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This is an excerpt from Dr. Ani's series and book Yurugu. I found it interesting and informative.

Hypocrisy as a Way of Life

Within the nature of European culture there exists a statement of value or of "moral" behavior that has no meaning for the members of that culture. I call this the "rhetorical ethic;" it is of great importance for the understanding of the dynamics of the culture. The concepts of traditional European anthropology are inadequate to explain the phenomenon to which I am referring here, as it has no counterpart in the types of cultures to which anthropologists have generally directed their attention in the past. But with the concept of asili, which facilitates an ideological approach to the study of culture, the rhetorical ethic becomes visible; even compelling. It fits the logic of the European asili, assisting the culture in the achievement and maintenance of power. Without this interpretation certain manifestations within the verbal iconography of the culture appear to be inconsistent with its underlying ideological thrust. And that simply would not make sense. Let us see how the mechanism of the rhetorical ethic works.
The related distinction used traditionally in anthropology is stated in terms of "ideal culture" and "actual behavior" and is said to be characteristic of all cultures, thereby helping to confuse the issue of the uniqueness and problematical nature of European culture. The conventional distinction is illustrated in the following manner by the authors of a recently published anthropology textbook.

For example, an idealized belief, long cherished in America, is that all doctors are selfless, friendly people who chose medicine as their profession because they felt themselves "called" to serve humanity, and who have little interest in either the money or the prestige of their position. Of course, many physicians do not measure up to this ideal. Nevertheless, the continued success of television programs that portray the average American M.D. as a paragon of virtue indicates how deeply rooted in our collective psyche the ideal of the noble physician is.

This is a common misconception that has led to a mistaken view and superficial understanding of the nature of European (Euro- American) society. To refer to the images offered above as "ideal" is a misuse or at least a misleading use of the term "ideal." The projection and success of the image of the committed, altruistic doctor do not indicate that it is a "deeply rooted" ideal in the American psyche.

It is rather an indication of the fact that this is how Americans want to appear to others, most often to non-European peoples-their "objects.'' In this case it is the way that the doctor wants to appear to his patients, or ''objects,'' because this appearance works to his advantage. On the other hand, an image that projects him as a potential exploiter can lead to the possibility of malpractice suits and to the institutionalization of socialized medicine-neither of which is lucrative for him.

An ''ideal'' should be understood to be some thing that functions normatively and something that is emulated; that which has meaning for those who share it. It is the European experience that encourages the confounding of meaning and commitment with mere verbal expression. (It was within the incipient European experience that "rhetoric" came to be regarded as art.) In African culture words have power. The European mind is a political one and for this reason constantly aware of the political effect of words and images as they are used for the purposes of manipulation. By "political" I mean to indicate an ego that consistently experiences people as others; as representatives of interests defined differently and, therefore, as conflicting with this "ego." The individual is concerned, therefore, with the way in which his verbal expression and the image he projects can influence the behavior of those to whom he relates, be they patients (would-be consumers), neocolonial subjects, an opposing candidate for office, or an African selfdeterminist/nationalist. This is what is "deeply rooted" in the American mind-the psychology of "public relations," "salesmanship," and political strategy. It is in the Euro-American vernacular that the word "image" is used so frequently. To be concerned with one's image as opposed to one's self is a European characteristic.

To be aware of the strategical advantage of appearing to be altruistic when one is operating out of self-interest does not mean that altruism is a meaningful "ideal" in terms of one's value-system. It is, instead, an outgrowth of the propaganda that the Europeans have fed "non-European" peoples since they first sought to conquer them. Because they exported ("sold") this altruistic image so successfully, they have had to project themselves as adhering to this "ideal"; similarly, the projection of themselves or their motives in this way has been essential to the successful imposition of this "ethic" on others.

The basic principle to be kept in mind in order to understand this dynamic of European culture is that the major contributing factor to the success of European nationalism has been its projection as disinterested internationalism,

The use of "ideal" in the passage quoted above is simply an inadequate concept for the ethnological analysis of European culture. Hoebel, in an earlier textbook, offers his version, which is similarly inadequate: "Ideal Culture consists of a people's verbally expressed standards and behavior." The examples that these anthropologists offer from other cultures to explicate the distinction between "ideal" and "actual" in no way represent the phenomenon in Western culture under consideration.

Hoebel describes "normative postulates or values" as "deep- lying assumptions about whether things or acts are good and to be sought after, or bad and to be rejected." This is precisely what the "rhetorical ethic" is not. Hoebel's definition can be used to get at the converse of the phenomenon I wish to describe. A "rhetorical ethic" is not a "deep-lying assumption." It is a superficial verbal expression that is not intended for assimilation by the members of the culture that produced it. The "rhetorical ethic," a European phenomenon, has been neglected in conventional ethnological theory, which has consistently offered concepts devoid of political significance.

