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 Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism

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PostSubject: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:48 pm

Publication Date: February 1, 1991 | Series: Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985 (Book 1)

Winner of the American Book Award and a Socialist Review Book Award What is classical about Classical Civilization? In one of the most audacious works of scholarship ever written, Martin Bernal challenges the whole basis of our thinking about this question. Classical civilization, he argues, has deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures. (1)

Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization is a highly controversial three-volume work by Martin Bernal. He discusses Ancient Greece in a new light. Bernal's thesis discusses the perception of ancient Greece in relation to Greece's African and Asiatic neighbors, especially Ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians, which he believes had an influence on ancient Greece. Bernal alleges that a change in this Western perception took place from the 18th century onward and that this change fostered a subsequent denial by Western academia of any significant African and (western) Asiatic influences on ancient Greek culture... Black Athena is a three-volume work. Volume 1 concentrates on the crucial period between 1785 and 1850, which saw the Romantic and racist reaction to the Enlightment and the French Revolution, and the consolidation of Northern expansion into other continents. In an unprecedented tour de force, Bernal makes meaningful links between a wide range of areas and disciplines--drama poetry, myth, theological controversy, esoteric religion, philosophy, biography, language, historical narrative, and the emergence of "modern scholarship." Martin Bernal is Professor Emeritus of Government Studies at Cornell University; he was formerly a Fellow at King's College, Cambridge.

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".... A formidable work of intellectual history." -- Christian Science Monitor

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"The stated purpose of his book is "to lessen European cultural arrogance." - Amazon reviewer


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(1) He had nothing to gain by publishing these books, except to expose academia to a truth to which it had purposely closed its eyes. He could have better promoted his career by continuing to propagate white supremacist orthodoxy; (2) The truth is that history has been warped by white supremacy for at least the past 400 years or so. It is like the Great Walls of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), whose construction had been ascribed by European archeologists to "pre-African caucasian" inhabitants of the region for the simple reason that only whites can do great things. This is the error of the white supremacist mind-set. Blacks did not do great things, they reason, because blacks cannot do great things. Eurocentric academia has purposely scratched the accomplishments of blacks off the books, or has appropriated them for Europeans; and; (3) The extant writings of the ancients (Europeans included) before the taint of white supremacy became affixed to them, openly acknowledged their indebtedness to other (including black) cultures that predated their own. To the white supremacist, academician and layman alike, this is an anathema, to be thwarted at all costs. Nothing is spared to maintain this fiction, and they are prepared to sacrifice historical fact, and the reputation of an honest researcher, like Mr. Bernal. - Amazon reviewer


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Black athena is a great piece of scholarship, as evidenced by both the apoplectic reaction of those who still cling desperately to their white supremacist/Eurocentric point of view, and the impact it has had on scholarship, especially the reclaiming of the multicultural basis of ancient Greek civilization and of the ancient mediterranean world. Even the most defensive academic critics have conceded the basic theses of Bernal's Black Athena (despite the rantings of ignorant lay-people and racists in the preceding reviews): The ancient Egyptions(who were, of course, African and as "black" as most of the people designated as "black" within the US schema of what that means) had a significant influence on the civilization that eventually arose in Greece and other parts of the mediterranean world (as did the Ethiopians), AND this influence was covered up and obscured by Eurocentric and racist scholars in more modern times because it did not fit into the prevailing white supremacist world-view. - Amazon reviewer

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Finally work is shifting the racist balance away from hundreds of years of European scholarly bias. Simply holding institutional power and denying others a voice will not be accepted so easily anymore. Bernal's work does contain errors, however, the European bias must come to an end. His work and others like him are a much needed correction for scholars everywhere. - Amazon reviewer


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In the quest of their belief that they were the enlighten race and that they were descendents of the Egyptians (not fully realizing that the Egyptians were black), they began expeditions to Egypt (and other places). For, who else could have built such monolithic structures other than their ancestry?

They came back sorely disappointed. You can see many of those disappointments by the smash noses of the statues they brought back. It was at this point you begin to see the masking of ancient history, and the birth of "evolution" which is falsely attributed to Charles Darwin.

