Tuesday, July 25, 2006
When I was growing up we had this incredible set of encyclopedia; The Encyclopedia Britannica.
This was the original, made in England, set of books that explained the universe of thought in every minute detail. Surely, I can attribute much of my intellectual headstart in life to the presence of this great library of British intellect. There was just one thing that I noticed early on, an extreme Euro-centric, white supremist view of the world that was shocklingly matter of fact.
Written into the informative text histories of the yellow, brown and black world were little racist concepts that were included as fact. I would reread things like: "the Africans as part of their nature are not inclined towards hard work..." in disbelief. If you doubt this fact all you have to do is dust off an old copy of Encyclopedia Britannica, British Edition. Nothing of value was attributed to people of African descent and we were largely missing from the pages of great accomplishments.
When I first became aware of the work of people like JA Rogers, John Henrik Clarke and Arturo Schomburg I was amazed at how marginalized they were within the world of academia.
I thought that eventually the world would gradually change and inellectual fairness would win out. Instead, a new generation of educated racists have taken their place.
Today, more anti-intellectual Afro-American streotypes exist than ever before.
If an African-American male college student is on a major university campus it is assumed that he is a student-athlete. A shocking number of African-American males are not even graduating from high school! I feel compelled to celebrate the lives of some African-American historians who have dedicated their lives to toiling in virtual obscurity to collect our stories.