Anthropologists talk about the gap in all cultures between thought and deed, between ideas and actions. The gap to which I am referring, however, is between verbal expression and belief or commitment; between what people say and what they do. Nowhere other than in European culture do words mean so little as indices of belief. It is this characteristic that is of concern here and this characteristic for which the concepts of traditional anthropology are inadequate to explain.

As a cultural trait it has, however, been described by others, particularly those who have been made victims of European cunning. Below an indigenous American describes European behavior:

They would make slaves of us if they could; but as they cannot, they kill us. There is no faith to be placed in their words.

They will say to an Indian, "My friend; my brother!" They will take him by the hand and, at the same moment destroy him.... Remember that this day I warned you to beware of such friends as these. I know the Long-Knives. They are not to be trusted.

It is an inherent characteristic of the culture that it prepares members of the culture to be able to act like friends toward those they regard as enemies; to be able to convince others that they have come to help when they, in fact, have come to destroy the others and their culture. That some may "believe" that they are actually doing good only makes them more dangerous, for they have swallowed their own rhetoric-perhaps a convenient self-delusion. Hypocritical behavior is sanctioned and rewarded in European culture. The rhetorical ethic helps to sanction it. European culture cannot be understood in terms of the dynamics of other cultures alone. It is a culture that breeds hypocrisy-in which hypocrisy is a supportive theme a standard of behavior. Its hypocritical nature is linked to the Platonic abstraction, to objectification, to the compartmentalization of the person and the denial of the emotional self. Below Havelock characteristically understands the case:

Another thing noticeable about them [pre-Platonic" Greeks] in this period is their capacity for direct action and sincere action and for direct and sincere expression of motive and desire. They almost entirely lack those slight hypocrisies without which our civilization does not seem to work.

The distinction and definitions that can lead to a better under- standing of the Europeans and their culture can only come from a perspective that is not one of European chauvinism; for it is the method of European chauvinism or cultural nationalism to conceal European interest. As I use it, "value" is only meaningful value; it is that which motivates behavior and is the origin of human commitment. Value determines what is imitated and preserved, what is selected for and encouraged. "Avowed values" on the other hand, which are merely professed, which find expression only verbally, which are not indicative of behavior, belong to what I have called the "rhetorical ethic."

The European rhetorical ethic is precisely that-purely rhetorical- and, as such, has its own origins as a creation for export; i.e., for the political, intercultural activity of the European. It is designed to create an image that will prevent others from successfully anticipating European behavior, and its objective is to encourage nonstrategic (i.e., naive, rather than successful) political behavior on the part of others. This is the same as "nonpolitical" behavior.) It is designed to sell, to dupe, to promote European nationalistic objectives. It "packages" European cultural imperialism in a wrapping that makes it appear more attractive, less harmful. None of these features represents what can culturally be referred to as an "ideal" in any sense. The rhetorical ethic is, therefore, not dysfunctional in European culture.

It does not generate nor reflect conflict in European ideology or belief-system; but it is, rather, necessary to the maintenance and projection of the utamaroho and performs a vital function in sustaining European cultural nationalism in the pursuit of its international objectives.

The rhetorical ethic is made possible by the fact that hypocrisy as a mode of behavior is a valued theme in European life; the same hypocritical behavior that its presence sanctions. Again, "value" refers to that which is encouraged and approved in a culture. European culture is constructed in such a way that successful survival within it discourages honesty and directness and encourages dishonesty and deceit-the ability to appear to be something other than what one is; to hide one's "self," one's motives and intent.

People who are duped by others and relate to a projected image are considered fools or "country bumpkins." Hypocrisy in this way becomes not a negative personality trait, not immoral or abnormal behavior, but it is both expected and cultivated. It is considered to be a crucial ingredient of "sophistication," a European goal. European intracultural, political behavior is based on hypocrisy-as are business relations, the advertising media, and most other areas of public, and social interaction. It is merely a manifestation of this theme when Americans claim that politicians are basically honest. The claim itself is hypocritical, and the public expects it to be so. We all know that the objective of commercial advertising is to convince us to buy products so that manufacturers can make large profits, but the slogans attempt to persuade us that the product is beneficial to our well being, as though the producer has our welfare at heart.

