Afrocentrism Versus Eurocentrism

Topics: Africa, Black people, African diaspora Pages: 11 (4492 words) Published: April 26, 2011
Afrocentrism vs. Eurocentrism

Afrocentrism and Eurocentrism differ in many ways, and have help to advance the cause of both Africans and Europeans throughout history. Some would argue that had it not been for Eurocentrism Afrocentrism would never have existed, and in a sense the former is responsible for the creation of the latter. The manner in which both ethnocentric ideas view the world are totally different from one another but they are alike in the sense that they strive to place each of their ideals at the center. There is a long storied past associated with these two ideologies as well as a difference in opinion between and among the two. Afrocentrism seeks to teach a worldview that highlights the contributions of African people worldwide to counter the Eurocentric worldview which diminishes contributions made by non-Europeans or non-Westerners. Eurocentrism on the other hand seeks to teach a worldview in which European and/or Western culture is superior to the cultures of the rest of the world, and contributions made by Europeans and the West are of the upmost importance, and significance. These two vastly different perspectives are both very interesting, and serve the purpose of the advancement of the people in which it chooses to emphasize. Afrocentrism as described by most of its scholars as an ethnocentric ideology that places an emphasis on things African, and attempts to give Africans their rightful place in world history. Its aim is to shift the focus from a European centered history to an African centered one. Afrocentrism through the use or historical research of African culture attempts to distinguish the influence of Arab, European, and Asian peoples from that of indigenous African achievements. This worldview places focus on African civilizations that existed long before Greek and Roman civilizations such as Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and Meroitic civilizations. Afrocentrism and Afrocentric scholars use history as a way of teaching Africans worldwide their history and culture and reverse the Eurocentric history that has been taught to them which diminish the African presence, and contribution to world history.  

Eurocentrism is a worldview which places emphasis on things European and/or Western, and views the world from a Western perspective. Eurocentric education places Europeans and the West in a higher esteem than the rest of the world. This ethnocentric worldview leads people to believe whether consciously or sub consciously that Western culture is universal and other cultures are not important enough to be studied or researched in any depth. For example those who were taught under a Eurocentric doctrine would learn about the Dark Ages and immediately come to the conclusion that this turmoil was not only happening in Europe but all over the world at that time. This perspective leads people to believe that Western culture and values apply to everyone and those who do not practice these beliefs and value system are backwards and primitive. The ethnocentric ideology known as Eurocentrism is a long developing ideology that has affected nearly every person on the planet in some form or fashion. As far back as the fifth century B.C.E you can see a Eurocentric thought of superiority being developed in the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus. In his observation of the Asian people he describes them as "barbaric" hordes who “despite splendid architecture lack European individuality.”(Herodotus) Eurocentrism began spreading vastly in the early 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries through European colonization and imperialism. Eurocentric thinkers and writers tend to believe whether consciously or subconsciously in some basic principles when it comes to looking at other societies and civilizations. Non-European societies tend to be despotic and servile, as against the West's freedom and individualism. Non-European societies are Islamic, or pagan, or believe in strange religions, which...
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