (with all the mechanical, scientific and technological achievements that now stand as the measure of human nature) – that the Negro is seen as a marginal entity, but most of all, a lesser entity, living in natural simplicity in a sophisticated world. Nevertheless, even when this etymological definition of the phrase ‘human being’ is not taken into account, and even when it is considered, as it is now, as the semantic equivalent of the phrase ‘human genus,’ the psychology that stands behind it remains manifest not only in the way in which more advanced humans treat less advanced ones, but also in the way in which less advanced humans are themselves subjugated by more advanced humans. This is what blew Diop and all his followers away: the triangular relation between the Negro’s detraction by modern Europeans who have proved to perform better than him and the Negro’s subjugation by ancient Egyptians who have equally proved to have performed better than him; which implies that modern Europeans and ancient Egyptians are all the same kind of great human performers. No difference between them whatsoever. But Diop has had to turn away from this striking similarity between these two entities only because of his irrational over-enthusiasm for a Mediterranean ‘Negro’ already turned into dust to the prejudice of a sub-Saharan Negro that is still alive, in the light of the sub-Saharan Negro’s inability to prove his capacity of performance; a very sad situation that led Diop to even decide to propagate the idea, as he voiced it in 1967, that ‘the history of Africa will remain suspended in the air and cannot be written correctly until African historians connect it with the history of Egypt’ as wells as his subsequent warning that ‘the African historian who evades the problem of Egypt is neither modest or objective, nor unruffled, he is ignorant, cowardly, and neurotic.’ Yet, this is, in itself, one of the most ‘neurotic’ ideas that I have ever come across; because what this idea actually does is to deny history to the Negro through the premise that today’s African peoples cannot have a history of their own in the absence of Egyptian history; which would be like saying that today’s European peoples have no history of their own in the absence of Roman history. This is true neither in the case of Europe nor in the case of Africa. But why was Diop so adamant that today’s Negro should necessarily be linked to the ancient Egyptian Negro to the point of making it even impossible to talk history in relation to Black Africa unless it was about Egyptian history? Why would someone do something like that? In fact, Diop’s neurotic fascination by the pyramids was so strong that he came to convince himself that the only way to shut his Western detractors up was to get them believe that the pyramids had been erected by Negroes; that way, they would stop disrespecting the Negro. It is this technique, which I call ‘trans-racial ransom’, that is now central to the Afrocentric idea: the idea that since all Blacks should be seen as the same kind of people by the force of biological similarity, if a community of Blacks can be shown to be successful or powerful anywhere in the world (both in space and time), then the failures and weaknesses of the rest of Blacks must be automatically ransomed by the successes and powers of the other Blacks who may have done well wherever they be found in space and in time. It is this reasoning that is now in vogue across the so-called ‘African intellectual Diaspora’. Yet, it translates nothing but the admission that the Negro is only a lazy parasite, an incapable wannabe (even wannabes know how to imitate their idols, however imperfectly. Negroes don’t even think about imitation for one instant; otherwise we would have at least some imperfect pyramids somewhere, erected by today’s Negroes). All they do is to shout ‘blood!’ This is, indeed, the group of Afrocentrists that Cheikh Anta Diop created – Egypto-African blood shouters. The second group of “Afrocentrists” consists of those who believe in the West as the focal point of the ‘African worldview’ and trans-racial ransoming scheme. The advice offered by most members of this set seems to be such that all Blacks in the world should turn to the West for support and enlightenment. This is most certainly the opium that is forcing a young Ikongo fellow to believe that a listing of Anglo-Saxon inventors should pay the ransom for the scientific and technological retardation of his own Ikongo world on the account of these inventors sharing similar skin colour to the Bakongo people. This is surely where Asante comes in more forcefully. Indeed, Asante seems to be in favour of the Anglo-American chauvinistic presumption that the United States personifies the final product of the present world’s racio-cultural bi-polarity, where Whites represent the finest version of the European spirit and Blacks represent the finest version of then African spirit; which can be clearly identified in his constant use of such parochial phrases as “the United States and other parts of the African world.” In this clause, Asante seems to believe that the United States is the main setting of the ‘African world,’ and