MOLEFI KETE ASANTE ON AFROCENTRICITY, HOW ITS DETRACTORS HAVE WARPED ITS MEANING, AND HOW EVERYDAY EUROCENTRICITY WARPS REALITY (MF GALAXY 065)
AUTHOR OF AFROCENTRICITY ON HOW KNOWLEDGE OF SELF IS LIBERATORY, HOW AFROCENTRICITY IS NOT THE ANALOGUE TO EUROCENTRICITY, AND THE MASSIVE DIVERSITY OF THE CONTINENT
Few people have done as much to promote the Africentric perspective as Molefi Kete Asante, the scholar, editor, and activist who wrote the seminal work Afrocentricity and furthered the intellectual movement for an African-centered scholarship and world-view that employs research for political liberation through the academic resuscitation of smothered history.
Asante has published over 400 articles, and has authored more than seventy books, among them Afrocentricity, African Pyramids of Knowledge, Ancient Egyptian Philosophers, and the memoir As I Run Toward Africa. The Utne Reader called him one of the “100 Leading Thinkers” in the United States, and he has appeared on Nightline, The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, The Today Show, The Tony Brown Show, and 60 Minutes.
The African Union cited him as one of the top twelve scholars of African descent when it invited him to give one of the keynote addresses at the Conference of Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora in Dakar in 2004. He’s currently Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Philadelphia’s Temple University.
Asante spoke with me by telephone from his office at Temple University in Philadelphia on August 12, 2010 (You’ll note that during our discussion I refer to the African continent as having only 54 countries, rather 55 with the creation of South Sudan in 2011). We discussed:
•How Afrocentric analysis opens possibilities for pursuing knowledge and success in various walks of life
•How many of his detractors have distorted the meaning and goals of his philosophy of Afrocentricity, and
•Asante’s list of everyday English terms such as tribe, native, and dialect that reveal Eurocentric biases against Africa and obscure the massive diversity of African nationalities, languages, and histories
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•Ongoing resistance to recognising the Ancient Egyptians as Africans, whether from Europeans, or from Zahi Hawass, the Arab who is the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities
•His reactions to National Geographic’s ongoing misrepresentation of Ancient Egypt’s racial identity, and
•The analytical limitation of using the word “Black” instead of the word “African”