Hegel’s Excerpt

Uniqua Jones                                    

“Religion begins with the consciousness that there is something higher than man. But even Herodotus called the Negroes sorcerer’s:- now in sorcery we have not the idea of a god, of a moral faith..”-Hegel


Religion to many is to have faith and belief in a higher power. It is to be fully devoted to a way of life. History has shown that religion can bring together people but also destroy relationships from anything to family relationships or friendships. In this excerpt, Hegel has used religion to his advantage to create this image of Africans as savages with no structure in their lives or communities as a whole. Hegel’s ignorance about the different cultures in Africa lumps Africans all in one group. Hegel then goes on to say Africans don’t have religion and because of this, they are sorcerers.

   Many people who do not follow a particular religion or do not believe in a higher power at all are often looked down upon, this was particularly prevalent in the past. Hegel contributes to the western views and ideology that all people in Africa need help. That Africans are not civilized, have no structure because they have no religion. He then goes on to invoke fear into people by calling Africans sorcerer. “Sorcerers”, people who deal with magic or witchcraft are feared because it is a practice many people are ignorant about. As a result, people reading what Hegel is saying often start to believe what he is saying because they are ignorant. This contributes to the negative mindset associated with Africans.


One Reply to “Hegel’s Excerpt”

  1. Thanks for this post. One reason we’re reading Hegel is because of the influence of his views, the ways many contemporary racist accounts of Africa or the African diaspora are rooted in ideas Hegel popularized or reflected. And it’s really important we’re paying close attention to religion, not least because of the complex historical legacy of attempts by missionaries to convert African peoples: narratives of conversion go hand in hand with appropriation, erasure, and “progress” seen in European terms, of course. I’d love to see you keep exploring this – but try to stay clear of “many people” and other such generalizations, as our best thinking emerges from critical analysis of specific situations – e.g. specific representations of Santería in Western culture, to take one example.

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