Reply to Raymond Ramcharitar’s Africentrism

EmancipationTHE EDITOR: Raymond Ramcharitar’s 21/9/11 piece on Africentrism [How to do the Afrocentric Hustle] was a shameless display of intellectual laziness and generalising with enough vitriol to hint at something I won’t even dignify here with a mention. Which is unfortunate because it took away from a message that contained some validity. There’re quite a few scholars, politicians, artistes and activists who exploit enslavement, colonialism and Euro-centred racism to excuse self-defeatist attitudes and who manipulate racial insecurities, narrow tribalism and ideas of entitlement to retard real self-development among Afro-Trinis.

There’s also an overly romanticised painting of classical Africa instead of looking also at the realities of contemporary Africa. But classifying Africentrism as the “Afro equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan” is deeply insulting to the profound scholarship of Cheikh Anta Diop, Charles Finch, Asa Hilliard, Van Sertima, our own Tony Martin and Gloria Emegwali along with white scholars like Sir Flinders Petrie, Martin Bernal, JH Breasted, Gerald Massey and Alexander Von Wuthenau. To lump together Diop, Jeffries or Dr Ben with say Dr Cudjoe, PNM politicians and semi-literate calypsonians, speaking of Africentricity as opposed to “sanity,” shows Ramcharitar possessing the same intellectual shallowness he and Baldeosingh of the Express like to pin on Africentrists (funny how uncritical they are of conservative academia, apparently only Africentrists peddle myths).

I’m not saying that Africentric scholars make no academic mistakes but how is it that the Ramcharitars never speak about the fact that many of these scholars — even now — manage to produce detailed research in spite of hostile, cliquish, conservative academia, failure to secure grants, denied access to libraries and obscure private antiquities collections? RIIIIGHT, because with Obama’s election such wars are long over. Ever heard of morphing, Raymond?

His snide dismissal rings hollow if one examines such debates as the Black Athena debate when Mary Lefkowitz’s and conservative academia’s (even more “therapeutic”) arguments were systematically deconstructed as were those of the conservative Egyptologists by Diop and Theophile Obenga in the 1974 UNESCO debate. I’m also curious Ramcharitar, which is more absurd, the wearing of dashikis and kaftans or jackets and ties in tropical heat because 49 years after Independence we still cyar adopt formal attire (and military and police uniforms) that reflect the realities of our tropical environment (question, is a sari a “costume” too? Just asking).

Africentric scholarship, far from being an oxymoron, is simply a way of looking at the world using as its foundation traditional African-centered ideas of development and philosophies which, last I checked, were always notorious for being too open and accommodating (and quote me one racist utterance by Dr Jeffries, Raymond, just one, and the context). Ramcharitar may want to keep that in mind or better yet, study the principles of Ma’at before he spouts such effluence about Afro version of the KKK.

Corey Gilkes
La Romaine

9 Responses to “Reply to Raymond Ramcharitar’s Africentrism”


  • I was reading Ramcharitar’s article with an open mind until the comparison with the KKK. Is this guy serious.Since the brits Africans and East Indians in Trini and after Independence, has there any incidence of Afro Trinis lynching Indians and posing and smiling for pictures. That is the legacy of the Klan. They use to killed mostly Black and White sympathizers(nigger lovers) without batting an eye.The law never lift a hand untilthe 60’s. Tell us Raymond, in all your research, have Black people done that to Whites or Indians.

    I don’t agree with everything Black intellectuals publish. But I could care less what the conservatives think about those publications. They suffer from convenient amnesia when it comes to the past sufferings of African descendants in the Western Hemisphere.If Whites and conservatives feel uneasy and guilty, good. It is their HISTORY. They don’t don’t berate Jews for cying victimhood as pertaining to their calamity in WW2. You know the Jews would put them in the place.

  • The critics of Afrocentrism are usually selective in their argument on the impact of slavery to contemporary behavior. I believe that if ancestry and generational issues are highlighted when portraying the virtues and accomplishments of non-African peoples; why then do these same people reject the use of historical, ancestral and generational precedence to explain and understand the present behavioral norms of people of the African diaspora? I make no excuses for the shortcomings and inexcusable behavior of any people but we must seek to honestly understand and analyze the causes.

    For example, has anyone researched and measured the social impact of the slavery practice of disrupting, destroying and rendering dysfunctional the family system by removing fathers and mothers to a lesser extent from their children all for the expedience of increasing the slave stock through random breeding purely for economic reasons (for slaves were akin to livestock acquisition). I wonder about the residual effects of such a practice being transferred through generations.

    Behavioral science combines generational and personal preferences factors in attempting to document the rationale for the adaptation of societal/social norms. It is hoped that greater sensitivity be exercised not only in understanding the causes of social behavioral practices within the African diaspora but approaches at finding solutions take them into consideration.

    Just as is done in understanding indentureship’s affinity to agriculture and sugar with its social consequences etc. The same should be done with african social behavior in the diaspora as we seek to forge a more equitable society.

  • You will always find those who are heriditary kith and kin of the demographic that makes of the Klu Klu KLan having a problem with any expression of African consciousness. You see their entire psyche and self esteem is constructed on the inverse proportinal idea that black people did not exist except as slaves, and thus they are superior. This silly but self enhancing notion dovetails with their religious interpretation of who was born superior and who was born inferior. Our problem is that we are reluctant to use their own history in our response to their ignorance, and make it plain that from a historical perspective, they share more in common with the Klu Klux Klan than any other group in this world.

