The Case against Afrocentrism by Tunde Adeleke

By Tunde Adeleke

Postcolonial discourses on African Diaspora heritage and kin have characteristically centred intensely on highlighting the typical reports and hyperlinks among black Africans and African american citizens. this can be very true of Afrocentric students and supporters who use Africa to build and validate a monolithic, racial, and culturally essentialist worldview. courses by means of Afrocentric students reminiscent of Molefi Asante, Marimba Ani, Maulana Karenga, and the past due John Henrik Clarke have emphasised the centrality of Africa to the development of Afrocentric essentialism. within the final fifteen years, notwithstanding, countervailing severe scholarship has challenged essentialist interpretations of Diaspora background. Critics corresponding to Stephen Howe, Yaacov Shavit, and Clarence Walker have puzzled and refuted the highbrow and cultural underpinnings of Afrocentric essentialist ideology.
Tunde Adeleke deconstructs Afrocentric essentialism through illuminating and interrogating the difficult scenario of Africa because the beginning of a racialized around the world African Diaspora. He makes an attempt to fill an highbrow hole by way of examining the contradictions in Afrocentric representations of the continent. those comprise a number of, conflicting, and ambivalent photographs of Africa; using the continent as an international, unifying identification for all blacks; the de-emphasizing and nullification of recent global acculturation; and the ahistoristic building of a monolithic African Diaspora worldwide.

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Extra resources for The Case against Afrocentrism

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Afrocentrists underscore distinctiveness, conflict, and negating values. In a recently published provocative study, Debra J. Dickerson attempts further deconstruction of the racial underpinning of the cultural black nationalist worldview. She wrote The End of Blackness (2004) in order to prove and promote “the idea that the concept of ‘blackness,’ as it has come to be understood is rapidly losing its ability to describe, let alone predict or manipulate, the political and social behavior of African Americans.

The problem, however, is in using such consciousness as the basis of existential aspirations and struggles; of allowing race to define and determine, and thereby limit, one’s choices, aspirations, visions, and goals. It is ironic that a construct that is widely acknowledged for its fragility and artificiality was, and remains, key to defining the character of a people’s conception of self and construction of history. 38 Undoubtedly, it is the virulence and potency of racism in America that has provoked and reinforced black people’s affinity to race as a viable means of existential validation.

Some accepted and validated the notion of double consciousness and thus acknowledged the legitimacy of the Afro and African American construction of identity. Some others embraced a more neutralist formulation and attempted to situate identity within a cosmopolitan and universal construct—humanity, western civilization, and so forth. Advocates of this “universal” construct perceive black identity as neither essentially African nor essentially American but as the product of a broader and complex human experience.

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