other parts of the African world follow. This perception is quite indicative of the fullest extent of Asante’s ignorance and delusion. And I have to confess that there are times when you read Asante and you get the awful impression of reading someone who suffers some form of dementia. In fact, this is not just an Asante’s characteristic. Most so-called ‘Black scholars’ write as if they were in a mental health institution when they wrote whatever you may be reading from them. The imageries, the figures of speech, the references, and most of all, their remarkable skills in the use of civilised languages, are all so uplifting that you would just want to go to bed with their books and snooze over them forever. So beautiful! But what is the message out of all this literary beauty? – That the United States is part of the African world; or, even worse, that it is the main part of the African world? Let us stop flying. Let us come down to earth, just for a second. And do not let us worry. We are going to fly again. Existence is not about how you want things to sound, as a way to concoct a rebellious theory against nature or against a dominant caste. This is pure wishful dogma; and this is where people end up advancing ineptitudes. If it is possible to say, for instance, that South Africa is part of the Anglo-Saxon world, this is because, in practice, the Anglo-Saxons conquered and appropriated the territory that they themselves gave the name of South Africa; and over which they have ruled for more than three-hundred years; and the institutions of that territory even functions in Anglo-Saxon language. So, we are truly dealing with an Anglo-Saxon land by virtue of these historical, political and cultural factors. Therefore, South Africa is, doubtless, part of the Anglo-Saxon world. But, it is not equally possible to say that the United States is part of the African world, since Africans never conquered and appropriated the United States alike. Africans were taken to the United States as goods, and since then, the tide has never been reverted: they have never taken over the United States to rule over it. Therefore, the land cannot be part of the African world. On the contrary, it is the so-called ‘Africans’ who live in that land who are part of another world; the world that bought them and took them away; the world of which they are the property by the force of their purchase by that world (once I buy something, it is mine; at least I know that this is true). If two people buy the same type of car the same day or perhaps at the very same time, one of them might be a better and more conscientious driver than the other one. This might lead to one car breaking down or having a crash or wearing away must faster than the other one although they might both have been purchased the same day or even at the very same time. If the North American Negro has a much better life than the South African Negro this is only due to the fact that one master might be softer and more conscientious than the other, not because North America has been conquered by Blacks or Africans. We need to keep some faith with dialectic sincerity. For a territory to be part of a world, it needs to be the property of that world by means of annexation and political appropriation. I have never heard of any military expedition from any African nation or coalition of African nations conquering and appropriating any part of the United States of America that then would be juridically an overseas extension of the said African nation or coalition of African nations. Is this too hard to understand? Or is it too humiliating to concede? Perhaps some people believe that dialectic sincerity is only another form of captivity in precisely this type of context. But dialectic sincerity is perhaps the only kind of captivity that we may need to voluntarily submit to; because it is the only one type of captivity that can, for sure, set us free. Those who preach wishful dogma know what they get out of it. But, for my part, I shall tell you this: if you are a slave, call yourself a slave. Then, ask yourself how it is possible for a slave to become a master. And once you find the answer to this question, work your way up to mastership. But don’t call yourself master until you are a master, otherwise you will never be a master. What I have noticed is that the Negro loves bombastic titles and attributes with no substance. That is slavery! – To lie to oneself. There is no ‘African world’ in the Unites States. Neither is the United States a – or still worse, the main – part of the African world! There are only individuals in the United States who share similar biological characteristics and features as those of the African world. Amalgamation for the sake of propaganda is no scholarship. It is intellectual disorientation. I find it very disturbing to see people of Asante’s calibre getting as demented as refusing to observe that Anglo-America and Black Africa are two very different worlds irrespective of the fact that many of their inhabitants look alike (we are going to explore the difference between the two worlds more amply quite soon). But what is important to note here is that as long as we do not make