Eurocentric Approaches to
• “At this point, we leave Africa not to mention it again, for it is no part
of the historical world and without any movement to exhibit. From
the earliest historical times, Africa has remained cut off from all
contacts with the rest of the world. At is the land of gold, forever
pressing in upon itself, and the land of childhood, removed from the
light of self-conscious history and wrapped in the dark mantle of
night.” – George Hegel.
• “Perhaps, in the future, there will be some African history to teach.
But at present there is none, or very little: there is only the history of
the Europeans in Africa. The rest is largely darkness, like the history of
pre-European, pre-Columbian America. And darkness is not a subject
for history…I do not deny that men existed even in dark countries and
dark centuries, nor that they had political life and culture, but history,
• The social, moral, and political as well as the physical history of the
Negro race, bears strong testimony against them; it furnishes the
most undeniable proof of their mental inferiority. In no age or
condition has the real negro shown a capacity to throw off the chains
of barbarism and brutality that have bound down the nations of that
race: or to rise above the common cloud of darkness that still broods
over them.” – Harry Elmer Barnes.
• It is vain to deny that Black people are an inferior race – very far
inferior to Europeans. They have learned in slavery all that they know
in civilization. When first brought from the country of their origin,
they were naked savages and where they have been left to their own
• “If their understanding is not of a different nature from ours, it is at least
greatly inferior. They are not capable of any great application, or
association of ideas, and seem formed neither for the advantages nor
abuses of philosophy” – Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), 1756.
• “The blacks, whether originally a distinct race or made distinct by time and
circumstances, are naturally inferior to the whites in the endowments of
both the body and the mind. There never was a civilized nation of that
complexion…nor even any individual eminent either in action or
speculation, no ingenious manufacturers among them, no arts, no
sciences” – David Hume, 1761.
• “Our assailants are numerous, and it is indispensable that we should meet
the assault with vigor and activity. Nothing is wanting but manly discussion
to convince our own people at least, that in continuing to command the
services of the slaves, they violate no law, divine or human” Edgar Allen
• “It is vain to deny that the Blacks are an inferior race – very far inferior to
• “I will say then, that I am not or ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the
social and political equality of the white and black races. That I am not, nor ever have
been, in favor of making jurors or voters of Negroes, not of qualifying them to hold
office, nor to intermarry with white people, and I will say in addition to this, that there is
a physical difference between the white and black races, which will ever forbid the two
races living together on terms of social and political equality. And as such as they cannot
so live, while they do remain together, there must be a position of Superior and Inferior,
and I as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to
the white race – Abraham Lincoln, 1858.
• “The Negro is incapable of contemplating any objective entity such as God or Law.
Nothing remotely human is to be found in the Negro’s character” – George Wilhelm
Friedrich Hegel, 1820.
• “The social, moral, and political as well as the physical history of the Negro race bears
strong testimony against them: it furnishes the most undeniable proof of their mental
inferiority. In no age or condition has the real Negro shown a capacity to throw off the
chains of barbarism and brutality that have long bound down the nations of that race, or
to rise above the common cloud of darkness that still broods over them…The blacks are a
race of children, requiring assistance, industrial training, and the development of selfcontrol” – Harry Elmer Barnes, 1925.
• “My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the
course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to
their strength. That those tribes cannot exist surrounded by our
settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have
neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of
improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their
condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and
without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control
them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances” – Andrew
Jackson, US President, 1829-1837.
• “Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted
upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the
Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a
certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in
indolence and nakedness.” — Mahatma Gandhi, 1896.
• “The yellow race is the exact opposite of the Negroid variety. The yellow man has
little physical energy, and is inclined to apathy…His desires are feeble, and his
will-power rather obstinate than violent. He tends to mediocrity in everything. He
does not dream or theorize; he invents little, but can appreciate and take over
what is useful to him. The yellow races are thus superior to the black. Every
founder of a civilization would wish his middle class to consist of such men. But
no civilized society would be created by them; they cannot supply its nerve force,
or set in motion the springs of beauty and action” – Joseph Arthur Comte de
• “We come now to the white peoples. These are gifted with reflective energy, or
rather with an energetic intelligence. They have a feeling for utility, but in a sense
far wider and higher, more courageous and ideal, than the yellow races; a
perseverance that takes account of obstacles and ultimately finds a means of
overcoming them; a greater physical power, an extraordinary instinct for order,
not merely as a guarantee of peace and tranquility but as an indispensable means
of self-preservation. At the same time, they have remarkable, even extreme love
of liberty, and are openly hostile to the formalism under which the Chinese are
glad to vegetate, as well as the strict despotism which is the only way of
governing the Negro” – Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, 1848.
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