I would not have believed this until I began my own research. It was most revealing to me, not in history, but in science. Consider this, two thousand years before the existence of Greece, the Sumerians (a black civilization) had already tabulated the exponential. But, who talks about this? One thousand years prior to the Greeks, the Egyptians priest were not theorizing, but rather, practicing spontaneous generation, which is still being rejected in today's "science", even though it's naturally occurring in nature. - Amazon reviewer

Although this is a relatively old work - published in 1991 - the stench of its putrid crap and similar books written by self-loathing, white liberals still return to my nostrils from time to time to disgust me. I know one shouldn't quote reviews on Amazon as sources in an argument, but here I simply present excerpts for you to despair... and laugh at. You've probably heard it all before.

My favorite was "Bernal's work does contain errors... but...".

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Martin Bernal

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:53 pm

Propaganda.

Egypt was a result of tribe migrating back into north Africa after a long time, evolving, outside of it.
There they mixed with tribes that had come up the Nile from Ethiopia...Eritrea.
Up until that period no civilization of any merit had developed.

Suddenly there is emerges.

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:02 pm

Satyr wrote:
Egypt was a result of tribe migrating back into north Africa after a long time, evolving, outside of it.
There they mixed with tribes that had come up the Nile from Ethiopia...Eritrea.
Could you say something regarding what the physiology of these tribes migrating back into Africa looked like?

Were they Semitic... perhaps Berberish? The tribes that came up the Nile, where these Ethiopian/sub-Saharan blacks?
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:27 pm

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We can't call them by any modern category.

They exit 85,000-90,000 and then return 40,000-45,000 years later.

Then very little migration up the Nile whereas migration form the north is still open and easy.

No doubt, most of the Hellenic glory is owed to the fact that their land was less fertile and more mountainous.
They had to turn to the sea for sustenance and still brought them into contact with many peoples around the Mediterranean from which they received influence.

One of these peoples were the Egyptians and the Phoenicians.
What they did with this influence, this adopted information, is excursively derived from their glory.

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:20 pm

Bernal's a communist jew;
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What's interesting is not the afrocentric propaganda of his book, but how it was 'refuted' by another jew Lefkowitz in a book called 'Black Athena Revisited' where she goes about 'correcting' his thesis partially restoring the greek heritage but by basically saying there's no such thing as race... in the larger picture, its a double propaganda, one facilitates the other, smoke and mirrors.
The most ludicrous afrocentrism has been to claim Beethoven was black, and innumerable websites proving Buddha was black.

From a neutral non-nordicist site:
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Kemp's blog announced a counter to Bernal's; haven't read it:
"The Children of Ra: Artistic, Historical, and Genetic Evidence for Ancient White Egypt is finally the Eurocentric answer to the Afrocentrist hijacking of ancient Egypt."
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Whether Kemp's book turns out true or false, maybe propaganda should just be and can only be answered back by propaganda in these times; all is fair in War... "there are no facts, only interpretations." [N.]

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PostSubject: Black 'Geniuses' Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:43 am

CNN appears to be the the chief culprit in exaggerating the achievements of blacks. Journalism which lacks any substance, the main goal of which is to level the races.

Consider the story below about Rochelle Ballantyne, a black, female chess player from Brooklyn, NY. The article gives the impression that she is some kind of precocious chess genius, not far away from becoming one of the top players in America and perhaps the world.

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African-American blazing a trail through chess

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(CNN) – Rochelle Ballantyne plays chess the same way she walks through the streets of New York, determined to reach her goal without letting any obstacles slow her down.

The 17 year old from Brooklyn is just a few wins away from becoming the first female African-American to attain the ranking of chess master.

"When I push myself, then nothing can stop me."

"She crushes her opponents in a sport dominated by men"

But the World Chess Federation website ranks her below two thousand players nationally, and below thirty nine thousand internationally:

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Neither can I find any evidence of her crushing male opponents.


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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:31 pm

Thanks for the Link. i'm having a blast reading through the comment section Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:57 pm

Yeah, notice that the journalist responsible for the article, Steve Kastenbaum, has responded in the comments section, with the usual diatribe against sexism, racism, blah, blah, blah, when what is on trial here is his journalistic integrity.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:23 pm

I don't know what this does other than that it accentuates an exception that brings the rule into sharper focus.

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:26 pm

Yes, and even the exception must be exaggerated out of all proportion.

It's depressing how much shit there is like this out there. Whilst researching the above I discovered there is a nearly all black junior high school in Brooklyn which seems to focus its curriculum almost entirely on teaching chess to blacks, presumable in the hope that they will rise above the average, so that they can then be held up as examples of how blacks can overcome societies racial hatred and intolerance in the world of chess, and how they're the intellectual equivalent of other races, despite the fact that its taken vast amounts of resources to create this illusion.