an effort to use words and phrases for what they mean all we do is to invent fallacious concepts and worsen the situations that we are supposed to improve. Erroneous formulations cause misinformation and misinformation leads to ignorance and ignorance results in chaos. In fact, Asante did not really want to say what he said. He only said it by mistake; a mistake due to the fact that the central trait of Afrocentricity is misconstruction, because Afrocentrists just don’t know the meaning of the words and phrases that they use, given that they speak and write like psychopaths – actually, they are psychopaths – PTSS patients. It is not surprising that Asante seems to have race related disputes with his White colleagues of Temple University almost constantly. In fact, Asante did not really want to say “the United States and other parts of the African world.” No. What he wanted to say was “the United States and other parts of the world where we find Blacks.” But because he, like the rest of Afrocentrists, did not know that these two formulations do not mean the same thing, he ended up with the wrong phrase in which not only do we find the wrong word – ‘African’ instead of ‘Black’ (because these guys just thing that any word means anything, yet an African person is not necessarily a Black person; neither is a Black person necessarily an African person, nor can we assert that any part of the world that has not been conquered by any African nation can be part of the African world); but he equally used the wrong syntax – an epithetical phrase instead of a conjunctive clause. We are dealing with the English language here! In the end, the idea of a Western focal point of fixation for global Africanity is only the product of neurotic formulations. Professor Ali Mazrui himself treads into the footsteps of this movement of neurotic formulations to support this very same idea by advising that all Blacks [Africans] of the world should count on Western Blacks to build Africa with the skills that they have gained from the Western culture. And what is even more disturbing is that he does so by taking the example of the Jews. He says: “In the Middle East, Israelis are outnumbered by the Arabs; they are outspaced; outwealthed; out-incomed. But, because Israelis have out-skilled the Arabs, the Jewish state has been supreme. The Israelis have won virtually every Arab-Israeli war since 1948, not because 80% of Israelis are Jews but because over 40% are European Jews – with the skills of European culture. If Israel had consisted of only Middle Eastern Jews, there would have been only one Arab-Israeli conflict – that of 1948 – and the Arabs would have won it by sheer force of numbers. The skill differential between Middle Eastern Arab and Middle Eastern Jew was far less than between Arabs and European Jews.” There is nothing as easy as being tempted to take this suggestion for face value. But, there is an important aspect to this statement that I need to point out before I continue. Not only is Professor Mazrui, by saying this, making the traditional Afrocentric error of comparing a culture to a race – because he seems, by drawing this diptychous diagram between the Jews and the Africans, to believe that the Black race is as much of a nation as the Jewish nation – (a racial nation?) –; but it is neither correct to attribute scientific and technological skills to a ‘European culture’ that does not exist in the first place. This philosophical amalgamation seems to be a typically Afrocentric thing, or – shall I rather say – a black thing. Scientific and technological skills are not European properties; but intuitions that have been expressed by any human community inspired by a special knack for improvement – even amongst communities that existed far before the Europeans managed to domesticate science and technology. I do not need to quote all historical reports, pieces of literatures and testimonies that confirm this fact. Science and technology are simply not Euro-cultural concepts. Rather, they stem from a universal intuition into which European nations have simply, side by side, put an awful lot of interest and investment over the past two millennia as have some Asian nations too. Professor Mazrui is himself only another sorrowful victim of the Western propaganda of the European appropriation of values and capabilities that have always been universal to humanity. Moreover, Europe is not a culture, but a geographical space that hosts many different distinctive cultures. The Spanish culture and the Russian culture are as different from one another as the Irish culture is from the Chinese culture. We will tackle this issue more amply much later. But what we may already need to prepare ourselves to understand from here is that there exists no such thing as a unique European culture as Pr Mazrui may want to lead you to believe. This is only a chronic misconception that holds from the racial stone that the Europeans threw at the Africans and which resulted in today’s Negro’s belief that the White race constitutes a culture – the European culture – and that the Black race also constitutes a culture – the African culture. All Blacks have believed in this gibberish