ASRC Essays - Essay #03 W03

ASRC Essays - Essay #03 W03 - Parhami 1 Essay#3 African...

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Parhami 1 Essay #3 – African Culture Although for centuries, and even presently, African countries have been denied their sovereignty and cultural expression, the countries of the African continent have advanced cultural systems. The myths created regarding the African people unravel the sophistication of their culture, provide justification for control, and a means of oppression. Many viewed the African people as lacking a “capacity for improvement” and lacking any formal education. The people had “no idea of duty or religion.” Indeed, “The Negro exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state” (Hegel, as quoted in Olufemi Taiwo). In sum, the African people were “human nature in its crudest state.” These statements of fallacy were unduly imposed upon the African people and provided the justification of imperialistic control and the denial of humanistic rights. Even today, African nations are struggling as they reestablish the culture that was stripped from them and attempt to keep up with the economic advancement of the modern world. In their respective papers on national culture, Amilcar Cabral and Frantz Fanon explore culture and its role in civics. Knowledge of the importance of culture in establishing a nation state, development of a nation, and even the breakdown is essential in an understanding of the African continent and its economic history. Cabral on Culture In his paper on culture, freedom, colonialism, and domination, Cabral states the importance of national culture as being determined by history and a factor in shaping history. According to Cabral culture is the decisive element that determines the outcome in a national struggle, whether it be nation building or degenerating for the purpose of domination. Culture serves as a factor of resistance to foreign domination. Therefore, domination can be maintained by the “permanent and organized repression” of the cultural life of the people concerned. The
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Parhami 2 cultural repression that serves as a precondition for material domination can be achieved by two means: either a gradual assimilation of the peoples’ culture into the culture of the dominator or by a physical and practical elimination of culture altogether. Whether the dominator employs an imposition without damage to the culture of the dominated people, that is, progressive assimilation, or eradicates entirely the culture of the people they are essentially neutralizing and paralyzing their culture life. Cabral argues that in reality there is no difference between these two means as it is “no more than a more or less violent attempt to deny the culture of the people in question” (140). Regardless, practical elimination of culture is necessary to ensure the perpetuation of foreign domination, “For as long as part of that people can have cultural life, foreign domination cannot be sure of its perpetuation” (140).
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