According to Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, Western education’s fatal flaw is that it fails to take Africa’s historical contributions into account.
Asante addressed current race and education issues in his lecture, “Afrocentricity and the Future of Knowledge in the American Academy: How Africa Changes Everything,” in McClung Museum on Tuesday, Nov, 1.
As a leader in the Afrocentricity movement, Asante reasons that Africans should assert themselves as active participants in history rather than the tools of Europeans.
“Historical fact has been falsified,” Asante said, pinpointing the enslavement of Africans and the colonization of Africa as the source of the problem.
The late 19th century saw Imperial European powers scrambling to dominate African territories, which Asante said gradually phased out Africa’s perceived global importance. He reasoned that there has always been a lingering question about what Africans have contributed to society.
“What we could learn if we opened our eyes,” said Asante. “The most diverse continent on the face of the earth is Africa, both linguistically and ethnically. All human beings on the face of the earth can be traced back to Africa.”
Asante laid out the historic information coming out of the Nile Valley, calling it the “river of human civilization.” He said that Western education largely overlooks the dynamic between Greece and Africa.
According to Asante, American academia fails to teach students that many prolific Greek figures were educated in Africa. Asante encourages teaching the beginning of the “basic foundation of human knowledge,” found in Africa such as geometry, chemistry, astronomy and architecture.
“We know from science that we are all genetically came from Africa. There is no poly-genesis,” Asante said, rebuking an antiquated scientific theory that supported the evolution of humans in multiple locations.
“The solution lies with education,” Asante said. “I’m with the future.”
Brooklyn Powers, an anthropology major at UT, praised Asante’s lecture, agreeing that scientific racism is false.
“Being an anthropology student I’ve learned that our social construction of people’s “race” is made up. It’s just different melanin in people’s bodies. We all really did originate from the same place. Evolutionary processes over the years just made your skin that color.”
Statistics major, Steven Kim, also found the lecture interesting, but criticized Asante for not citing some factual numbers.
“It was interesting because he covered a lot of materials we covered in our Africana Studies class. I agree with a lot of the stuff he was saying but at the same time, but I wish he brought some more stuff he could’ve shown us along with his points,” Kim said.
Asante has published over 70 books and penned over 400 articles on the subject of Afrocentricity. In 1986 he proposed the first doctoral program in African-American studies to the administration at Temple University, which later became a leading school in the field.
“I think education is changing in many ways. Look how the Afrocentric movement has had a profound impact on social studies and social science,” Asante said. “Knowledge is produced by people all over the world. All human beings contribute knowledge.”
For more information on Asante, visit his website.
Featured image by Ryan McGill
Edited by Kaitlin Flippo