for the past five-hundred years, and it may take another five-hundred years before they understand that it is only gibberish. Furthermore, if it is true that what Professor Mazrui calls ‘European Jews’ can make use of the skills of ‘European culture’ to salvage Israel, there still rises a question of technicality as to how the ‘European Africans’ can act similarly. The European Jews have a cultural point of fixation. I see them in the West where they have kept their culture and traditions, where they have special Jewish temples – Synagogues – and special Jewish schools in which their children are educated in Jewish language. They do not do this in the name of an entire Middle Eastern race, but in the name of one specific Middle Eastern culture – the Jewish culture, and by the force of the preservation of this culture, they have the ability to defend it both in Europe and in Israel. I have never seen any such point of cultural fixation in any African community in the West. I have never come across a typical Yoruba spiritual edifice or a school that teaches in Yoruba language and where Western Yoruba children are educated and brought up on a purely Yoruba cultural and civilisational mould to give them this same type of cultural connection with the Yoruba nation back in Africa and, therefore, the ability to defend it both in Europe and in Africa as in the case of Western Jews. ‘Western Africans’ do not even know the specific African culture that they are connected to and that they can help defend as ‘Western Jews’ know the specific Middle Eastern culture that they are connected to and that they can help defend. The only thing that the so-called ‘Western Africans’ know is that they are Black and that they can call themselves Africans; because, in their minds, ‘Black’ equals ‘African.’ But you cannot ask people to help an entire continent inhabited by distinctive cultural communities with which they have no specific cultural bond, except for complexion similarity. So, although I have to pay my respect to Professor Mazrui as one of the greatest political scientists of out time, I, however, need to advise that his comparison is not only false, it also confirms the race mentality that animates Black people wherever they be from and whoever they be. Even intellectuals of Professor Mazrui’s calibre have serious difficulty getting out of it. The third group of this trend is the one that harbours those who believe in Africa as the focal point of their ‘African worldview’ and ransoming scheme. I am pretty sympathetic to this group for one technical reason: the true ancestry of today’s Negro is, doubtless, Africa. But where they begin to falter is where they tell you that Africa is historically and culturally ONE, and that all Blacks of the planet should join that African ‘oneness’ to learn about their real ‘African culture’, and help build and develop Africa, their real home. Once again, race comes in. Yet, race is the problem that we are trying to phase out in our argument against the Eurocentrists. During the African Renaissance conference that was held in Hammamet, Tunisia, in November 1999, Jacob Zuma himself, then Deputy President of South Africa, was clear, on his keynote address, about his belief in “the homogeneity of Africa” – and I would say ‘the black worldwide homogeneity’, since he went on to define the African Renaissance as “an international movement of all people of African descent that extends beyond borders, to renew a sense of pride in being African” – to the point of remarking how important it would be for “Africans and their brothers and sisters who live in other continents to understand this history so that they may better understand the role that they are required to play by virtue of the ancestry that they share, in the reshaping of the destiny of the African continent;” let alone his suggestion that for Africa to be developed, it needs democracy, because, as he said, “democracy is the cornerstone to economic development.” Well, this final point is only a very informative indication of how mentally enslaved Mr Zuma still is. Because I know, for sure, that he said this under the pressure of his Anglo-Saxon masters – the present biggest propagandists and exporters of democracy – who want him to believe that democracy is a precondition to development; which is a complete nonsense. The greatest economies of our world, with no exception, including the Anglo-Saxon economy itself, blossomed out of authoritarianism and oppression of some social classes and sections of populations, and savage exploitation of foreign lands and dehumanisation of other peoples. This is what they did, and are still doing, in real life, in order to get where they are; not what they tell Mr Zuma to tell you. But this is just not the point. The point is that the Negro is too easily led by the White man’s fake moves and the propaganda that is pumped out to him by those who do not want him to do what they themselves did to get where they are. And if you believe that I am saying this because I am in favour of authoritarian regimes in Africa for development to take place in Africa, then you get me totally wrong. There is a big difference between