This hypocrisy touches the lives of every member of the culture in their dealings with one another, and yet it originates in part in the nature of their intercultural relationships. It is a part of the mechanism of European expansionism, All of these factors must go into the understanding of the rhetorical ethic and not an overly simplistic distinction between "ideal" and "actual" culture; perhaps a relevant distinction with regard to other cultures that create and are created by very different "cultural personalities." Let us look more closely at this "ethic" and see how it has functioned historically.
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Wow, as I read this and got closer to the end one thing kept coming to mind. "The White man is the Devil." This is essentially the argument being made without it being said. When one think of devil you think of deceit, dishonesty and all the means by which one can dupe people by appearing to be something you are not. The author illustrates so well how European deceit goes far beyond simple hypocrisy when he writes:

quote:
"The European rhetorical ethic is precisely that-purely rhetorical- and, as such, has its own origins as a creation for export; i.e., for the political, intercultural activity of the European. It is designed to create an image that will prevent others from successfully anticipating European behavior, and its objective is to encourage nonstrategic (i.e., naive, rather than successful) political behavior on the part of others. This is the same as "nonpolitical" behavior.) It is designed to sell, to dupe, to promote European nationalistic objectives. It "packages" European cultural imperialism in a wrapping that makes it appear more attractive, less harmful. None of these features represents what can culturally be referred to as an "ideal" in any sense. The rhetorical ethic is, therefore, not dysfunctional in European culture.

It does not generate nor reflect conflict in European ideology or belief-system; but it is, rather, necessary to the maintenance and projection of the utamaroho and performs a vital function in sustaining European cultural nationalism in the pursuit of its international objectives."


I do not think yall understand what sister is saying... Sister is saying in the Eurocentric world all the hell the European has raised and caused on the earth is not a sign of their dysfunction in their eyes. In fact it does not even cause them to pause for a second to reflect on what it is they have done all over the world via colonialism, imperialism, slavery if only to take note of how it conflicts with what would be considered a noble people.

Then sister slays the beast when she writes this:

quote:
"The rhetorical ethic is made possible by the fact that hypocrisy as a mode of behavior is a valued theme in European life; the same hypocritical behavior that its presence sanctions. Again, "value" refers to that which is encouraged and approved in a culture. European culture is constructed in such a way that successful survival within it discourages honesty and directness and encourages dishonesty and deceit-the ability to appear to be something other than what one is; to hide one's "self," one's motives and intent"


Hence, deceit and dishonesty is a value in European culture because it is something approved by them and encouraged...

Damn... I think back to my post from a few weeks ago when I said to brother MBM my new strategy was acceptance, meaning that I have accepted that some of us will never understand white supremacy for what it is and what it does for white folk. When I think heavily on it, white supremacy is not only a powerful system, it is a system so complex that the victims of it barely understand it or what it is doing to them and this authors points out why they do not understand!

I may have to look into buying this book as well...
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Originally posted by Faheem:
Damn... I think back to my post from a few weeks ago when I said to brother MBM my new strategy was acceptance, meaning that I have accepted that some of us will never understand white supremacy for what it is and what it does for white folk. When I think heavily on it, white supremacy is not only a powerful system, it is a system so complex that the victims of it barely understand it or what it is doing to them and this authors points out why they do not understand!


Some people have interpreted statements like this as not giving enough credit to our people's intelligence. What do you think about that perspective?

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I may have to look into buying this book as well...


I highly suggest it...
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Originally posted by Oshun Auset:

Some people have interpreted statements like this as not giving enough credit to our people's intelligence. What do you think about that perspective?



I can see how one could interpret such a statement as not giving credit to the intelligence of our people, but you have tried as I have tried on hundreds if not thousands of occasions to explain white supremacy. Some of our most brilliant minds have written extensively about it and yet there is a great many of us who do not understand it, cannot understand it or refuse to believe it is a fact. Furthermore, the African is not the only victim of white supremacy, thus making what I said speak to the intelligence of all people affected by white supremacy.

That said, I understand white supremacy, you understand it, a number of the men and women on this forum understand it, thus to extrapolate what I said and apply it to Africans at large would be a mistake. It would be easy to prove someone who interpreted my words as you suggested wrong, the question is could they prove me wrong when I say there are some amongst us who barely understand what white supremacy does to them and our people as a whole?
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Originally posted by Faheem:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:

Some people have interpreted statements like this as not giving enough credit to our people's intelligence. What do you think about that perspective?



I can see how one could interpret such a statement as not giving credit to the intelligence of our people, but you have tried as I have tried on hundreds if not thousands of occasions to explain white supremacy. Some of our most brilliant minds have written extensively about it and yet there is a great many of us who do not understand it, cannot understand it or refuse to believe it is a fact. Furthermore, the African is not the only victim of white supremacy, thus making what I said speak to the intelligence of all people affected by white supremacy.

