Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Africana Studies Moving toward Dereliction, Savaged by Invisible Jim Crow, Warrior-Scholars in Chaos: What to Do? Embrace the Irrefragable African-Centered Worldview

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Africana Studies Moving toward Dereliction, Savaged by Invisible Jim Crow, Warrior-Scholars in Chaos: What to Do? Embrace the Irrefragable African-Centered Worldview

Article excerpt

My Mixed View on Africana Studies 20-years Later

The editors honor me with the invitation to share views on Africana Studies 20-years after my (Azibo, 1992) "Articulating the Distinction between Black Studies and the Study of Blacks: The Fundamental Role of Culture and the African-Centered Worldview" (hereafter "Articulating") was published in the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) journal The Afrocentric Scholar under ancestor William "Bill" Little's editorship. The present article assumes the reader's familiarity. It is true, good, and personally gratifying that "Articulating," "has been extremely useful for those of us utilizing an African-centered framework that is grounded in the concepts of culture and worldview" (Karanja Carroll, personal communication, September 18, 2011, emphases added).

But, the remainder of the Africana Studies professionals appear to constitute a significantly larger majority within which exists varied paths and frameworks (e.g., Burgess & Agozino, 2011; Fenderson, 2009; Norment, 2007; Western Journal, 2010). This is a problem because the existence of this type of in-profession diversity is not disciplinarity diversity or interdisciplinary functionality, which may be healthy. This diversity is instead an attack on the discipline of Africana Studies because, as I contended then ("Articulating") and still do, the discipline can only be based in African-centered culture-based worldview if it is to be epistemologically sound.

Thence comes my decidedly mixed view on the status of the discipline. I know well the upside that "our shoulders are broad enough, our arms strong enough, our intellect keen enough, and our observance of our duty diligent enough to carry on in the work started by our ancestors" (Azibo, 1996a, 23). A fundamental truth within the clever phraseology is that the original and enduring disciplinarity base for Africana Studies is the irrefragable African-centered worldview. I specifically refer to the worldview that our African ancestors articulated: "what makes Black Studies 'Black' is the usage of the conceptual universe afforded by the African [centered] worldview" (Articulating, 66) and nothing else.

I know the downside also: history informs that the white man is the bitter enemy of the Blacks (Williams, 1976) and that "nothing happens under White supremacy that is not about [supporting] White supremacy" (Frances Welsing lecture, August 1988). And, "the Afrikan Way ... has been most targeted for destruction [by Western civilization]" (Baruti, 2010, 53). Not surprisingly, then, Africana Studies has been targeted for external direction from jump street or get-go or straight out the gate ("Articulating"). That Africana Studies exists in the Western Academy is a disadvantage of epic proportions that practically ensures external control by Eurasians who control this space and who will concede nothing without a demand backed by power. This is the reality that prevails as Africana programs are denied, cut back, and overwhelmingly staffed by the non- and anti-African-centered academics, many of whom appear guilty of the Betrayal of African-U.S. people that Baker (2008) analyzed. As a result, dereliction fueled by invisible Jim Crow has the Africana Studies warrior-scholars in chaos.

Moving Toward Dereliction

Tommy Curry (2011a, 2011b) identifies the "derelictical crisis" gripping Africana Philosophy from its inception as a "continuing to neglect its only actual duty--the duty to inquiry into the reality of African-descended people as they [Africana people themselves] have revealed it" (Curry, 2011b, 144-145, emphases added). Curry (2011b) cogently argues that Africana Philosophy has failed to inquire seriously into the culturally particular epistemologies of African-descended people [pursuing instead].... an epistemological convergence with white philosophical traditions. Curry points out the bottom line effect of this is the distracting of African descent philosophers from understanding the thought of their ancestors. …

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