August 13, 2020

Jomo Thomas Is Peddling Fake Afrocentric History

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In his recent weekly column in The Vincentian newspaper (“Half Steppin’ To Emancipation,” Friday, August 2) which actually mocked the monumental importance of the freeing of our slave ancestors on August 1, 1834, Jomo Thomas, Speaker of the House of Assembly and the country’s official slavery reparations representative, 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 could accept it as true given all the contrary evidence. Still, it allowed this champion of racialized identity politics to speciously replace it with an extraordinarily fallacious portrait of African history.

Ancient Egypt in northeastern Africa was truly rich in cultural achievements. It was also multiracial, though mainly Middle Eastern and Mediterranean rather than African from a genetic perspective. There is only negative evidence that the Pharaoh Cleopatra was a black woman and her subjects black Africans, contrary to the empty claims of Afrocentric historical revisionists, many of whom also wrongly claim that the ancient Israelites were black.

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 argues.

Nor has sub-Saharan Africa been without many notable 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 the ingenious application of what was learned from other lands in areas like astronomy, mathematics, education, medicine, metallurgy, agriculture, textiles, and the arts.

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 using fringe science and pseudo-archaeology to promote airy-fairy notions such as that Africans were the original discoverers and inhabitants of the New World. By appropriated the most outstanding cultural inventions of the real aboriginal people who migrated to the Americas via the Beringia land bridge from Asia over 15,000 years ago, including the key architectural features of the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica, Afrocentrists and other racists have implied that the New World’s first settlers were not intelligent or innovative enough to have created them on their own.

So it is silly and futile to keep trumpeting, as Mr. Thomas has monotonously done for years without evidence or attribution, the fraudulent scholarly propaganda rooted in sloppy research and guesswork that has ballooned into 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 has deliberately concealed this truth. More particularly, it is simply crude Afrocentric nonsense lacking any credible or verifiable evidence that, “African people invented [European] philosophy, mathematics and engineering,” as Jomo Thomas claims.

This is because the manufactured and exaggerated claims of Afrocentrism are nothing more than a politically- and racially-motived fairy tale that has been carefully debunked using 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.”

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 also 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.

But even if all Eurocentric ideas were actually borrowed or “stolen” from Afrocentric ones, it is still foolish to now curse the very same supposedly pseudo-Eurocentric ideas that we originally invented, as black extremists often do. As one critic of Afrocentrism has argued, “If Eurocentric culture is so horrible, why would these fake historians want to claim it as their own? By coveting it, aren’t Afrocentrists providing the ultimate validation of Western Civilization?

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 a Black racial superiority stereotype this is just as baseless and destructive as its white counterpart and which denies or buries the elementary fact that there is only a single living race of human beings: the sapiens sub-species of Homo sapiens. Not only is there one biological race of people but all the world’s inhabitants are genetic Africans, brothers and sisters separated by a mere few thousand generations. This is because we are individually and collectively the descendants of our prehistoric East African ancestors.

Most of all let us never allow bogus research driven by divisive racialized politics to replace the Enlightenment rational and objective search for scientific truth.

C. ben-David

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