That said, I understand white supremacy, you understand it, a number of the men and women on this forum understand it, thus to extrapolate what I said and apply it to Africans at large would be a mistake. It would be easy to prove someone who interpreted my words as you suggested wrong, the question is could they prove me wrong when I say there are some amongst us who barely understand what white supremacy does to them and our people as a whole?


appl Thanks Faheem. I think some of us also pretend not to understand it at times. I'm trying to figure that one out, but it usually seems to be something petty like Ego.
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@Yemaya I didn't read all of your article [going in and out the office]. But from what I read. I agree in regards to the egocentric European doctors. And American doctors too. How selfless they are and how the only thing that matters is their patients...which we all know is bs I am gonna try to find the time to check this book out. Although I have many on the subject...it is still refreshing to see that this issue will not die...cuz it's important. Brain-dead doctors have KILLED a lot of unsuspecting people, including recently Kanya West's mom. We are too trusting of another human being who says I know it all when it comes to your health. Not! It's all about the money. The oath some of them took is a fallacy. There may be some good doctors out there but there are too many bad ones to sort out the good ones. And health care is a trillion dollar industry and who's gonna mess with that? I have horror stories to tell but I won't cuz I don't really have the time to get into it. Although I do understand and know there are dangerous and fatal diseases out there and that we are blessed to have the capacity to treat, cure and prevent some of them but I just do not TRUST certain doctors. I look at some 3rd world countries and how they are suffering and all without proper medical care but if these people were to listen some of what doctors [European and American] say they need to survive, they would have been DEAD a long time ago based on their living conditions. Anyway...Kudos to you Sista Yemayatfro This is a great topic and an eye opener as well. BTW: This image reminds me of Dr. Kildare, Dr. Wilby....Dr. Ben Casey...t.v.'s superdoctors....in the real world you sit in the waiting room all day and see the doctor for 3 minutes. And in that time, he can tell you your medical history and what is currently wrong with you all in a 20 second conversation. Go figure. I did. I discovered some doctors need help. They are NOT god. Even though some of them believe they are. fro
quote:
It is an inherent characteristic of the culture that it prepares members of the culture to be able to act like friends toward those they regard as enemies; to be able to convince others that they have come to help when they, in fact, have come to destroy the others and their culture. That some may "believe" that they are actually doing good only makes them more dangerous, for they have swallowed their own rhetoric-perhaps a convenient self-delusion. Hypocritical behavior is sanctioned and rewarded in European culture. The rhetorical ethic helps to sanction it. European culture cannot be understood in terms of the dynamics of other cultures alone. It is a culture that breeds hypocrisy-in which hypocrisy is a supportive theme a standard of behavior. Its hypocritical nature is linked to the Platonic abstraction, to objectification, to the compartmentalization of the person and the denial of the emotional self. Below Havelock characteristically understands the case:




preach! appl

Thanks Yemaya!
quote:
The rhetorical ethic is made possible by the fact that hypocrisy as a mode of behavior is a valued theme in European life; the same hypocritical behavior that its presence sanctions. Again, "value" refers to that which is encouraged and approved in a culture. European culture is constructed in such a way that successful survival within it discourages honesty and directness and encourages dishonesty and deceit-the ability to appear to be something other than what one is; to hide one's "self," one's motives and intent.

this is very true
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Originally posted by listener:
quote:
The rhetorical ethic is made possible by the fact that hypocrisy as a mode of behavior is a valued theme in European life; the same hypocritical behavior that its presence sanctions. Again, "value" refers to that which is encouraged and approved in a culture. European culture is constructed in such a way that successful survival within it discourages honesty and directness and encourages dishonesty and deceit-the ability to appear to be something other than what one is; to hide one's "self," one's motives and intent.

this is very true



19
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Originally posted by listener:
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19

HonestBrother, and the question is, how to change a culture


Actually, that's the internal question for those Europeans who want to change their culture. The question for those seeking liberation is "How do we attain the power dynamic that stops the cultural(and other) imperialism by the minority of the earths population?"
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Originally posted by listener:
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19

HonestBrother, and the question is, how to change a culture



I don't know.

I've only been following the discussion.

I've been wrestling with the ideas of Marimba Ani for awhile - ever since I first saw her mentioned on this site (thanks to Rowe and Oshun).

While a great deal of what she says rings true to my experience, there are other aspects of her work that still trouble me. I found it interesting that a European would agree with her overall thesis.

