Liberia’s Response to Hegel

When the question is “what did you find most confusing about this poem?”, I imagine most of us could come up with more than just one line. One line I was particularly confused by was “Liberia? No oil-boiled Barabas, No Darwin’s bulldog for ermined flesh, no braggart Lamech, no bema’s Ananias…” Even after reading the analysis at the end, and doing some google searches of my own, I cannot seem to figure out this statement. “Oil-boiled Barabas” was a man in the bible, killed by oil. “Darwin’s bulldog” refers to Thomas Huxley, an English biologist who supported Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Ermined flesh”, on the other hand, refers to the fur of a weasel. Lamech is a descendent of Cain, the biblical figure who killed his brother Abel out of jealousy. Ananias was a member of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and a bema is the altar area in an Orthodox church. While I gathered all these definitions, I still cannot figure out what the author is saying. Continue reading “Liberia’s Response to Hegel”

Week 1 Response

The Hegel piece really made me angry after initially reading it. It really blew my mind that he could actually think of people in such a way. Honestly, it was such a dose of reality because it made me realize that not only does Hegel think this way but other people do as well. In his writing, he depicts the Africans as savages and cannibals without reason and dehumanizes them. Continue reading “Week 1 Response”

Repetition in culture

“Cultures then are virtually all varieties of ‘long term’ coverage, against both external and internal threats- self dissolution, loss of identity or repression, assimilation, attachment (in the sense of legal seizure); or attack from neighboring or foreign cultures – with all the positive and negative connotations of the ‘cover-ups’ thus produced.”

This quote seemed to have the greatest impact on me because what Snead is saying here is that we form cultures and create these societies in order to protect ourselves. It is no different from black panther which we discussed in class. The biggest decision for T’Challa throughout the whole movie is whether or not he opens his gates to the people of the outside world. He knows that they have the capability to help them, however he also knows that if he does do that, Wakkandan culture may be forced upon or changed as history has shown and as Snead discussed. Forming a culture offers an individual protection from both physical and mental threats. However black culture has seen their culture destroyed by foreigners many many times, which is why T’Challa is so hesitant to lead his people into the open world. It is also why many tribes in Africa are seen as not as advanced or behind the rest of society. They do this because they are trying to preserve their culture and their way of life in order to protect themselves. Snead argues that culture is constantly evolving which I also agree with. As new factors come into play such as foreigners and new technology, culture will continue to evolve with it.

Repetition in Culture

Repetition that seems like “‘a quality of difference’ compared to what has gone before” is  a constant is one of James A. Snead’s claims in Repetition as a figure of black culture. Snead says that human culture evolves and things from the past emerge in the future as either improved or retrogress. Culture either progresses or regresses. I agree with James Snead that culture is  constantly evolving.

I found that claim interesting and it made me think about what American culture is at the present moment compared to its history. Continue reading “Repetition in Culture”

Afrofuturism Week 1 post

Hegel’s excerpt starts almost immediately with a harsh criticism of Africans. “The Negro, as already observed, exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state. We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality – all that we call feeling – if we would rightly comprehend him; there is nothing harmonious with humanity to be found in this kind of character.” Hegel makes his prejudice clear right away, juxtaposing black people with other humans, but noting a clear difference in the way he perceives Africans and humans as a whole. By saying that Negroes are untamed – and using that as a slight against their humanity – he is just exposing his thinking that in order to be at a point of equality with other people, black people need to be controlled, presumably by a [white] majority. Throughout the text, Hegel’s language and just the overall tone in which he describes Negroes/Africans reveals that he sees them as a different entity of people, an outcast group that is taking up space in his preferred society. He accuses them of hypocrisy for selling their own children into slavery in Africa even though “their own people” are being enslaved in the Americas by Europeans. Hegel reads like someone who is on the outside looking in to a topic in which he speculates in the absence of knowledge.

Weekly Response #1

During class this week we spoke about the one of the opening scenes in “Black Panther” when T’Challa enters the city. Specifically, the scene’s special attention to detail and the culture of Wakanda itself. I noticed the language imprinted on the buildings in class wasn’t English which brought about a new class conversation about the idea of inclusion. There seems to be a common theme juxtaposing “reality” and “what could have been” with comparisons between America/Wakanda and T’Challa/Killmonger. To speak some more on that, I believe that since Wakanda is such a secluded nation that it began to evolve on its own without influence from the western world which explains while there was such a thick mixture of tradition and technology. I also believe that the filmmakers were trying to bring attention to how successful black people could’ve been if slavery had not occurred. However, the “what if it hadn’t?” question about slavery always troubled me because as a black man I honestly believe that oppression is honestly a sizeable part of what makes black culture so strong and unique. Maybe this is the wrong interpretation on my part but honestly, I think that the idea of using the fact that my ancestors died for me to fuel me to honor them by being one of the most influential people to walk the Earth.

Short Reflection

“In any case, let us remember that, whenever we encounter repetition in cultural forms, we are indeed not viewing “the same thing” but its transformation, not just a formal ploy but often the willed grafting onto culture of an essentially philosophical insight about the shape of time and history.”


This statement stood out to me in particular because growing up in an African household and experiencing the interesting parenting style of my mom and dad, it was a real eye-opener. Most of the friends that I surrounded myself with always seem to be pampered and given the newest type of accesories out there. At the time, it was hard to grasp, and truthfully, I took it to the chest. It wasn’t until my grandmother came to live with my family and I in the US for a couple months that I realized why my parents were not into the concept of splurging money and showering their kids with expensive clothing, sneakers, and so on. The African culture back home has been revolved around hard-workers and people trying to set-up the best possible path to success for their children. Referring this back to the Black Panther discussion in class, when T’Challa’s sister introduced sneakers to him for the first time, it was symbolic of the lack of appeal for flashy items in the African culture. Rather than worrying about sneakers and so on, the Black Panther’s main focus was centered around the fate of his people; just like African parent’s main focus is centered around the fate of their children’s future.

Hegel’s Hypocrisy

“Slavery is in and of itself injustice, for the essence of humanity is freedom; but for this man must be matured…”

Hegel’s main argument in the piece is captured here; while slavery is wrong, black people are not consciously mature enough to live freely, and thus must be enslaved for their own sake. One of his key points is the concept of man over God. On page 151, he writes “…Herodotus called the Negroes sorcerers:-now in Sorcery we have not the idea of a God, of a moral faith: it exhibits him as alone occupying a position of command over the power of Nature”. Continue reading “Hegel’s Hypocrisy”

“The negro, as already observed, exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state. We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality-all that we call feeling if we would rightly comprehend him; …” (Hegel 150)

In the time that I spent reading the Hegel excerpt I felt myself go through a range of emotions, as he began to suggest that Africans exhibit characteristics of being inferior to west culture and goes on to strip identity and humanity from people of African descent. Hegel’s inaccurate assessment Continue reading “”

Dev Hynes, Negro Swan, and the collaborative Afrofuture?

In a recent review of Blood Orange (Dev Hynes’) Negro Swan, Judnick Maynard suggests that “His mastery and comfort extends to the way he welcomes collaborators.” Collaboration is a feature of R&B, of course, but reading Maynard’s review in light of Snead’s sense of repetition as having a communal possibility, and in light of your frustrations with Hegel, I wanted to raise a question about collaboration: Continue reading “Dev Hynes, Negro Swan, and the collaborative Afrofuture?”