Afrocentricity is a frame of reference through which every occurrence is viewed from the point of view of the African experience. Afrocentricity, however, is not the antithesis of Eurocentricity. Asante declares that Eurocentricity is based on white supremacist notions that protect white privilege and advantage in education, economics, and politics while suppressing historical truths. Eurocentricity, Asante argues, in effect declares that all other groups’ perspectives are nullified if they do not support and propel white supremacy. Afrocentricity, on the other hand, relishes letting the truth be known.
One major way to acknowledge such truth, Asante says, would be through the exhaustive and accurate study of Africans throughout the diaspora. Asante asserts that a new, more encompassing label needs to be applied to black studies programs in colleges and universities. The new label, he suggests, could be “Afrology.” Afrology would then be the Afrocentric study of concepts, issues, and behaviors with particular bases in the African world. Although not an Afrocentric term, “Afrology” would be a term that would be understood in a Eurocentric world. Asante states that Afrology would be the vehicle for research and resources that would make possible the comprehensive documentation of the perspectives of African Americans.
Throughout Afrocentricity, Asante stresses that truth is the reality from which all knowledge will eventually spring. It is, then, imperative that African Americans assess their own personal experiences, evaluate historical truths, change their behavior to reflect the greatness of their ancestry, and, finally, internalize into every fabric of their existence their Afrocentricity. Knowledge is power, and Asante expects that whites will react negatively toward a competing perspective, yet when the truth of his arguments is validated, Asante argues, the hidden truths of Afrocentricity must gain acceptance.
Finally, Asante declares that skin color is not a valid criterion for determining if one has the capability to become Afrocentric. Afrocentricity is a new way of seeing oneself and is an evolutionary and internalizing process. To be black does not make a person Afrocentric; however, to be Afrocentric one must be black.
In Afrocentricity, Asante provides a conceptual framework for an ideology that is designed to unshackle a population that has struggled for centuries to realize the greatness of its ancestry. Asante offers an outline to Africans throughout the diaspora explaining how they can obtain an awareness of themselves and of their heritage. In 2003, Asante revisited this framework to determine how hip-hop and other aspects of postmodern culture related to his central thesis. His intent was primarily to make his text more accessible to a new generation of readers and to rebut two decades of criticism; his argument itself remained largely unchanged.
Asante’s ideas on centricity underwent a developmental process. Through the course of visiting Africa over a period of twenty years, Asante came to the conclusion that African Americans were culturally handicapped. This realization enabled Asante to explain what happens to a people who—when they are completely severed from their land of birth and denied their ancestry, culture, language, and history—eventually become emotionally and mentally impaired. Asante explains that a people that has lost its identity lacks direction, confidence, and self-esteem. Culture, however, empowers people; it promotes identity. For African Americans and those Africans throughout the diaspora, Afrocentricity offers a systematic methodology for regaining their heritage, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
Asante does not compromise his strict views on the complete transformation one must undertake to become Afrocentric. Afrocentricity encompasses the complete shedding of any thoughts, behaviors, relationships, and cultures that are foreign to the development of the Afrocentric mind. Asante’s critics are sometimes offended by what they perceive as antiwhite indoctrination and racist attitudes being embraced by some African Americans who adopt Afrocentricity as a way of life. These critics also deplore the idea of dispensing with a Eurocentric curriculum in schools and replacing it with one that some feel is not essentially correct. Asante, however, maintains that African Americans must develop an awareness that is infused into their daily lives and that school curricula provide a vital starting point for such development.