I'm still thinking ... and following the discussion from afar.

But I think Oshun said it best. It is not for us to change the culture ... but to understand it in a way that benefits us.
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Originally posted by HonestBrother:
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Originally posted by listener:
quote:
19

HonestBrother, and the question is, how to change a culture



I don't know.

I've only been following the discussion.

I've been wrestling with the ideas of Marimba Ani for awhile - ever since I first saw her mentioned on this site (thanks to Rowe and Oshun).

While a great deal of what she says rings true to my experience, there are other aspects of her work that still trouble me. I found it interesting that a European would agree with her overall thesis.

I'm still thinking ... and following the discussion from afar.

But I think Oshun said it best. It is not for us to change the culture ... but to understand it in a way that benefits us.


Okay, HonestBrother I understand your dilema with this. So my question now becomes how can we benefit from the European culture without getting caught up in the Europeans culture?? What if we find that their culture doesn't benefit our needs personally or as a group? Then what?? Great insight.
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Originally posted by Yemaya:
Okay, HonestBrother I understand your dilema with this. So my question now becomes how can we benefit from the European culture without getting caught up in the Europeans culture?? What if we find that their culture doesn't benefit our needs personally or as a group? Then what?? Great insight.



I'm still trying to figure that one out for myself. lol

I'll get back to you on this one.
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
I plan to purchase the book, but, i'm curious. What are the troubling aspects of the author's work?


I'll take a first stab at this.

My thoughts are tentative and subject to revision.


quote:
The rhetorical ethic is made possible by the fact that hypocrisy as a mode of behavior is a valued theme in European life; the same hypocritical behavior that its presence sanctions. Again, "value" refers to that which is encouraged and approved in a culture. European culture is constructed in such a way that successful survival within it discourages honesty and directness and encourages dishonesty and deceit-the ability to appear to be something other than what one is; to hide one's "self," one's motives and intent.



First let me say, that I've personally experienced much hypocrisy of the type talked about here. There is much in this description that resonates with me (which I may discuss in later posts).

Secondly, this hypocrisy does seem to be enabled by (or at least couched within) a rhetorical ethic that one can more or less characterize as "Platonic" inasmuch as it relies upon disinterested "ideals".

My difficulty is whether or not she has really hit the nail on the head in regards to

1) Whether or not this uniquely characterizes European "culture" as a whole? The term "European culture" is very broad - maybe non-existent.

2) Moreover, it more likely describes the culture of the wealthy/powerful/"educated" than it does poorer Europeans.

3) Can one really say that something similar can't be said of other cultures? Particularly those that have a history of imperialism?

4) Is it necessarily "hyporitical" to have an ideal and fail to live up to it (for whatever reasons) or fail to square that with other ideals or to sacrifice the actual needs of other people in the service of that ideal?

There is some truth here. But it feels like over-reaching.

Admittedly I haven't read the whole book.

I don't know.
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quote:
The term "European culture" is very broad - maybe non-existent.


I think, different European countries and America may live to a certain degree differently, but the basis is quite similar. The belief of being a superior culture for example, represented by the white race. There are certain attitudes whites/Europeans live regardless if it is in Europe, Australia, South Africa, America etc.
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Originally posted by listener:
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The term "European culture" is very broad - maybe non-existent.


I think, different European countries and America may live to a certain degree differently, but the basis is quite similar. The belief of being a superior culture for example, represented by the white race. There are certain attitudes whites/Europeans live regardless if it is in Europe, Australia, South Africa, America etc.


What about the calss aspect? Does that effect 'degrees' of this attitude? If it does, in which way(s)? I have my own hypotheses, I just wanted yours, particularly about Europe, where the class is more obvious.
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Originally posted by listener:
quote:
Does that effect 'degrees' of this attitude?

You mean the attitude that the European culture is superior? No, I don't think that class effects degrees of this attitudes, but on average it effects how this attitude is displayed.


I see we agree. It's all in the manifestation(display), which can easily be mistaken for the actual degree of agreement, or lack thereof, with the cultural ideology(attitude). Interesting... Thanks for responding.
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Originally posted by Queen Samiya:
I am purchasing that book right now.