    The Klu Klux Klan comes from an order of Aryan racial superiority. Those whose heritage are tinged with this strain have to be idiots to analogize Africans who are at the other end of the racial continuum to that organization. People need to cease pawning their links on to us, and we need to be intolerant of these attempts. We did not invent racism, it was invented to discriminate against people who look like us. Ramicharitar need to look into his backyard and recognize his kith and kin, rather than pretending that they belong to us.

  • Raymond Ramcharitar’s Africentrism who are the real hustlers?
    QPCC invests $30,000 in youth football
    Show me 1 company/entity in the line up where Sat Mahraj or Duprea has’nt a share-all a bunch of tax evaders flying high & lawless too, and all these cheap skates could coff-up is 30, lousy thousand. They’d rather a SOE every decade that will ruin every thing. That bugger was paid 90M a year- now you see why folks turn to guns & crime-I’a mot promoting crime they are. Cheap arse fools playing the population for arse. You dare equate AfroTrinis with the KKK. You are hateful;in fact all who think its time, come and bury the AfroTrini race, come say your diabolical piece, out loud!

  • Listen to talk radio and you will see as much black hate towards Indians as white hate towards blacks.Both is despicable.

  • http://www.newsday.co.tt/politics/0,148048.html
    Thanks Sistah Hodge , for pinpointing a clear reality , quite common amongst , too many of these female , paper leaders, we see in modern global politics.
    To my neo feminist friend Madame L , your call.I told you gender , or race means nada, but you doubt me?
    Seriously , there is perhaps, no two members of this present regime , that I find more reprehensible , than the immoral Suraj Rambachan of 1986 NAR government fame, and Dr Goopiesing de education Minister, aka ,anti Afrikan, fake genocidal screamer.
    The former has the audacity to stand today ,and defend this illegal monstrosity , all in the name of crime fighting / security, when he and others were at the forefront of pointing fingers and, preaching negativity ,at our law enforcement bodies for doing their jobs, through the decades,simply because ,a few too many members of the tribe, were as expected, caught in the anti crime ,dragnet.
    As for the latter? Let’s check and see how many, so called bright kids, are on the scholarship rolls dey recently trotted out for our consumption,not because of merit , as often touted , but…, well… fill in the blanks folks. Let’s just say , dat corruption can manifest itself in diverse forms. Where is transparency international when we need dem? Ah well, dey fired local champion-after riding her back to power- for what again?
    Oh , but I digress from the stellar subject of , Afrocentricism, or more appropriately,’nigritude,’ it is?
    Such distractions ,by dem grateful, 4th estate ,corporate elites, only prepared to take pot shot at historically maligned , people of Afrikan decent , I say, yes?

  • I am concerned about A growing Trend around the world.. Non-Africans writing critical responses to African Literature and scholarship.. Why are we responding to this rubbish ?!
    Africans and African decendants must quietly go about our business of building an Africana centered world for our Children and not be side tracked by the detractors amongst us. AFRICANS OWN THE WEALTHIEST REAL ESTATES ON THIS PLANET AND IT IS OUR DUTY TO ENSURE IT REMAINS IN AFRICAN HANDS AND THAT THE SALE OF THOSE RESOURCES BENEFIT AFRICAN CHILDREN. SO FAR ALL OVER THE BLACK WORLD FROM ANGOLA TO ZIMBABWE TO TRINIDAD WE HAVE A NOT TOO GOOD RECORD AS WE ALLOW FOREIGNERS, INDIANS , CHINESE, WESTERN THIEVES TO BRIBE , CHEAT AND STEAL OUR RESOURCES FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT. This is our sole Duty in the coming decades “To Safeguard our precious resources for African deveolpment ” not to raise cries each time some idiot attempt to side track our steady progress in self identification and historical corrections. Who questions the many myths of Indian religion and history? Who challenges the Constant drumming of Western war mongers and their false heros ? who dare question the false truths of Greek philosophy… We are sidetracked into believing that Egypt is not of Africa..
    Did any Trindadian attend the African History curriculun rewite conference held recently in Abuja ??
    These are the things we should be worrying about.

    THERE I SAID MY PIECE !!!.

    • How is anyone stealing anything from you? People are outworking and out competing you for these precious resources. Yuh giving it away by not being socially responsible to one another. People walking around TNT like they are in Brooklyn and imitating a way of life that doesn’t exist for anyone who is trying to build a future. The people yo claim that are stealing are the ones working hard with clear goals to carve out a niche in society for themselves and thier children while the cry babies lyme thier lives away. Stop allowing irresponsible thugs bent on self destruction from redefining what it means to be an Afro Trinidadian. Stop allowing the weakest members of society from controlling your social identity.
      Crying over things not being fair helps noone. We know what it is and what it isn’t. It’s time for meaningful action, not speculative voodoo and complaints. You have to grow the children into being the responsible adults that you want them to be.
      There are more ways than one to be Afrocentric. Knowing the past is important, but doing something about it is more important in regards to securing the future.
      Crying is doing nothing.

  • Rowley,intellectual lightweight that he is,had to crawl on his hands and knees and prostrate himself before the court begging forgiveness like a little boy before his master.Why would a leader allow himself to be so humilated? This action epitomises the cerebral malaise that has overtaken the once GREAT party.Instead of the sang-froid all we get is impotent gesticulations.The good Doctor would be turning in his grave had he not the foresight to be cremated.

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