authoritarianism and corruption; between despotism and delinquency; between oppression and alienation… In fact, there is a big difference between autocracy and viceroyship. I hope that you see what I mean. We are not there yet. We are going to deal with these issues much later. Bu what is happening here is that the Negro sometimes seems to be like a mere malleable, trainable animal or fish, just like a dog or a dolphin. If its master trains it to move in a certain way, it will, mechanically, with no ability to question the moves that it is being taught. If the master says that it is time for structural adjustments, the dog runs in. If the master says that it is time for democracy, the dog runs in. If the master says that it is time for sustainable development, the dog runs it… What kind of human species is this? Yet, it is so clear that the master has himself become so rich and powerful through the practice of the very opposite of each one of these thoughtful commands. Then he shouts “game over!” to the Negro; and the Negro bows down! The fourth and final group is a very volatile one. It is the one that collates those who believe in ‘Black-globalism’ and who will simply tell you that all Blacks should come together in a ‘worldwide Black Diaspora’ with no particular focal point of cultural fixation other than a mere cacophonous ‘worldwide blackism’ to help defend the Black race together in its entirety wherever it be found. It is this final group, which constitutes the assembly point of the other three groups, that seems to be flourishing across the world in most ‘humanistic’, intellectual and political milieus instigated by Blacks, wherever they be from. But the idea of building a ‘black defence system’ across the world is only the repercussion of the racial stone that I was talking about earlier. It is due to the fact that Negroes mainly grew up to ruminate a mindset that was fashioned out of the colonial mentality; a mentality that presented them with two pictures of the Negro-African world: the one telling them that the Negro-African world was devoid of history, and the other one telling them that all Negroes were just the same. Now, if you try to get into their mind, you will certainly be able to figure out how much of a struggle they must have been going through when trying to ingest these two clauses into one compound syllogistic proposition. You do not have to be a logician to see that if you put these two pictures together, you will end up with an amalgamated version of both which will tell you that ‘all Negroes are devoid of history.’ In this situation, if you attempt to make up or even to prove any sense of historical integrity for Negroes, you are going to end up with a cacophonous counter-picture of one common Negro history, because you do not want to single any one out, since no one was singled out in the picture that you are trying to counter. And from that picture of one common Negro history, everything unravels. You will have to find them one common identity, one common culture, one common nation, one common civilisation… and the rest of things that are now seen as common to all Blacks. And from that point, if you are to devise a strategy of redemption, you are going to find yourself compelled, on principle, to provide one common historical model of salvage for them all, wherever you may get your model – from your own mind or from a papyrus. The fact that White historians – to promote the colonial mentality among Blacks – wanted so much to exclude everything Black from humanity and civilisation forced them to deny the existence of Negroes in any civilised setting throughout human history, including civilised Egypt, and therefore implying that there should be no room for expecting the Negro to be part of any type of human civilisation that has ever existed; which was totally wrong. The Egyptian civilisation did have Blacks in it just the way in which the Anglo-Saxon civilisation has Blacks in it today, and many of the Blacks that were Egyptians were Negroes, and they were not slaves, nor seen as sub-humans, but were full citizens who made their contribution to the Egyptian civilisation. The question as to whether they had been slaves of White Egyptians before being accepted as full citizens of Egypt (in the instance of Black Anglo-Saxons who had been slaves before being accepted as full citizens of the Anglo-Saxon world) is as irrelevant as putting the question as to whether the Catalans had been ruled over by the Moors before the Spanish civilisation was restored. Sometimes it is the case. Other times it is not. Those who want to investigate on this issue are free to do so for the sake of scholarship. But this will not solve any present day problems of humanity, and still less those of Blacks of any type. On the other side, the fact that Black historians and, most particularly Diop, wanted so much to prove White historians wrong forced them, in their turn, to engage in the expeditious conclusion that the Egyptian civilisation was founded by Negroes, even though they did not have the slightest evidence for this, and therefore implying that there should be no room for rethinking the Negro’s position in human history; which