Yet other junior highs, which are more traditionally balanced, and in which chess is only an after school activity practiced mostly by whites and Asians still continue to dominate the top places in chess competitions.

They've now turned it into a film: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:27 am


A lot of black people have claimed that chess is racist because white always goes first.
Some liberals have proposed that the game be changed to make it more fair.

Quote :
New Frontiers in Civil Rights

Did you know that chess is racist? Sure enough, it is, according to the Southern Digest, the student newspaper at Southern University and A&M College in
Baton Rouge, La.:

Everyone knows that in a chess game white moves first.

This abstractly implies that white has a distinct advantage over black because black has to always take a defensive stand. Some see this as a continuing form
of racism and want to change the rules of the game.

A man named Bill Ware has a "plan of attacking racism in chess":

Ware plans on removing color superiority by allowing the pieces to either be the same or different colors such as red, blue, green, etc. The determining factor
on who moves first depends on what square the queen sits on.

Chess is played on a grid and each square has a variable of A-H, and a number of 1-8.

According to Ware, whichever queen sits on the square D-1, that is the team that moves first. This way, nether color has priority or an inherent right to move
first. . . .

Ware said he wants the students he helps to teach the skills they learned to others. He also wants to eliminate the stereotype that if you're white you're
right and if you're black, step back.

This is a good opening move, but it's not nearly enough. Chess is not only racist but sexist, classist and homophobic. How come you can sacrifice your queen,
but if you lose your king, the game is over? Why is there an underclass of "pawns"? Oh sure, they're promised they can be upwardly mobile if they only play
by the rules, but how often does a pawn actually become a queen? And why are rooks only allowed to move straight? The time has come to demand equality for all chess-Americans and free the game from its checkered history!

http://chessjournalism.org/pdf/cjmar04.pdf - page 14

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"By saying that white automatically is offensive, it states that white is better than black." - Bill Ware

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Bill Ware, 74, teaches chess strategies to teenagers at the Scotlandville Branch Library. Ware said he teaches what he calls “Algebra chess” using variables and unknown by introducing the teens to different color pieces instead of exclusively using black and white chess pieces. ” The strategies of offense and defense are the same,” he said. The classes are free and participants have enjoyed learning the game. Ware said he volunteers to teach because he knows “students who do well in chess also do well in other subjects…It teaches them to stay focus and to plan ahead.” The Army Lieutenant said he tries to stimulate their interest in continuing the game. Chess classes are also taught at the Main Library on Goodwood Blvd.

Is chess racist? http://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/is-chess-racist
Is chess really racist? http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120315182306AA91oS3


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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:39 pm

Bill Ware....

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:37 pm

Doesn't this moron have a 'real' African name rather than the name the evil white slave master bestowed upon him... Bill Ware?

And why is this retard speaking English, the language of the enslaver, instead of one of the far superior languages of west Africa which have an entire vocabulary that can be written on the back of an envelope?

Isn't dominoes racist because all the pieces are black and its a simple game that blacks love playing?


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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:20 pm

Recidivist wrote:
Isn't dominoes racist because all the pieces are black and its a simple game that blacks love playing?

Not necessarily. There are white sets of dominoes which are not racist because one can play them like one plays whitey.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:05 am

I find it funny that just five days ago I would have dismissed this page and the comments on the cnn article as being racist. It is simple to look at things in such a way. History, nature, has proven whites to be superior. The inability of the black mind to adapt and overcome is appallingly apparent. The black can only cry injustice and racism rather than analyze their predicament and figure a way to overcome a situation within the environment. A perfect example of wanting the environment to adapt to their needs.

I noticed a comment in which the poster asked why hasn't cnn posted a negative comment feature so people can downvote the "ugly posts." That which doesn't appeal to the masses has no place, no merit or worth.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:47 pm

Q : What do you get when you cross a Nigger with a Gorilla ?

A : A Dumb Gorilla
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:16 pm

Admin, where can i link Youtube videos?
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:17 am

Whites are the originals- all else follow their footsteps.

Chess is a white sport that requires skill and that skill can be taught. Computers can outdo a champion. Blacks are actually really good at math and terrible at grammar which goes to show the brain dominance.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:43 pm

Lieben wrote:
Blacks are actually really good at math
I've never experienced this, and the history books are bereft of great black mathematicians.

