Wednesday, 07 June 2017 18:24

What do you think of the contention of afrocentrists that Africans originated human civilization?

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Please answer some questions for me!

JOSEF BEN YOCHANNAN, JOHN HENRIK CLARKE AND IVAN VAN SERTIMA

Ozodi Osuji

I spent most of June 6, 2017 watching YouTube videos on the giants of African studies: Josef Ben Yochannan, John Henrik Clarke and Ivan Van Sertima. My mind is filled with their perspectives on history, especially Africa's role in history. They all say that Africa is the origin of everything. Essentially, they refuted the notion that Europeans and Arabs and other peoples are responsible for the modern world; to them Africans are responsible for whatever is good in the world.

What shall one make of these guys claims? Are they just black men made inferior by western civilization who are responding to their dreadful situation by making claims that place them in a positive light; in Alfred Adler's psychological terms, are they merely compensating with superiority for their underlying inferiority feeling?

Conversely, is there merit to what they are saying?  And if Africans were the progenitors of everything good in the world how come in our contemporary world Africans are at the bottom of the world? What happened to make Africans the laughing stock of the contemporary world?  How did a people who initiated human civilization come to be those who don't even seem able to govern themselves (in Nigeria you have to bribe to even obtain a form from a government office)?  What happened?

Can anyone out there please answer this question for me? I do not want a made up story, a fiction masquerading as answer.

I know that if someone has low self-esteem you can tell him that his ancestors built the pyramids and that temporarily makes him feel fine but if he cannot build the pyramid today, if he does not have what it takes to run modern science and technology based civilization  he is not going to have lasting positive self-esteem.

In our world it is those who are competent, who can do what it takes to adapt to their world that have positive self-esteem, not those who make claims about a past that may or not be glorious.

If Africans were good in the past what made them bad in the present? Slavery? Okay. The powerful enslave the weak so how did Africans become weak so that Romans, Arabs and Europeans enslaved them?

I need objective answers to these questions, not answers that insult my intelligence.

In the past I had read about the above mentioned three gentlemen; indeed, I had written reviews of their major works.  That is, I am not new to their contributions to African history. It just happened that this is the first time I have seen them in person talking about their ideas, ideas that generally support Chancellor Williams' thesis on "the destruction of black civilization", Walter Rodney's views on "how Europe underdeveloped Africa" and Goodson's thesis on the miseducation of the Negro and Anta Chiak Diop's "the African Origin of Egyptian civilization".

I had thought about why Africans are backward and settled on the explanations given by Jared Diamond in his book, Guns, Germs and Steel as the probable cause of this conundrum. But given Afrocentricists insistence that there were great civilizations in Africa and since I do not see them in contemporary Africa I want someone to help me understand what happened to set Africa back.

If I may ask: was ancient Egypt a black civilization? And if so how come the rest of tropical Africa lived in huts when Europeans came to their world in the nineteenth century (and many of them still do so today)?

As they say, success does not need explanation, it is failure that needs to be explained. So, help me explain Africa's present unenviable condition, a condition that led white racists to conclude that Africans are incapable of mounting advanced human civilization.

Racists were aghast that a black man, Barack Obama was elected the president of the USA for they assumed that he is not capable of governing the country. To show that only a white man can govern the country they elected as their president a buffoon, Donald Trump; Trump reasons like an eight year old child and obviously cannot govern the country well. Is this turn of events poetic justice or what? Is the universe teaching us not to judge a person by the color of his skin but by his competence?

Please just answer my question: is the thesis of Afrocentrism correct?

Ozodi Osuji

June 7, 2017

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176