was equally wrong. The citizenship of Negroes in a powerful civilisation three or five-thousand years ago does not necessarily imply that they were the founders of a civilisation that had existed for several millennia beforehand. Diop himself ended up compelled to acknowledge this reality when cross-examining Herodotus’ testimony in the first chapter of his work. He says: “It could be objected that, in the fifth century BC, when Herodotus visited Egypt, its civilisation was already more than 10,000 years old and that the race that had created it was not necessarily the Negro race that Herodotus found there. But the whole history of Egypt shows that the mixture of early population with white nomadic elements, conquerors or merchants, became increasingly important as the end of Egyptian history approached.” It seems to me, in the light of this admission, that Professor Diop might have acknowledged the limitations of his assumptions due to the scarcity or even the inexistence of much older testimonies on the Egyptian civilisation, which may, therefore, confirm that he might have started his investigation half-way and, consequently, that the probability of ancient Egypt not being necessarily founded by Negroes could not be completely obliterated, although the land might have been taken over by Negroes much later. In fact, Diop knew, on the basis of diaries written by Greek students and tourists, that the Egyptian and the Ethiopic civilisations were populated by Negroes at some point in time, but he did not know with absolute certainty that these civilisations had been founded by Negroes. We might even try to make allowances to the fact that Diop seems to have been convinced that ‘the mixture of early population with White nomadic elements became increasingly important as the end of Egyptian history approached.’ But this enunciation does not prove that this early population was Negro. Neither does it prove that there had never been White elements in Egypt before the approach of the end of the Egyptian history. It only indicates that there were more and more White people in Egypt towards that period of time. And this is not even a very interesting point to pursue, because it does not solve the problem that we have in hand here. It will never solve it. So, even though Diop was not sure of anything that might have happened five to ten thousand years before, and even though he did himself concede the limitation of his findings quite clearly and even very profusely, the idea that the Egyptian civilisation had been founded by Negroes remained central to his work for doctrinal purposes; an idea that then became a scientific truism in the minds of those who then found another agenda out of Diop’s work. As a result, the premise of ‘Black Egypt’ gained ground and got spread to the idea of ‘all Black people’s common Egyptian ancestry’ and, therefore, ‘Black oneness across the world’ on the basis of that hypothetical common Egyptian ancestry as a means to counter the Eurocentric humiliating enunciations towards Black people. Yet, the problem posed by Eurocentrism, and which Afrocentricity was expected to solve, had no much to do with race or ancestry. It had more to do with performance. The racial argument came in only as a syllogistic superfetation. In consequence, the only justification for the notion of race to have taken over the issue of performance is the political displacement of the debate by both Western tricksters and African enthusiasts who have turned a historical debate into a biological anathema, although it is pretty clear that the ‘African oneness’ premise has no place in the light of the striking diversity that characterises Black people, not only in terms of species, but also and most importantly in terms of context. Molefi Asante’s vision of Afrocentricity as “the enthronement of an African wholism” – meaning ‘Black wholism’, because the term ‘African’ and the term ‘Black’ mean the same thing to those guys – is therefore only the product of misinterpretation, although it would equally be wise to recognise that this picture of African – Black – wholism can solve some psychological problems. First of all, it is, as I already indicated in the second chapter, a product of the feeling of victimage. The fact that everything Black has undergone some form of White brutality gives credit to this idea as a highly humanistic endeavour due to its inclusive character. Make a list of all the nastiest ideologies that have ever been identified throughout political history – Nazism, fascism, irredentism, nationalism, chauvinism, jingoism, ostracism, isolationism, Apartheid etc. etc. They all imply exclusiveness. Wholism, on the other hand, advocates embrace – but what kind of embrace in precisely this case? – Racial embrace. Yet, if Eurocentrism was wrong because of its racial vagaries, how right will Afrocentrism be whilst waving similar weapons? Our psycho-social tendency to sympathise with retaliation to the prejudice of provocation may be responsible for this reactionary – most surely imbalanced, but perceived as a balanced – judgement; manifest in the legitimacy of all self-defensive actions as opposed to offensive actions in common law