Friday, 09 September 2011 23:01

Are Africans Evil Or Just Egoists?

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After examining the behavior of Africans and judging it evil this paper tried to understand whether Africans are evil in nature. It says that they are not evil but are egoistic and self-centered and must relinquish their self-centeredness and behave in a pro-social and loving manner if they are to produce advanced civilizations.

ARE AFRICANS EVIL?

by: Ozodi Thomas Osuji

In our contemporary world social scientists have managed to get their students not to employ the term evil in referring to human behaviors. Instead of seeing what people did as good or bad they are subjected to extensive analysis of why they did it; we are shown how the forces of their bodies and social experiences led them to do what they did. As it were, individuals do not make individual choices to do the right or wrong thing but are prevailed upon to do what they did by biological and social forces beyond their control; nothing people do is now seen as their fault; their bodies and or their environments made them do it. Thus, no one is held accountable for his behaviors. In this social scientific light, Africans incredible thieving behaviors is not to be judged good or bad but explained and understood and they are to be pitied rather than blamed.

Ozodi Osuji Ph.DEvaluation of behavior as good or bad is idealistic. That is, it consciously or unconsciously posits a standard of appropriate behavior; it then uses that standard to judge human behavior and find them either measuring up or not. One must have an apriori idea of good before one can say that a certain behavior is bad. We can ask: who determines what is good behavior?

The idealistic person generally judges what is as not good enough, rejects it and then has an idea of what could be, what in his imagination is better, and uses the imaginary ideal good, a mental construct but not reality, to judge peoples actual behaviors and find them not good enough. Generally, the idealist has judged himself as not good enough and invented an ideal alternative self that he wants to become and uses it to judge his real self and naturally find it not good enough. As he first did to himself he does to other persons; thus, he uses his ideal standard self to judge other persons and find them not good enough and reject them.

The idealist's life is one of rejecting the real and questing after the imaginary ideal. Maturity, inter alia, lies in accepting the imperfect real self and not always comparing one 's self and other selves to fictional ideal selves; human beings are condemned to being imperfect. The immature person thinks that there is ever going to be perfection in human form; he is badly misinformed; as long as people live in bodies they are limited and will be imperfect; only those who live outside bodies, spirits, can be perfect.

In this light, as an idealist i decided what constitutes good behavior, a subjective opinion, and use that fictive ideal yardstick to judge Africans and find them evil. Who said that what I see as good is good? Where is it written that this or that behavior is good? There is no self-evident good behavior in nature.

To say that certain behavior is good is a value statement, a statement of choice, not a natural phenomenon. In nature all behaviors are permitted. Animals do kill and eat other animals and no external force stops them from doing so, indicating that there is no justice in nature. Big fish eat smaller fish, so, there appears no morality in nature.

In this naturalistic sense, Africans screwing each other is in accordance with the laws of nature; their thieving behaviors are natural. Indeed, the idea of thieving is judgmental; judgment is a social construct; in nature there is no such thing as stealing; in the wild strong animals take from weaker ones and eat and weaker ones die out.

However, there is a caveat to accepting all behavior as natural. If we accept the premise that all behavior is permitted in nature we must not complain upon seeing starving Africans. Complaint is predicated on the premise that Africans are moral beings and should care for their people hence should have prevented their people from starving. If nature is our guide we should not raise a word against the stealing behavior of Africans and in fact should look aside as Africans starve to death. Why should we care, after all in nature, as we talk, wild animals are starving to death?

An idealistic Africa can judge African behaviors as bad and posit an alternative to them and aspire towards attaining those imaginary ideas of what is good? He uses his imaginary idea of perfection to judge real Africans and find them evil.

I am aware of the problem with idealism; I certainly understand the scientific notion that we are products of accidents and the belief that human beings are mere animals doing what they have to do to survive in an impersonal world hence no need to judge their behaviors as good or bad.

I am also aware that human beings are individuals and as such should never be spoken about as if they are incapable of individual choices, as if they behave as members of a category and simply do whatever all other members of the category do without exercising individual choices. It is rather easy to see members of a group as this or that way and treat them as such. For example, it is easy to say that because average Africans score at mentally retarded levels on intelligent tests (their average IQ is 70, white folks is 100, and Asians is 115) that Africans are unintelligent and then treat them as unintelligent folk; in fact, many racists assume that black folk are unintelligent and as such deny them jobs; racists rationalize racism with the idea that black folk are not capable of doing mentally challenging jobs and are only suited for menial jobs that require little or no intelligence (in the USA I see many black folks driving buses, a job that requires very little intelligence to do it, but not as physics professors, a job that requires above average intelligence to do it).

Be all those caveats as they may, once in a while I am nagged by the question of whether Africans are unintelligent and evil and whether there is nothing any of us can do to change them and make them decent human beings?

