Our Readers' Opinions
August 9, 2019
Jomo Thomas is peddling fake Afrocentric history

EDITOR: In his last weekly column in The Vincentian newspaper (“Half Steppin’ To Emancipation,” Friday, August 2) denigrating the importance of the freeing of our slave ancestors on August 1, 1834, Jomo Thomas, Speaker of the House of Assembly, asserted that, “Many among us still harbour the mistaken belief that Africa contributed little or nothing to world history.”

This assertion is false because only the most benighted or racist person would believe it given all the contrary evidence. Still, it was a convenient springboard for peddling a truly fallacious portrait of African history.

To be sure, ancient Egypt in northeastern Africa was abundantly rich in cultural achievements. It was also multiracial, though mainly Middle Eastern and Mediterranean rather than African from a genetic perspective. And, yes, there is abundant evidence that the ancient Greeks admired Egypt enormously but not so enormously that, “Socrates and Plato proudly and honestly declared that they spent 15 and 18 years respectively learning at the feet of African master teachers,” as Mr. Thomas falsely claims.

Nor has sub-Saharan Africa been without numerous achievements, from the ancient kingdom of Cush to the later West African empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay. These were based either on the independent invention or ingenious adaptation from external sources in many different areas including astronomy, mathematics, education, medicine, metallurgy, agriculture, textiles, and the arts (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science_and_technology_in_Africa#Northern_Africa_and_the_Nile_Valley_3 ).

All this is testimony to the fact that no “race” of people and no part of the world has a monopoly on human genius and creativity but can independently reinvent very similar practices and technologies, a well-known process conveniently disregarded by proponents of racialized identity politics.

So it is silly and futile to keep trumpeting the baseless pseudo-scholarly propaganda called Afrocentrism, a black racial supremacy body of myths claiming that white, ancient Greece stole science, mathematics, philosophy, and religion from a black, ancient Egypt and that the European cultural paradigm which we have been taught for generations in SVG deliberately concealed this truth.

This is because the manufactured and exaggerated claims of Afrocentrism are nothing more than a politically and racially-motived fairytale that has been carefully debunked with real evidence by scholars like Professor Mary Lefkowitz, a distinguished classical academic, over 20 years ago in her acclaimed and meticulously researched book “Not Out Of Africa: How ‘Afrocentrism’ Became An Excuse To Teach Myth As History” (see http://www.historyplace.com/pointsofview/not-out.htm).

And “none of this is taught in [SVG] schools,” much to Mr. Thomas’ dismay, simply because it is fake history.

In fact, the distorted, embellished, and anti-scientific ideas of Afrocentrism actually slander real African history (while simultaneously defaming the verified accomplishments of the ancient Greeks that have enriched the entire black, white, brown, red, and yellow world) by implying that the genuine cultural achievements of our black ancestors are second rate, a sure sign of an unjustified and malignant black inferiority complex.

So, let us be proud of our authentic indigenous African cultures and the many gifts and skills these bequeathed to us and stop falsely rewriting history.

Let us also reject Afrocentrism’s Black racial superiority stereotype, a slander just as empty and destructive as its white counterpart which denies or buries the elementary fact that not only is there a single sub-species (race) of people in the world (Homo sapiens sapiens) but that all of us are the descendants of our prehistoric East African ancestors.

Most of all let us never allow bogus research driven by divisive post-modern critical race theory to replace the Enlightenment rational search for scientific truth.

C. ben-David