For me the dexterity of blacks is physical, not mental.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:21 pm

Recidivist wrote:
Lieben wrote:
Blacks are actually really good at math
I've never experienced this, and the history books are bereft of great black mathematicians.

For me the dexterity of blacks is physical, not mental.

Indeed.. As unpleasant as it may sound,The truth is that Negroes were bred for hard labor.which is why they tend to excel in sports and are our rightful entertainers, much like modern slaves. Perhaps it is an inherent interest that dates back thousands of years over the course of natural selection and adaptation & Maybe that is why the black man would rather swing on a basketball rim like an ape than balance a chemical compound.. But in hopes of changing this & to appear "fair", Education standards have been lowered & affirmative action enforced by the state to integrate as many Negroes as possible within the capitalist system..without Affirmative action & preferential treatment, most blacks would be unemployed & rotting in prison. The prisons are already overcrowded with Negroes in the US.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:35 pm

They're good at math. I'm telling you....in school I always got As in grammar and the black kids got As in math. Maybe I just suck at it. Women are also better at grammar while men are better at math.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:37 pm

louisfriend wrote:
Recidivist wrote:
Lieben wrote:
Blacks are actually really good at math
I've never experienced this, and the history books are bereft of great black mathematicians.

For me the dexterity of blacks is physical, not mental.

Indeed.. As unpleasant as it may sound,The truth is that Negroes were bred for hard labor.which is why they tend to excel in sports and are our rightful entertainers, much like modern slaves. Perhaps it is an inherent interest that dates back thousands of years over the course of natural selection and adaptation & Maybe that is why the black man would rather swing on a basketball rim like an ape than balance a chemical compound.. But in hopes of changing this & to appear "fair", Education standards have been lowered & affirmative action enforced by the state to integrate as many Negroes as possible within the capitalist system..without Affirmative action & preferential treatment, most blacks would be unemployed & rotting in prison. The prisons are already overcrowded with Negroes in the US.

In negro world, when things are funny, things are reeeeal funny. Like scream, clap your hands, and do the latest club move funny.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:36 am

(s: Heathen)

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:13 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucuteni-Trypillian_culture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vin%C4%8Da_culture

vinca ant trypillian culture was pre hellenic culture and the oldest high civilization 7000 bc. They had invented first wheel, cold molding and general metallurgy. They worshipped dead, because in the tombs were found priestess statues, and zoomorphic statues. They also did interregional trade, and they were first to invent writing.

Funny thing is that they had a lot of swastikas in their typing and art, and those were found all around their trade roud.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Thu May 01, 2014 8:07 pm

The headlines speak for themselves. More outrageous half-truths and misdirection from a media set on raising the intellectual profile of blacks at any cost.

Kwasi Enin, a black, first generation African immigrant gets offered places at all eight Ivy League universities. Proclaimed a genius by left-wing sections of the press, the facts tell a different story.

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I'm going to Yale! Teen accepted into all eight Ivy League schools holds press conference to announce his decision

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Long Island wunderkind reveals he's going to Yale after being accepted to all eight Ivy League schools

'My Bull Dog Days experience last week was incredible. I met geniuses from all over the world. And everyone was so friendly and inviting. And I believe that their deep appreciation and love for music, like I have, was very critical,' Kwasi Enin said of his chosen university.


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Kwasi Enin: Which Ivy League School Did The High School Genius Choose?

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It's wonderful -- and rare -- that the airwaves, Internet and twitter-sphere are abuzz with the story of a young person's academic success instead of, say, a celebrity's wardrobe malfunction: Kwasi Enin's Ivy League grand slam. How many kids get into all eight Ivies? It's a small sample pool, because few -- how many, we don't know -- apply to all eight.


I thought this last comment was particularly ironic considering that blacks are all over the media particularly when it comes to celebrities and entertainment. From Enin's application essay to the Ivy Leagues:

Kwasi Enin wrote:
'While onstage as Big Jule of Guys and Dolls during my favorite musical, I helped create a wonderful atmosphere in the school auditorium by singing and dancing,' the essay reads.

Detractors from the story have been called bitter racists, etc... But here's what some of them had to say about Enin's achievement:

Quote :
50 kids from my high school with better SAT's scores and overall records
were rejected from all of the Ivy League schools. 7+AP exams with 4 or 5, sports, academics, etc.