jurisprudence. Afrocentrism is, thus, predictably exonerated from its use of similar weapons as Eurocentrism on the merit of its self-defensive motivations. Yet, this is not the whole point in this issue. The question does not simply go as to who threw the first punch, but rather as to who threw the best punch. As long as both punches are lousy and messy, not only can I not declare a winner, but I equally have to disqualify both fighters from future competitions, because they are just not worth watching. The reason for this radical turnabout is because they have both failed to reach an intelligible definition of a realistic idea of place when we talk about the ‘African condition’ in the present world. It is not all about writing a thousand books with the term ‘African’ recurring thousand times in each one of them for the sake of sensationalist scholarship. It is about diagnosing different historical, cultural and political contexts. It is no good practice to expedite all patients to a common operating theatre, or to administer one type of medicine that can only cure one type of condition suffered by one type of patient to all the rest of patients on whom the medicine will have no effect simply because they all look the same. In other words, the African condition cannot become a global condition. Because the practical question in this issue is: how do you ignore all natural, historical, political and cultural borders that exist between different sections and communities of Blacks across the planet to deliver a unique type of global strategy of redemption for all Blacks? How do you do this? Forget about uplifting messianic platitudes. Think about how practical and possible it can be to work out a common strategy of savage, for instance, between the Blacks of Arabia and those of Scotland whilst they live in two worlds which are so different culturally, historically, politically and judicially. Are you going to tell me that nothing is impossible, as we say when we pray? – I suspect that this is your position. Of course, to achieve the impossible, ‘Black globalism’ has had to turn to the most obvious, a vacuous and delusional belief in trans-racial ransom, imbedded in the idea that one should invent blood lines and brag kinship with any successful kinsfolks from distant worlds both in space and in time for one to find glory out of racial nexus; an idea concocted by Diop, perhaps unintentionally, upon trying to prove that Negroes were not so worthless as his Eurocentric detractors might have thought, since they had been able to erect a civilisation as powerful as the Egyptian civilisation. This idea, presupposes that if it can be shown that a particular community of Negroes was powerful enough to enslave the Jewish in Egypt five-thousand years ago, then this should give an illusion of power to another community of Negroes that would, yet, still be suffering slavery in Arabia; or that if a Negro can manage to forge an invention in Anglo-America, then another Negro from the Congo with no knowledge on how to forge any kindred invention should be automatically ransomed by that Anglo-American invention for the sole sake of the invention being forged by someone who is known to be as Black as him. This is why we have ended up with a mere boisterous cult of ‘race promotion’ where worldwide ‘Black marketing’ has become the rule of the game. I have never come across a white television station, a white newspaper, a white magazine, an association of white police officers, a white inventors’ book, a white festival etc. etc. – not even in countries like South Africa where Whites constitute the minority of the population and where they might equally need to promote the white race to increase their visibility in such a place where they are so outnumbered and must, therefore, be completely camouflaged by Blacks. If you go on the Internet today, sensibly everything out there is black. Black history, black consciousness, black entertainment televisions, black radios, black voices, black books, black churches, black enterprises, national associations of black journalist, of black nurses, of black doctors, of black officers, of black engineers, of black teachers, of black accountants etc. black websites, black facts online, black issues, black press, black aids institutes, black baseball, black industries, black film centres, black studies, black health care, black music, black technology, national black child development institutes, black careers, black intelligence, black inventions, black power, black beauty… I just cannot go down this way. I mean, you have hundreds of thousands of such black things out there, some of which do not even make any sense except for the noise that they make for the ‘black race’ to be heard of; to haul the Black race on the hilltops of world media (sing louder to be heard!) – as Jacob Zuma himself makes it so clear that his objective is to “seek also to conscientise people in other countries so that they may hear the sounds of the rumblings of the Africans.” If you look at this practice carefully you may realise that there are two major problems related to it. The first problem concerns the way in which it is imperceptibly