The Way they see us - 1500 AD - 2006 AD
Blacks are born blacks irrespective of where they are born or whatever nationality they may carry. The heritage of the color of their skin is primordial over all other social or political conditions of their environment. They face prejudices predicated on the color of their skin in any environment where they constitute a minority. Even here on African soil, the minority white population has by instinct arrogated a superior attitude to itself vis-à-vis its black hosts. In the mind of many people including the most liberal of other cultures, being a Black African is synonymous with all possible evils: diseases, wars, corruption, famine, drought, drugs and an infinite ineptitude to redeem himself from his precarious condition. This perception has its origins not only in the ease with which foreigners overran Africa and sentenced it to the periphery of humanity; but is also rooted in supremacist ideology and views of Western scholars, politicians and the clergy.
Georges Curvier, a French biologist, once wrote that “the African manifestly approaches the monkey tribe. The hordes of which this variety is composed have always remained in a complete state of barbarism…”[i] This position was also shared by America’s Thomas Jefferson who wrote “...I advance it therefore as a suspicion only that the blacks whether originally a distinct race or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments of the mind and body…"
John Hanning Speke, British Explorer, in the 1860s said this of Africans: “As his father did, so does he. He works his wife, sells his children, enslaves all he can lay his hands upon, and unless fighting for the lands of others, contents himself with drinking, singing, and dancing like a baboon, to drive dull care away.”
Hegel in his Philosophy of History, also said this of Africans: "their condition is capable of no development of culture, and as we see them at this day, such they have always been.."
Hendrick Verwoerd, the architect of grand apartheid said in 1953 “Natives will be taught from childhood to realize that equality with Europeans is not for them”[ii]. He said further, “there is no place for the black in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour.” Hendrick Verwoerd deserves credit for giving credence to Malcom X’s beliefs, by expressing clearly in public what others have shied away from saying but have always manifested covertly as an accepted fact of life, a societal behavior-regulatory philosophy. Britain’s Lord Milner also had this to say of early South African politics: “A political equality of white and black is impossible, the white man must rule because he is elevated by many, many steps above the black man”[iii].
And Frantz Fanon in his book, “Wretched of the Earth” claimed that WHO’s Dr. Carothers in the nineteen fifties crowned it all by arriving at the conclusion that the black man is equivalent to a lobotomized white man[iv].
Have these views changed over time or have they been closeted in the recesses of politically correct behavior?
The seams of blanket of “human rights” sewn with deluding threads of politically correct statements and behaviour are beginning to fall apart. No one, except the most naïve of Africans, is surprised on this side of the planet.
History is repeating itself, not only in events but also in words. Nicolas Sarkozy, parroting Georges Curvier, claims that Africans are simply different human beings from others. Although he did not say to which category he classes them, but we understand the unsaid. Christoph Blocher in a statement, quite reminiscent of John Hanning Speke and Hegel, claims that Africans are lazy and are a lost case. These two are not saying any thing new.
Africans can only thank them for expressing their views in a bare-knuckled manner. At least we know where we stand with the likes of them. I’d rather live with a thousand Blochers and Sarkozys than with patronizing, deceitful and manipulating politically correct western politicians.
It is time for Africans to show the likes of Nicolas Sarkozy and Christoph Blocher, who have thrown away the shock-absorbing gloves of politically-correct behaviour and those that use it as a curtain to hide behind, but share the same views with these two that, yes, Africa has what it takes to face up to the challenges confronting it.
[i] Georges Curvier: The Animal Kingdom, (1827-35),
[ii] Martin Meredith: Nelson Mandela, A Biography. Penguin Books
[iii] Martin Meredith: Nelson Mandela, A Biography. Penguin Books
[iv] Frantz Fanon. Wretched of the Earth. Penguin Books 2001.