The Utopian Worldview of Afrocentricity: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy

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Cameron Gilmore
Professor Stephen Ferguson
Liberal Studies 202
14 September 2012
The Utopian Worldview of Afrocentricity: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy
In this paper, I will analyze Stephen Ferguson’s article “The Utopian Worldview of Afrocentricity: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy”. Throughout Ferguson’s article he discusses the limitations of Afrocentrism and the negative effects it may cause because of the beliefs and ideas expressed from the philosophical view. Following the summary of the article’s main points and themes, I shall expound upon the article’s erudite theme, while illuminating the author’s generalization of this “worldview”.

Ferguson introduces the reader to the article with a poem entitled Heritage by Countee Cullen. While Ferguson only includes the first stanza of that poem, the entirety of the poem somewhat relates to the view of Afrocentrism in how Cullen articulates the beauty of Africa, but by the end of the poem the mood has changed to Cullen’s current life and how it has changed. Like the poem the main point of the article is that Afrocentrism may be something of a good thing, but it cannot be any good to history if it is only based of off of “fantasy or fairy tale” as Ferguson states. There are many examples on the claims that are made on Afrocentrism and how it clouds the rich African-American or African heritage. One line from the passage says, “…[the Afrocentric quest for an authentic past] ignores the fact that the Pharaohs in conjunction with the priests were an oppressive and exploitative aristocracy. Dreaming of what Kwame Nkrumah termed an idyllic African classless society is a wrong-headed approach for Black Studies” (Ferguson). I found that this strongly demonstrates how farfetched ideas may become, mostly, when Afrocentrism becomes just a ploy to console the African-American race from times of struggle or disparity. Along with the negative side of the Afrocentric view, Ferguson...
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