reasserting the objectification of Blacks by turning them into something like an artifact, a produce, an item for sale, a consumable about which you are bombarded with advertisement by the minute. This is what is wrong with this practice; because, what it does is to turn a human being into something to be merchandised on, something to be hammered down in an auction house. This reminds me of the old beautiful strong Negro set on a stage for slavers to bid on. In a word, race marketing does more bad than good, perhaps imperceptibly. I do not want the Black man to continue to be an item for sale; and I most certainly do not expect Blacks themselves to contribute to their own reification. The second problem with this practice concerns its conceptual transferability. Since in the minds of those who indulge in black marketing ‘Black’ = ‘African’, because these two terms mean exactly the same thing to them, it turns out to be the case that all these ‘black things’ are also seen and promoted as ‘African things,’ although they might clearly not be concerned about Africa at all. What I mean is that if you check it out carefully, you will see that most of these black – and therefore African – things are in the West and do not have anything to do with Africa whatsoever. The correlation is very simple to make, but the implications are not too simple to discern. Moreover, if you look a bit further – and this is the most important problem that I am intending to put to your attention here –, you will see that this fallacious correspondence between ‘black things’ and ‘African things’ does not only touch objects and organisations. It is also reverberated on humans; because all humans who see themselves as Blacks equally see themselves, by ricochet, as Africans, although they might not be Africans in the true sense of what it means to be an African. And this is what amounts to a global cacophonous ‘African’ mentality of trans-racial ransom which has lost the sense of reality check. In fact, the thing about ‘global Africanity’, and most particularly ‘Western Africanity’, whatever the reasons and the philosophies behind it, is that it legitimises anti-scientific and anti-cultural claims in the sense that not only does it violate and corrupt the true sense of what it really means to be an African, it equally hampers social construction and fellowship harmony in the very context of the Western cultural communities and political structures from which such claims arise, leading to the self-alienation of the claimants from their own world. The Negro does not need to be called certain terms to have a rightful place in history. Neither does he need to have Egyptian parents and cousins to be accepted as human. All he needs is to be able to compete in the world in all areas of human affirmation; because it is by the force of his ability to compete with other entities of his own kind that he truly is what he fundamentally is – a human being. But, to achieve this, he needs to begin by grasping the principles of human development, which have nothing to do with race or ancestry, but are imbedded in the qualities and abilities that are implanted into every human entity through its cultural values. A Human being with no true cultural allegiance is a human being with no true inheritance; no true competence. This is why I was saying that anthropology – as the science that studies human collectivities on a purely cultural angle – is the discipline that we need if we should ever be able to make sense of what is wrong with Black people in today’s world; not biology. The people of Black Africa, as well as their biological brothers and cousins of the West, need to learn how to put biology aside, and embrace anthropology, to discover their true selves, if they should ever expect to be true self-conscious humans. They need to make a serious effort to stop historical distortions, philosophical amalgamations and diasporic identifications. They need to stop hanging aloft over humanity, clad in flying global labels. They need to stop militating for a variable cultural point of fixation. They need to stop cultural flippancy, and begin by defining their true cultural allegiances before they can think of fighting on any front; because no man who has no real sense of cultural belonging can escape the slippery quagmires of alienation, obliteration and domination. To understand how this should be done, we need to scrutinise the fallacies related to what most Black people believe they are nowadays. In my own fashion of exploring issues, we are going to do this in the following last two chapters of this short part of the book by focusing on the West, and most particularly the Anglo-Saxon West, in which we find good samples of the true nature of what I consider to be a typical Western Black entity in today’s world. We are going to do this starting off from the analysis of the implications of what I call the ‘European-American syllogism’.< Less
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- Joe Mintsa (Standard Copyright License)
- Lulu Press
- March 15, 2011
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- African History ,
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