Afro-Eccentricity: Beyond the Standard Narrative of Black by William David Hart (auth.)

By William David Hart (auth.)

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Eric Lincoln’s chief claim is the following: “The ‘Negro church’ that Frazier wrote about no longer exists. ” From the ashes of the Negro Church the Black Church arose. This change in nomenclature signifies several things, not the least of which is the death of the servile and accommodating disposition of the Negro Church, whose peasant and working- class members consoled themselves through ecstatic liturgies, and whose middle- class members inhabited a “make believe world” of superficiality and conspicuous consumption famously described by Frazier in Black Bourgeoisie (1957).

If we owe the ancestors anything, it is a kind of natural piety—that is, acknowledgment of our dependence on them and a certain gratitude for the choices they made even though their choices may constrain us in harmful ways. Though constrained by the choices they made, we choose our ancestors as much as we are chosen. Granted, we are thrown into families, kinship networks, and races. In this sense, ancestry and inheritance are given. In another and profound sense, however, ancestry and inheritance are also a choice, a product of appropriation and appreciation.

Afrocentricity has been severely criticized. ”28 “This can be seen in the very categories Afrocentrism uses to define itself. ” But this minstrelsy is not enough. 30 So the history of black people is reduced to a static phenomenon (a gross misunderstanding) by ignoring the difference that slavery and the Black Atlantic experience made. ”32 Afrocentrism is a form of conservative reaction reminiscent of Booker T. Washington’s accommodationism (though less justified) and of Louis Farrakhan’s Jewish- envy, anti-Semitism, and ressentiment.

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