Afrocentricity Essay - Critical Essays

Arthur Lee Smith Jr.


(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

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.