It's out of print. I tried to purchase it for a friend years ago, and the publisher, Africa World Press, said that Yurugu is no longer being printed. Perhaps it's being reprinted now - it's worth checking. I read Yurugu back in 1995 (the book was first published in 1994) and purchased copies for friends. I credit Ani for being the first to raise my consciousness. In Yurugu: An African-Centered Critque of European Cultural Thought and Behavior, Ani thoroughly dissects European culture as if she were a highly skilled neurosurgen dissecting the layers and intricacies of someone's brain. And so, Yurugu is not a book that you'll be able to read in one setting. Each chapter cannot be read, it must be studied, and take plenty of notes. You will also need a dictionary, because the vocabularly, as well as the reading level, is well beyond the college level. After all, Yurugu is Ani's dissertation for her doctorate degree in Africana Studies. In any event, I think any person who is interested in better understanding European culture in terms of their history and patterns of thinking and behavior should read Yurugu. I can assure you that all your questions will be answered.
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quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
I've been wrestling with the ideas of Marimba Ani for awhile - ever since I first saw her mentioned on this site (thanks to Rowe and Oshun).

While a great deal of what she says rings true to my experience, there are other aspects of her work that still trouble me. I found it interesting that a European would agree with her overall thesis.

I'm still thinking ... and following the discussion from afar.

But I think Oshun said it best. It is not for us to change the culture ... but to understand it in a way that benefits us.


I made attempts to contact Ani some time after reading the book at Hunter College's African and Puertorican Stuides Department in New York City, where she was a professor for many years under the tutledge of Dr. John Henrik Clarke (her mentor). I eventually discovered that she had retired. But during my research online for Master's degree programs, interestingly enough, I came across a predominately White university that offered a course studying the theories presented in Ani's book, and Yurugu was the required textbook! Can you believe that? Eek I find it surprising, but not so surprising, that a segment of the White population, seems to be interested in exposing and addressing the problems that are evidently unique to their culture.
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quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
1) Whether or not this uniquely characterizes European "culture" as a whole? The term "European culture" is very broad - maybe non-existent.


And this is a typical argument presented by Whites who have read the book. Their strongest argument is "not all Whites are bad. And you can't put all White people into one cateogory. Some White people aren't racist." I'll never forget a funny story that Ani tells readers in the introduction of the book (I think it's in the introduction; As I said earlier, it's been awhile since I read the book). Anyway, in the book, she tells readers about a confrontation that she had with a White student in her African stuides class. After discussing a passage in Yurugu, the combative White student (a White male) raised his hand and challenged Ani's defintion and critique of "European culture." He asked Ani, "and exactly to which culture in Europe are you referring when you describe Europeans as..." In response to the student's question, Ani went into detail about how "European culture" is defined in her dissertation.

I find it is interesting, however, that whenever White anthropologists, ethnologists, and other social and cultural observers decide they want to study non-Whites, they have no problem generalizing and labeling them and their behaviors, but when the tables are turned, and they become the object of someone's study, they'd rather be viewed as "individuals." Roll Eyes

The truth is, every "race" (cultural community) has a distinctive cultural personality, or an asili (the term asili, created by Ani, is used to describe the seed or the essence of a culture). Paraphrasing, Ani states in Yurugu that each cultural group has an asili or common characteristics that distinguishes it from other cultures, just as each person has his or her own personality. These characteristics are manifested in a number of ways (e.g., through intercultural and intracultural behavior). One only needs to carefully pay attention to observe patterns of behavior that are repititive and unique to the culture being studied.

quote:
2) Moreover, it more likely describes the culture of the wealthy/powerful/"educated" than it does poorer Europeans


Even poor Europeans are born with something that poor non-Blacks can never obtain: White skin and the capital of Whitness. White skin, regardless of one's income, automatically earns you a membership into America's majority and ruling class.

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3) Can one really say that something similar can't be said of other cultures? Particularly those that have a history of imperialism?


Though imperialism might be evident in other cultures, in some Asian cultures, for example, no culture has succeeded at expanding, imposing, pimping, commercializing, and selling their culture on a WORLDWIDE scale as well as Whites. Internationally, White culture (and whatever Europeans produce) takes precedence over all over cultures (e.g., the most sought after goods, cars, clothing, etc. are made in Europe). Their global influence is what is responsible for creating and sustaining their monumental wealth to date.

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4) Is it necessarily "hyporitical" to have an ideal and fail to live up to it (for whatever reasons) or fail to square that with other ideals or to sacrifice the actual needs of other people in the service of that ideal?


The hyprocrisy that Ani refers to in Yurugu describes America's insistence on claming to be the "moral leaders of the world" and a country/society whose moral foundation is built on values like "freedom and justice for all" and "brotherly love." From an African American or non-White perspective, we know that, that is a load of crap. We know that America, and its majority, have a long way to go before they make such outrageously dishonest claims.

