Euro-centrism, Afrocentrism, Ethnocentrism, it’s all BS

Nok Terracotta


Ethnocentrism limits us as a species.  What is it? It’d judging your own country or culture better than everyone elses.  It is somewhat a natural thing, it has a hormonal reward just like all other methods people use to make them feel better or justify being jerks.  Being American I mainly come across American Exceptionalism, Eurocentrism, ans Afrocentrism.

American Exceptionalism Is basically the US saying it’s the best country in the world.  That American does no wrong.  The problem is that is, obviously that’s not the case.  What with the infant mortality rate, shady dealing that were probably mostly unnecessary, ect.

I grew up with Euro-centrism in school.  We learned of Europe and the exploits of white Americans.  Slavery was barely touched of despite helping build the country.  The Native Americans were barley mentioned outside attacking settlers.  We didn’t learn what instigated these attacks, we didn’t learn that no side was innocent of atrocities.  The Tail of Tears was barely touched on.  The “schools” weren’t touched on at all.  We didn’t learn of the atrocities directed toward the mentally ill or the Japanese interment camp.  The American revolution was simplifies to make America look good. The list goes on.

In other parts of the world we learned a little about Islam and less about how middle Eastern scholars contributed to the world.  We barely touched on China aside from it’s old and big. Less on India, SE Asia, Australia, or Japan.

Once I got online I found out about Afrocentrism.  Apparently this in mostly an American thing that is a response to discrimination as opposed the arrogance.  It’s based on mostly 19th century writings now its mostly Molefi Asante .  For some reason it appears to be focused on Ancient Egypt/Khemet.

Like Eurocentrism, Afrocentrism misrepresents history.  Both theories seem to focus on Egypt to the point of ignoring evidence elsewhere.  For example, it’s been confirmed that was a civilization that existed called Nok somewhere around Nigeria.  Also  the civilization that made the pottery in Ghana which shows evidence of trade relations in both Europe and Asia.    As Afrocentrism says Egypt was “Black African”, Eurocentrism says that Egypt was Nordic. Evidence based on science says Egypt was/is mixed.   Focus on Egypt also discounts archaeological evidence showing it as a mixed civilization.  Humans have never lived in a bubble.

Also, like Eurocentrism, Afrocentrism minimizes the accomplishments of others.   For example the Olmec people, best known for carving giant heads. Many look stereo-typically African but no one knows their heritage.  There are legends of pale skinned people that get Eurocentric people riled up.  The previously mentioned Ghanaian civilization was hushed up because archaeologists of the time couldn’t see black Africans doing what the evidence suggested.  (This mindset is part of the reason there is Afrocentrism to begin with, a response to getting hidden.)

I understand why Ethnocentrism exists.  It make people feel good no matter the reasons for it, like trying to empower people otherwise brushed under a rug.(Afrocentrism). Or trying to justify behavior(Euro and Sinocenrtism, Nazism).  In the end I believe no one people is better than the other and history needs to based on science, always changing to suit the evidence.  No matter were our ancestors came from or how often idiots try to suppress the truth, we all have a lot in common and we can learn from each other.

Related: Clarence E.Walker

6 ways anthropologists can challenge racism




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