Quote :
The problem is that his application is sub-standard for Ivy League admissions on just academic merits and extracurriculars alone, which is why the discussion of him getting pushed past everyone with a better application is leading to the subject of race. And it's a completely valid scrutiny. Even though affirmative action is not enforced legally in our country's public educational system, it's still used quite frequently in colleges so that they can say they have a diverse student population. This is a rather extreme case of that.

Quote :
As an educator, I'm quite experienced with the dangers of pushing people through on affirmative action/ diversity standing alone, and this guy's academics and extracurriculars are above average, but far from remarkable. "He ranks 11 out of a class of 647, scored 2250 out of 2400 on his SAT college admissions test..." That's absolutely awful compared to the usual Ivy League student!

This is not a gold-standard, typical Ivy League student resume. I'm surprised he got into even 1 or 2 of the Ivy Leagues, let alone ALL EIGHT. And no, discussing the controversies of discriminated college acceptance does not make you inherently racist; it's a subject well worth debating about. Even if he were white, his college application would be run-of-the-mill at best for Ivy Leagues. Congratulations to him, but I think "first-generation Ghanaian-American student" really made him look more appealing to the admissions councils.


Already some sections of the media have moved the story along to how some universities 'lost out' when he didn't pick them. Still, though, there is no mention of what special intellectual abilities he has beyond being black.

Quote :
3 Reasons Princeton University Lost Kwasi Enin

Enin probably feels that his passion for music wouldn’t have been satisfied at Princeton. He is a violinist, and hopes to someday become a physician. "Whenever I perform, whether as a bassist in Men's Doo Wop Group or as a violinist in a Chamber Ensemble, I become immersed in the conversations between performers and the audience," Enin said, according to an Associated Press report on CTV News. "As I become lost in these conversations, I create blissful memories in which I am truly part of my community's culture and eventually its history."

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:48 pm

It was said that everyone is a genius. These men couldn't elaborate what they were saying.

What they really meant was, many people have genius on the inside, but they have trouble getting it out.

For example, a cultured black man may have many symphonies inside of his head, and many good movies inside of his head. However, he almost always lacks the technical, external genius, of translating the ideas in his head, into the external, outside world. He may have great symphonies, great movies, but cannot ever move from the inside of his head, into the outside world. This is why rap-music has half assed European melodies, but they are never fully formed.

Blacks have a position of leaders, spokesmen, advertisers, hypers, not doers, not scientists. Planners, but never designers.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:40 pm

Or they take what sounds a bit good to them and transform them into their version resulting in shouting Ebonic non-sense on the beat. The average negro, and increasingly many Whites, have nothing in their stupid little minds but the most base, though different standards of base just like an negro with mentally retarded IQ isn't mentally retarded in accordance to the White definition applied to the behavioural standards of mentally retarded Whites.

What do you define as 'cultured'; at the same time he has 'genius' yet cannot translate it and thus says 'muh dick' and shieet.. I understand to not being able to translate certain thoughts, but not within your context or are you speaking about the few. The only ''black'' poet I have respect for is because he isn't black completely and thus had his better expression due to White admixture- Pushkin.

You are the outside as much as you are the inside; an average Ebonic speaking nigger has no potential for anything but base expression, no 'genius' ideas; the reason the European melodies are half is because it sounds good in a way but not in their way and their understanding which they express with their lyrics about their ball sacks and some big ass booties.

The popgro (popular negro) is used as an means of advertisement never by his own initiative, always a tool for the Judeo-Xtian salesmen and women to popularize their ideals and representations in accordance to political favours; their leadership positions are as much of a fraud as are the presidents of America ruled behind the curtains - black leadership is South Africa, Detroit and the former bread basket of Africa, Rhodesia, turned into another starving shit hole.
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Trixie Celūcilūnaletumoon

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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:02 pm

Lol, I wasn't talking about hood niggras either, I doubt they have any symphonies or complex words in their head at all. I was talking about the cultured negro who has a larger vocabulary, has interesting ideas but always lacks the technical skills to actualize it. He may be able to sing a symphony but he wouldn't know the notes.

I wouldn't could on a herd of blacks to pick a good mayor of a city, but blacks do have leadership qualities. Lex Luthor runs for president while Joker backs him up with technical skill.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:41 pm

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Call me a racist, but I'm more of a logic-ist. I just can't stand the poor logic behind the mouths of these so-called liberals...

Surely, it's not that blacks have no interest in science, it's because of the evil-whitey who routinely denies eager, science-minded black folk entrance into the science realm?