What is remarkable is that Europeans have managed to convince the majority of the world's population (a non-White population) that such claims are true. We have bought the lie and this lie is what keeps Whites on top and us on the bottom. No matter how progressive we think we are, many of us are still convinced, perhaps subconsciously, that Whites are "pure", "trustworthy," and inherently good people compared to non-Whites who are inherently "amoral", "scheming", and "violent". The almost religious belief in the purity of Whiteness is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of non-Whites. Ani discusses the concept of Whiteness as it relates to hypocrisy in her book.
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quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
I find it is interesting, however, that whenever White anthropologists, ethnologists, and other social and cultural observers decide they want to study non-Whites, they have no problem generalizing and labeling them and their behaviors, but when the tables are turned, and they become the object of someone's study, they'd rather be viewed as "individuals." Roll Eyes


Now that's true ... lol
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Originally posted by Rowe:
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
Dang! 19

sista Rowe broke it down like Leggos! lol

go head sista Rowe! tfro


Hey Sister Spiritual, have you read the book? What do you think about it? I love this book. Smile



I haven't read the book. I plan to purchase it now that I've read this thread. I just liked how you broke it down!
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Originally posted by HonestBrother:
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Originally posted by Rowe:
I find it is interesting, however, that whenever White anthropologists, ethnologists, and other social and cultural observers decide they want to study non-Whites, they have no problem generalizing and labeling them and their behaviors, but when the tables are turned, and they become the object of someone's study, they'd rather be viewed as "individuals." Roll Eyes


Now that's true ... lol


I was reading Dr. Akbar or Dr.Cress-Welsing, I believe and it determined that part of European culture is individualism. This is ingrained into their culture as a value. I'm going to see if I can find the reference to this on Africa Within and post it here.
Yes Sister Rowe, you broke it down to the very last compound! Big Grin I didn't know that it wasn't in print any longer. Frown But I do know that the CD is being sold on the webpage that I referenced this excerpt from. I'm going to have to purchase it as well. I just thought that this excerpt was very enlightening.
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I believe and it determined that part of European culture is individualism. This is ingrained into their culture as a value.

And it's one that's celebrated and marked as an important part of their history of thought: their "ENLIGHTENMENT"


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RE: THE ENLIGHTENMENT

The Political and Economic Background

During the late Middle Ages, peasants had begun to move from rural estates to the towns in search of increased freedom and prosperity. As trade and communication improved during the Renaissance, the ordinary town-dweller began to realize that things need not always go on as they had for centuries. New charters could be written, new governments formed, new laws passed, new businesses begun. Although each changed institution quickly tried to stabilize its power by claiming the support of tradition, the pressure for change continued to mount. It was not only contact with alien cultural patterns which influenced Europeans, it was the wealth brought back from Asia and the Americas which catapulted a new class of merchants into prominence, partially displacing the old aristocracy whose power had been rooted in the ownership of land. These merchants had their own ideas about the sort of world they wanted to inhabit, and they became major agents of change, in the arts, in government, and in the economy.

They were naturally convinced that their earnings were the result of their individual merit and hard work, unlike the inherited wealth of traditional aristocrats. Whereas individualism had been chiefly emphasized in the Renaissance by artists, especially visual artists, it now became a core value. The ability of individual effort to transform the world became a European dogma, lasting to this day.

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/hum_303/enlightenment.html


Will someone come along and say, "Well, European culture is very broad and maybe even non-existent. Can anyone really say that those ideas uniquely characterizes European culture as a whole?"

Not a stab at you, HB, but it's really a rather intellectually lazy responses and one that's complicated by what Europeans themselves would hold out as values and ideas that are uniquely their own... as a whole.

Nevertheless, if someone is going to question Ani then they will have to make an effective counterargument. Merely suggesting that it may not be true is not a counterargument. A counterargument would present actual information, in this case.... (*fuck that*)

WHITE JESUS is proof that there is a European culture that is broad in its scope in terms of encompassing a whole collection of European national/ethnic groups.
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Originally posted by Nmaginate:
Will someone come along and say, "Well, European culture is very broad and maybe even non-existent. Can anyone really say that those ideas uniquely characterizes European culture as a whole?"

Not a stab at you, HB, but it's really a rather intellectually lazy responses and one that's complicated by what Europeans themselves would hold out as values and ideas that are uniquely their own... as a whole.



Actually Nate, I would have definitely offered up Enlightenment thought and institutions which look to their foundation in the Enlightenment as examples where Ani's thought seems closer to being on the mark.

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Nevertheless, if someone is going to question Ani then they will have to make an effective counterargument. Merely suggesting that it may not be true is not a counterargument. A counterargument would present actual information, in this case....


