In the course of this process of identification, Group A loses sight of itself, of its history, worldview, and best interests, thus causing dislocation to occur. The identification with another group may occur at two related levels: It may involve the adoption of the dominant group’s perspectives and/or the partial or total adoption of the dominant group’s culture. Clearly, many Africans suffer from serious dislocation.
Manifestations of Dislocation
African dislocation can be apprehended in a great variety of areas. It is easily observable, for example, in the adoption of European aesthetics, with Africans attempting to modify their original physical appearance in order to conform to the European model. Michael Jackson’s tragic example immediately comes to mind. However, although the singer may represent the most extreme example of such an attempt at physical distortion, he is in no way alone. Countless African people, all over the world, continue to rely on surgery and dangerous chemicals in order to alter the texture of their hair and the color of their skin.
In addition, dislocation is responsible for the adoption of the individualistic and materialistic ethos that is characteristic of the dominant European culture. Dislocation is also quite evident in the adoption of European theories and other intellectual constructs by African scholars and writers. Many African intellectuals, for example, continue to refer to Africa as “underdeveloped” and to African languages as “dialects,” while others adamantly argue that there were no philosophers in Africa until Africans started going to study European philosophy in Europe. Such a discourse obviously reflects an uncritical and probably unconscious adoption by Africans of the European discourse on Africa. In other cases, some black fiction writers go so far as to make their black characters blush, thus holding whiteness as the implicit norm that informs their writing.
It is, however, in the area of religion that African dislocation is most tragically observable. Having fallen for the notion that there is only one god, the white Christian god, and that African religious practices amount to sorcery, paganism, and evil, many Africans have rejected their ancestors and their divinities, while losing sight of their human ability to produce sacredness out of their own reality. Instead of thinking of themselves as sacred, and therefore special, many believe that they can experience the divine only through a Christian (or Arab) proxy.
The result of dislocation has been massive confusion, disorientation, and self-destruction. Indeed, dislocated Africans tend to dissociate themselves from their own history, culture, and biology and may thus engage in actions that run contrary to the best interest of the African people. They will denigrate their own ancestors, showing utmost ingratitude toward those who came before them, looked like them, and suffered tremendously for them to be around. Such individuals are often referred to as negroes. It is important to realize that, given the racism that has been endemic to most of European thought, African dislocation has meant not simply total or partial acculturation but also, quite often, self-hatred. Thus, dissociation from the African community has often been seen as necessary by many dislocated Africans, not simply for the purpose of social and economic advancement but also to advance and prove their humanity to Europeans.
Such dislocated Africans I began referring to in the late 1990s, as malevolent negroes. There are two types of malevolent negroes: malevolent negroes with a European aesthetic and malevolent negroes with an African aesthetic. The former, generally speaking, are individuals who have fully and openly committed themselves to the defense of white supremacy, at the expense of African people, if necessary. Clarence Thomas, an African American who was appointed to the Supreme Court by George Bush, Sr., and who supported the dismantling of affirmative action, may be the best example of a malevolent negro with a European aesthetic. Malevolent negroes with an African aesthetic, on the other hand, are a rather recent phenomenon and are all the more dangerous in that they present themselves as “Africans.” They will not publicly and openly support white supremacy. However, behind the scenes, they will be observed consistently and systematically betraying and undermining African agency. Obviously, the actions of malevolent negroes have been a most serious problem for African people for hundreds of years and have repeatedly caused attempts by Africans to free themselves to abort. Such malevolent negroes are often generously rewarded and hailed by Europeans.
In addition to the malevolent negroes, however, there exists another category: the benevolent negroes. These are Africans with good intentions toward their own community. However, because of their dislocation, they analyze the African experience through a European lens and embark on projects that are fundamentally Eurocentric and not necessarily in the best interest of African people. Many Africans from the diaspora and the continent itself, for example, look at Africa as a place that needs to be “civilized” and “developed,” and as a result, they create programs to do just that, while failing to realize that what they are really advocating for Africa is Westernization. In the same vein, some “black” schools, in order to get black students “ready to compete,” may simply further the cultural and intellectual dislocation of African children.
Remedy to African Dislocation: Afrocentricity and Relocation
Thus, the remedy for dislocation suggested by the Afrocentric Theory is relocation. While many debate what it means to be African (i.e, what relocation would entail), there is a growing consensus that Africans must reconnect with their Ancestors, that is, in the end, accept and embrace their own spirituality, culture, history, and physical appearance in order to move from a state of chaos to one where harmony and peace may prevail again. Afrocentricity International was created to facilitate our relocation through spiritual therapy.