Or is it because, rap music was introduced to black folk by the CIA, as a self-regurgitating fire-and-forget machine...blacks too weak to overthrow their own oppressive black culture...blacks oppressing themselves...

Evil white science professor, too evil to liberate blacks from themselves, to teach them the magic of science...Because talking poorly of black-culture is evil as well...One must follow the prime-directive, do not interfere with any culture, because that is evil, and racist as well...
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PostSubject: Re: Black Geniuses and Afrocentrism Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:33 am

lol!


Paul Gross and Norman Levitt wrote:
"A good example of the substance and range of the “Afrocentric science” literature is to be found in the volume Blacks in Science, Ancient and Modern, edited by Ivan Van Sertima, a professor of Africana studies at Rutgers University. A few of the pieces are inoffensive and possibly, in some limited way, useful. They consist of brief biographies of black scientists, engineers, and inventors. One must take it on faith that they are sufficiently inspirational to do some good. Presumably, they are intended for children of ten or eleven, since they are written at that level of comprehension. The volume’s idea of providing inspiration from purely African culture is illustrated by a piece by Claudia Zaslavsky that briefly describes the arithmetic terminology of the Yoruba and Benin peoples. This amounts, intellectually, to little more than a minor curiosity, although the cheerleading spirit in which it is presented may, for all we know, give it the desired morale-building effect. Some genuinely impressive facts are to be found here and there in the book, such as the two-thousand-year-old tradition of steel-making in Tanzania, and the eyewitness account of a caesarean section in nineteenth-century Uganda. On the other hand, even the biographical pieces are usually guilty of exaggeration, as in John Henrik Clarke’s sketch of Thomas Edison’s assistant Lewis Latimer, or the description of quotidian inventions as great scientific breakthroughs. Even worse is Van Sertima’s own sketch of the chemist Lloyd Quarterman. This is so abominably written, so vague, and so afflicted with Van Sertima’s scientific ignorance as to do a great disservice to a man who has had an honorable, possibly a distinguished, career in science.

These sins, however, are venial. Far worse is the bombast and the wretched logic that pervade most of the book. One finds here in abundance the antic confusion that is the unfortunate hallmark of so much Afrocentric literature. There is the refusal, repeated in article after article, to recognize that “Africa,” a geographic term, is not synonymous with race or culture. Those terms are, in turn, conflated with language, religion, and political system. The great cultural variety of the African continent over the course of history is flattened into a simpleminded Africanness. The contrary sin is also present; cultural unities are artificially sundered when they straddle “Europe” and “Africa.” Thus we have, for instance, a short section on Euclid, the great compiler of Greek mathematical knowledge, circa 300 B.C. Why Euclid? Because Euclid worked in Alexandria, which makes him an Egyptian, hence an African! Presumably, this makes him black as well (although this is not explicitly stated), since the reigning assumption of the book is that the Egyptians were of the same racial stock as sub-Saharan West Africans. In short, we have one more depressing instance of the inane but by now ineradicable historical fallacy that anything south of the Mediterranean is “black.”

Naturally, the claims on behalf of Egyptian science and mathematics are correspondingly exaggerated. We are told in no uncertain terms that the Egyptian contribution to geometry has been grossly undervalued by white scholars. After all, the Egyptians approximated π by 3.16 and computed the volume of a truncated pyramid! Therefore, their achievement is comparable to that of the Greeks, if it does not, in fact, outshine it! Such statements conveniently overlook the fact that every mathematician with an interest in the history of the subject (and that means most of them) knows perfectly well that the Egyptians approximated π by 3.16 (not terribly good compared to the Greek approximation 22/7 = 3.1428 …—even worse when one considers that the Greek mathematicians, unlike the Egyptians, had a well-developed and general methodology of successive approximations) and developed various formulae for geometric mensuration, so that what is asserted to have been suppressed is in fact widely known. What is truly irresponsible in this piece, especially from the pedagogical point of view, is the failure to come to grips with the enormous conceptual gap between the systematic synthetic geometry of the Greeks and the clever but ad hoc mensural geometry of Egypt (and other civilizations). To set the one up as the equal of the other, for the sake of racial pride (overlooking, once more, the non sequitur of Egyptian and therefore black), is to deprive students of an indispensable mathematical insight, and, moreover, to prime them to react with hostility to any attempt to convey it to them.