Why do I ask this question? Look at most African countries and what do you see? You see people taking bribes from each other, politicians looting their national treasuries and literally not doing anything for their people? Africans live in unimaginable squalor and all their leaders can think of is how to steal from them but not how to help them.

The Nigerian politician, from the president to the senator, national assembly man, governor, state parliamentarian and local council member is no more than a glorified thief masquerading as a leader of his people. There is no exception to this general statement. A Nigerian politician is a thief and it would be silly to see him as anything other than that, euhemerism would not do.

Nor is this phenomenon recent. We must remember that Africans are people who for hundreds of years sold their people to all buyers, including to Arabs and to Europeans. For over a thousand years all that West Africans and East Africans did with their useless existence was to sell their people to Arabs and White folk. Africans hunted, captured and sold their people to Europeans and Arabs. Just thinking about what they did makes ones blood shiver! How could they do such a dastardly thing to their people, are they evil or something?

And the worst part of it all is that to the present Africans do not evince any kind of shame from selling their people to white and Arab folks. They do not feel guilt for this heinous crime against their own people.

In so far that they talk about slavery at all it is to blame their partners in their crime against their own people. They do not even blame Arabs; they only blame white Americans for slavery.

Blame Africans for their role in slavery? Not at all; it is always other folk's faults; even though they were the ones who, like savages, ran around their jungle environment capturing their people and literally begging foreigners to buy them.

(I believe that there is a psychological reason why Africans do not take ownership of slavery, why they blame otters, those they see as adults and excuse themselves, those they see as innocent children. If they took responsibility for this crime called slavery they would probably see themselves as evil, as having black souls and would be depressed and perhaps commit mass suicide, for evil doers are not worthy of living. To manage to see themselves as good hence justify living they had to deny responsibility for selling their people and give us the infantile excuse that only those who bought them were responsible for the crime against humanity. In this light we must tolerate the infantile deny of what they did for it serves the psychological purpose of keeping them alive. One, however, wonders why they are alive, to steal from one another?)

And what did they sell their people for? They sold them for pieces of glasses (mirrors, with which they looked at their vain egos in the mirror). They sold their people for pieces of glass and alcohol. These people sold their people into slavery and actually did not accumulate wealth from that nefarious crime. There is certainly no evidence of accomplishment, no great buildings and other monuments, in Africa from the resources putatively obtained from over one thousand years of selling their people!

Those who sell people into slavery or steal from their people do not contribute to civilization; only those who positively serve society in some form contribute to civilization. Africans, sellers of people have contributed squat to science and technology.

African egos are so swollen that just about all they do is think of their individual selves but seldom about other people's good. As such, they are seldom capable of collective action, collective action that leads to developing civilizations.

The behavior of Africans in the past and present lead me to wonder whether they are by nature evil. This is a question that I must answer and how I answer it decides how I treat Africans. At present I do not know whether to see them as savages or human beings.

I will be totally honest and state that at the moment I do not trust Africans to do the right thing. I expect them to steal, cheat and lie; I expect them to steal the moneys that are given to them to develop their countries. I do not expect any good to come out of Africa.

This is a sad position to take toward a whole group of people but that is my attitude to Africans. The question for me is: can one change ones negative view of these people and if so what makes one to believe that they are going to be decent people?

Obviously, trust must be based on antecedent behaviors, not just on naïve hope. People behave in the present as they behaved in the past; they do not just get up one fine day and become different persons and behave differently.

I am aware that my trend of thought plays into the hands of white racists who believe that Africans are not only unintelligent but criminal in nature. Nevertheless, the Africans I see with my eyes are amoral; I just want to know whether they can become moral beings or not.

I believe that it is their egoism that makes them do what they do. We therefore have to figure out a way to help these people shrink their oversized egos to humble proportions. At the moment all they do is seek prestige but do not do anything to serve public good.

Their entire lives center on trying to seem important in their eyes and in the eyes of other persons. As it were, they feel inferior and react in a compensatory manner to seem important. In pursuit of social and existential importance they are willing to steal from each other to obtain the money that would enable them seem important and powerful; they are even willing to sell their people into slavery to get the money that enables them pretend existential importance; they would sell their siblings and parents into slavery today if that behavior was not frowned upon by the international community.

These people's drive is to seem important so as to mask their existential sense of nothingness. The exigencies of being human beings, animals with an awareness of their inevitable death, the fact that their existence is meaningless, purposeless and pointless leads us to feel like we have no worth and value and we struggle to deny that feeling by positing false specialness for us.

Men of goodwill also feel existential sense of nothingness but seek to overcome it by serving other members of their society; they have what Alfred Adler calls social interests.

In Africa the idea of social interest is less known; what are known are self-interests. To the extent that Africans care for other persons at all it is generally for their immediate family members; they seldom identify with the whole community and serve it.


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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