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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A practical idea of blackness
Author:Kiros, TeodrosISNI
Year:1994
Periodical:Quest: An International African Journal of Philosophy (ISSN 1011-226X)
Volume:8
Issue:1
Period:June
Pages:25-43
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Africa
Subjects:African identity
racism
Philosophy, Psychology
philosophy
race relations
Abstract:W.E.B. Du Bois, as K.A. Appiah says in 'In my father's house' (1992), is the one who 'laid both the intellectual and the practical foundations of the Pan-African movement'. The present author, while agreeing with Appiah's judgement, disagrees with his reading of Du Bois' conception of blackness as racist. In this article, he provides his own readings of Du Bois' 'The souls of black folk' (1970), arguing that Du Bois' notion of blackness is not ontological, but rather a deliberate strategy, aiming at the political empowerment of the victims of ontological and epistemological notions of raciality, couched in the historical and contingent language of existential despair. The author then develops a pragmatic or existential notion of Africanity, guided by a practical idea of blackness, in contrast to various metaphysical formulations of African identity. Such a practical idea of blackness does not need a biologically motivated and racially expressed understanding of blackness as a peculiar property that only dark-skinned people share. Rather blackness or Africanity is a way of being, a mode of comportment in a world ruptured by alienation, hate, indifference and confusion. It is grounded on the similarities of suffering that Africans continue to share, and is born out of the necessity of struggle to overcome them. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 24).
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