Silly as this is, it pales by comparison to some of the other articles. Khalil Messiha tells us, for instance, that a small wooden figure of a bird, presumably made in Egypt during the Hellenistic period, is an example of “African experimental aeronautics.” The evidence? If you build a copy of balsa wood (rather than the original sycamore), and then add a vertical stabilizer (not present in the original) to the tail, you get a so-so version of a toy glider!

Of course, the tale of the Dogon “discovery” of the dwarf companion of Sirius—the great celestial beacon of Canis Major—resurfaces in two articles by Hunter H. Adams (of whom more below). The “evidence,” aside from unreferenced diagrams by the author, is of wretched quality. We are offered a picture of a carved gourd from Guinea and a Babylonian zodiacal diagram, which resemble each other in only the vaguest way. A Dogon doodle, said to represent Sirius, is compared to an astronomical photograph of the star. Indeed, they do resemble each other! The Dogon “Sirius” is a disk with four points coming out of it: the photograph shows Sirius as a disk with six points projecting. The author neglects to inform us that the “points” in the photograph are an artifact of the design of astronomical reflecting telescopes. (In this respect, it does no good to argue, as Adams does on the basis of the flimsiest evidence, that ancient “Africa” invented refracting telescopes; only reflectors produce this effect.) To make matters worse, Van Sertima’s preface solemnly endorses and amplifies the Adams claims. If, by some act of a mad jokester, a book of similar content, rigor, style, and tone, say, “Norwegians in Science, Ancient and Modern” were assembled, no reputable publisher would touch it. If it were published, there would be protest marches in the capitals of the Great Lakes states, at least, and a break in diplomatic relations with Norway would undoubtedly ensue. Yet in the current climate, academic presses are eager, with (presumably) the most honorable intentions, to publish such Afrocentric material. Somehow, the condescending belief has taken hold that black children can be persuaded to take an interest in science only if they are fed an educational diet of fairy tales. The white academic left—to which some of the contributors to Van Sertima’s book belong—is resolutely and astonishingly unembarrassed by such stuff. To apply rigorous scrutiny to it is, after all, to insist on the horrid Western paradigm of objectivity, and to deny blacks the right to form their own “interpretive community” and to create their own metaphors; thus to the postmodern left it is indelibly racist. The most awful aspect of the situation, however, is the way it testifies to the desperation and confusion of black people themselves. To resort to such tall tales is to reveal a deep and tragic insecurity and a willingness among black intellectuals—including scientists—to hold their tongues about nonsense damaging to their children.

Blacks in Science is but one venue for the egregious Hunter Adams. His notoriety has been much enlarged by the so called “Portland Baseline Essays,” a series of texts designed to put “multicultural content” (for which read, typically, “Afrocentrism”) into the public school curriculum. Adams is the author of the Baseline Essay in Science, which bears the innocuous title, “African and African-American Contributions to Science and Technology.” A measure of the reliability of this work is Adams’s use of the model bird already mentioned. He goes far beyond the claims previously cited, dubious as they may have been, and now asserts that the figurine proves that the Egyptians possessed full-sized, working gliders that were in common use. Even this pales, however, beside Adams’s most bizarre pronouncements. “Early African writings,” he claims, “indicate a possible understanding of quantum physics and gravitational theory.” Further, he credits the Egyptians with the full panoply of psychic powers—they were famous as masters of psi. Thus the Egyptian “science,” which is supposed to inspire young people, turns out to be the worst kind of New Age boobery.

Here is the biographical note on Adams that appears in Blacks in Science:

Formerly on staff (1969–70) at the University of Chicago in the Chemistry Department, where he was in charge of operations of the mass spectrometer and also assisted graduate students in their research. Since 1970 he has been at the Argonne National Laboratory at the ZGS Atomic Accelerator. There he has been advancing the state of the art of proton beam detection and diagnostic equipment, such as proportional wire counters. He is currently researching the impact magnetic fields may have had on the rise of civilizations.

He has written science-related articles for Ebony Jr. Similar claims are made in the Baseline Essays. Behind this fustian lies the fact that Adams has completed no work toward a degree beyond a high school diploma and has no record of scientific publication. He was employed at the Argonne National Laboratory as an industrial hygiene technician; and he did no research there. He is, however, associated with the secretive but increasingly controversial group known as the “melanin scholars,” whose doctrine of an innate racial superiority of peoples with dark skin forms a bizarre echo to the Aryanism of J. A. Gobineau, H. S. Chamberlain, and Adolf Hitler. One can imagine what is permitted to “scholars” under this strange new ideological confection by noting that Adams now feels free to assert that the Dogon people’s “knowledge” of the Sirius system need not have involved telescopes after all. Apparently, he agrees with other “melanists" that the melanin of deep-hued Central Africans enhanced their psychic powers to the point that such astronomical knowledge could be acquired by direct and unmediated insight! We leave it to the reader to draw the obvious inferences about the pedagogical competence of projects—and of entire school systems—that rely on such “materials” to instruct and inspire young people potentially interested in science.

