Black Nationalism - Criticism

Criticism

Critics charge that African nationalism is simply black supremacism in disguise, and some argue that the implication of inherent cultures or unity based on race (a central idea of African nationalism) is itself racist.

Norm R. Allen, Jr., former executive director of Council for Secular Humanism, calls African nationalism a "strange mixture of profound thought and patent nonsense".

On the one hand, Reactionary African Nationalists (RBNs) advocate self-love, self-respect, self-acceptance, self-help, pride, unity, and so forth - much like the right-wingers who promote "traditional family values." But - also like the holier-than-thou right-wingers - RBNs promote bigotry, intolerance, hatred, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, pseudo-science, irrationality, dogmatic historical revisionism, violence, and so forth.

Allen further criticizes black nationalists' strong "attraction for hardened prisoners and ex-cons", their encouragement of African American-on-African American violence when African American individuals or groups are branded as "Toms", traitors, or "sellouts", the blatantly sexist stance and the similarities to white supremacist ideologies:

Many RBNs routinely preach hate. Just as white supremacists have referred to African Americans as "devils," so have many RBNs referred to whites. White supremacists have verbally attacked gays, as have RBNs. White supremacists embrace paranoid conspiracy theories, as do their African counterparts. Many white supremacists and RBNs consistently deny that they are preaching hate and blame the mainstream media for misrepresenting them. (A striking exception is the NOI's Khallid Muhammad, who, according to Gates, admitted in a taped speech titled "No Love for the Other Side," "Never will I say I am not anti-Semitic. I pray that God will kill my enemy and take him off the face of the planet.") Rather, they claim they are teaching "truth" and advocating the love of their own people, as though love of self and hatred of others are mutually exclusive positions. On the contrary, RBNs preach love of self and hatred of their enemies. (Indeed, it often seems that these groups are motivated more by hatred of their enemies than love of their people.)

Nigerian-born professor of History and Director of the African American Studies program at the University of Montana, Tunde Adeleke, argues in his book "UnAfrican Americans: Nineteenth-Century African Nationalists and the Civilizing Mission" that 19th-century African American nationalism embodied the racist and paternalistic values of Euro-American culture and that African nationalist plans were not designed for the immediate benefit of Africans but to enhance their own fortunes. Adeleke further criticizes the imperial motives and the concept of a "civilizing mission" operating within the African nationalist thought which aided in "shaping and legitimizing European imperialism of Africa".

Read more about this topic:  Black Nationalism

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