Sorry. I am not a “humanist.”

I attempt in all my interactions with other human beings to be humane. If I am able and it is warranted, I try to be humanitarian. This is the charge of God as well as central to my own political and ideological commitments. In my estimation, none of that has to do with Eurocentric “humanism” or “humanist” philosophy which I believe to be an ideological ruse. Eurocentric humanist philosophy, besides being rooted in essentialism and Platonism, argues that there are these things known as “human rights,” which we presumably acquire as a function of our biological humanity. That is a fine IDEA. But it has no foundation in REALITY. In Eurocentric REALITY, rights are extended and maintained and withdrawn, as the case may be, as a result of the exercise of power. They do not exist as a functions of our biology but as functions of our social power, individual and collective, to compel them from society. Those who have relatively less power in this matrix, find their “rights” minimal, fleeting in duration, and severely limited in scope. Therefore the pronouncement of humanism in the context of social injustice is tantamount to a surrender to the status quo. Every social justice worker must strive to be humane and humanitarian, for this is central to their political success at achieving justice. But they must, in so doing, avoid Eurocentric liberal “humanism” which says in effect, we are all equal as humans when it is not that way anywhere in the Eurocentric world and when that world is ideologically oriented to prevent exactly the kind of non-humanist political interventions that would bring about social justice.

For example, take the “right to life.” Certainly as Jefferson said in his Eurocentric humanism, we have the right to life as the foundation for all the others. Yet, police brutality destroys that life in practice. All the arguments about the physical humanity of Afrikans will make no difference in that situation. What will is the creation and maintenance of countervailing collective power that will stop or at least severely discourage the forces arrayed against the idea of Afrikan life from taking it. When those forces are securely established, universally recognized, and effective, THEN we may speak intelligent of an Afrikan “right to life” in Babylon.


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