There have been far worthier attempts to claim science as part of the black heritage—inspirational biographies of Benjamin Banneker, E. E. Just, and so forth. There are plenty of honest stories of struggle and scientific achievement to be told. But the full-fledged Afrocentrists find this altogether too unfulfilling. The confabulations of Adams, Van Sertima, and their ilk are much more to their taste. Leaving aside “objectivity,” simple sanity cries out on the dangers of this stuff to the prospects of students who are prompted to take it seriously. We can report from personal experience that there are many such students.

Postmodern relativism undercuts any possible protest grounded on the notion of objectivity. It entails a perspectivism that finds no basis for epistemological distinctions between science and fables. Feminists, indignant as they have been at the strictures of scientific orthodoxy, bogged down in their own school of indictment, are in no position to call Afrocentrists to account for sins more ostentatious, but, at root, hardly more reprehensible, than their own. The introduction to Hunter H. Adams’s Baseline Essay in Science glancingly reflects the influence of postmodern academic attitudes and their usefulness as a first line of defense against the demands of scientific thought.

Hooks, a black woman scholar at Oberlin College, is well known as a militantly feminist, postmodernist scholar of literature and culture. Her piece “Columbus: Gone but Not Forgotten” is, for the most part, yet another recitation of the stylish counter-myth: Columbus as founding father of all the iniquity and violence that followed upon the European intrusion into the Americas, and thus of the continuing injustice visited by the ruling elite in the United States upon Native Americans, blacks, women, homosexuals, and so forth. To the extent that white European settlement begat a swarm of evils—and, beyond denial, it did so—some indignation (tempered by a minimal understanding of history) is warranted. On the other hand, Hooks’s implicit portrayal of the pre-Columbian America as a pacifist Elysium is a type-specimen of the fatuous cliché that has been repeated endlessly in left-wing diatribes prepared for the Columbus quincentennial. Thus it is not especially remarkable. What is remarkable is the thesis that serves Hooks as the springboard for her ruminations: again, we are confronted with the work of Ivan Van Sertima, this time in the form of his book, They Came before Columbus. Says Hooks:

"Thinking about the Columbus legacy and the foundations of white supremacy, I am drawn to Ivan van Sertima’s groundbreaking book They Came before Columbus. Documenting the presence of Africans in this land before Columbus, his work calls upon us to recognize the existence in American history of a social reality where individuals met one another within the location of ethnic, national, cultural difference, who did not make of that difference a site of imperialist/cultural domination."

Van Sertima’s hypothesis clearly belongs in the category of wishful thinking. Thus it is hard to characterize Hooks’s embrace of Van Sertima’s ideas as anything other than superstitious credulity. Yet unlike Van Sertima, whose reputation does not extend much beyond fanatically Afrocentric circles, Hooks is a mainstay of the academic left and a ubiquitous presence at conferences and symposia devoted to questions of racial and gender justice. As even the brief excerpt quoted above reveals, she has mastered the postmodernist lexicon and the style that is de rigueur for fashionable campus radicals. She is, in short, a far more prestige-laden and influential figure than Van Sertima, ranking with highly respected black scholars such as Henry Louis Gates of Harvard and her sometime collaborator Cornel West of Princeton. Her susceptibility to Afrocentric fantasy and the pseudoscience that supports it is thus particularly ominous.

In the face of all this, one is left with a melancholy question. Can the university, as the ultimate locus of scientific education, find the courage to stand up to Afrocentric (and related politicized) nonsense—to the degree necessary to sustain and enhance the possibility of scientific careers for young black Americans? We don’t know the answer: it is certainly not clear that it will be “yes.” Far more likely, in fact, is increased agitation for black-separatist “science” to be institutionalized alongside the standard variety, in a ghastly parody of affirmative action. This has already and notoriously occurred in a few places. And: on the basis of its record to date, we foresee that the wider academic left, with its relativist and perspectivist intellectual armament, its snide postmodern insistence that all narratives are equally valid and equally invalid, is likely to cheer the latter process on." [Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science]

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