I was not contending that her work wasn't "true" ... I was questioning whether, even though it certainly contains some truths, it was thorough or entirely accurate. Of that, I'm not entirely sure one way or the other.

I'm not an anthropologist.

I was not arguing. I was thinking aloud and trying to engage in dialogue. Smile
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I was questioning whether, even though it certainly contains some truths, it was thorough or entirely accurate.

Okay. I'll admit that I approached the piece with perhaps the same kind of skepticism. I think I would agree that it would be had to say that what was posted makes an effective argument but I think a lot is missing.

When I read what was posted, I found myself wondering where are the citations, the scholarship? Perhaps like you I wanted to be able to separate Ani's thoughts from mere conjecture to actual scholarly analysis. I found myself somewhat satisfied when she did make citations, in particular this quote:

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Another thing noticeable about them [pre-Platonic" Greeks] in this period is their capacity for direct action and sincere action and for direct and sincere expression of motive and desire. They almost entirely lack those slight hypocrisies without which our civilization does not seem to work. -- Eric Havelock

That said, I still think the idea of poo pooing the idea that a European culture exists just isn't intellectually honest. The very fact that you would offer up Enlightment thought as an example of how there is a European culture which has shared elements across various European culture/ethnicities.... Well, it's proof that your thinking out loud wasn't quite honest when you questioned if a European culture even exists.

And I'll still hold up WHITE JESUS as the case in point. We can talk about how the Crusades, the way Jews have been historically treated in various European countries, the Slave Trade and European Colonization of Africa... There is simply too much evidence of common culture, common thinking and perhaps common cause...

How the hell can we even conceive of worldwide WHITE SUPREMACY if we don't think there are commonly held views among Europeans?

Simply put, the idea that it would be hard to say that there is a European culture is a non-starter and something we can start a "dialogue" about when people are quick to say things like just because they don't necessarily like or agree with something someone other black person says.
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Originally posted by Nmaginate:

That said, I still think the idea of poo pooing the idea that a European culture exists just isn't intellectually honest. The very fact that you would offer up Enlightment thought as an example of how there is a European culture which has shared elements across various European culture/ethnicities.... Well, it's proof that your thinking out loud wasn't quite honest when you questioned if a European culture even exists.



Nate, I'm chilling and being open minded.

I'm not going to tolerate you questioning my "honesty". A charge of "dishonesty" goes to intent. You are no judge of my intent.

When one is examining new ideas, one has thoughts and counterthoughts. Eventually one hopes to achieve clarity and more conceptual cohesion.

I'll only ask you not to disturb the flow of the thread.

I've been casually observing and thinking.

THAT is honest. That's what a thinking person does.

And other thinking people (who are considerate) should be able to respect that.

I will not be intimidated into thinking someone else's thoughts.

But I can be convinced.
quote:
Originally posted by Nmaginate:

That said, I still think the idea of poo pooing the idea that a European culture exists just isn't intellectually honest. The very fact that you would offer up Enlightment thought as an example of how there is a European culture which has shared elements across various European culture/ethnicities.... Well, it's proof that your thinking out loud wasn't quite honest when you questioned if a European culture even exists.


And I will add that I would not offer up the Enlightenment as "an example of how there is a European culture which has shared elements across various European cultures/ethnicities."

I would offer it up as an instance in which a European rhetorical practice has been historically fraught with hypocrisy when put into action particularly as it has related to contact with non-European peoples.

I would be hesitant to offer it up as "an example of how there is a European culture which has shared elements across various European cultures/ethnicities" because I've spent too much time personally studying Enlightment and post-Enlightenment thought. I've also spent much time interacting with (non-American) Europeans (which I cite only as reason why I have some doubts).

The academy in particular (especially certain areas within the Humanities) is rife with post- and even anti-Enlightenment points of view.

I'm also aware of the historical reality that Enlightenment thought was not designed primarily for export ... since it involved so many other transformations (political/cultural) and internal conlicts within European societies - and not to the advantage of all Europeans. I seem to recall, for instance, that when this country was established, non-property owning white males were not able to vote. Neither were white women.

However, I have been considering the extent to which Enlightenment thought and historical practice have interacted with and penetrated into European cultural, political, and financial institutions.

One area which seems definitely up for examination is the financial system and its present (and even past) tendency of global expansion.

Neo-conservativism and free market ideology in particular can indeed arguably be described as offering up an dis-interested ideal to the immense advantage of some and (arguably) at the expense of the world's peoples.

Imperialism under another name: the expansion of "freedom" and the reign of "rational" markets.
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