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Afrocentrism

Afrocentrism is a term used to refer to the belief that ancient Africa was the source of cultural and intellectual achievements that have been systematically denied or suppressed by Europeans. It is, in this respect, an inversion of the perceived racial hierarchies of Eurocentric history. Typically Afrocentrism concentrates on the achievements of the ancient Egyptians, presenting them as a black race. Afrocentrists typically refer to Egypt as Kemet, the indigenous term for the country. This does indeed mean 'black land', though this is traditionally understood to refer to the dark fertile soil beside the Nile, in contrast to the yellow sand beyond. Afrocentrists interpret it to refer to the the skin-color of the inhabitants.

According to the more extreme exponents of Afrocentrism, Africans were responsible for all the great innovations in ancient philosophy, science and technology. These were later 'stolen' by the Greeks and other European peoples. This argument is to be found in the book Stolen Legacy by George G. M. James, who derives many of his ideas from 18th century Masonic assumptions about Egyptian wisdom. Such views are copied in many other later books. Afrocentrists have also also claimed that Africans discovered America. The academic Molefi Kete Asante[?] is the best known exponent of Afrocentrism.

Critics assert that Afrocentrism is myth presented as history, and that it is a projection of modern American racial and geographical categories onto ancient cultures in which they did not exist. 'Europe' and 'Africa' were not oppositional categories to the Greeks or Egyptians, for whom civilisation encircled the Mediterranean and there was no real concept of race as we now understand that term.



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