Between fiction and fact: further reflections on Jonathan Chimakonam’s critique of Kwesi Tsri on blackness and race
In his [Africans are not Black: The Case for Conceptual Liberation], Kwesi Tsri relies extensively on myths and non-fictional narratives to dictate the origin of the racial disparagement of Afro-Americans and Africans from south of the Sahara. Owing to the synonymy between ‘black’ and ‘Africa(n)’ as well as the derogatory symbolism in the former that fuels the latter, Tsri submits the need to disassociate Africans from the concept, ‘black.’ Upon a critical conversation with Tsri’s text however, Chimakonam discerns three flaws. Granted, the objections are salient, I augment herein, one of Chimakonam’s critiques – the exclusion by Tsri, of nonfictional or scientific texts on the race discourse. Whereas I agree with Chimakonam that both the fictional and non-fictional accounts on race are pertinent for intellectual balance in Tsri’s disquisition, I further suggest that in most cases, non-fictional or scientific theories on race are undergirded by the prejudice initiated by mythical and/or fictional narratives. I substantiate my thesis, relying on Karl Popper’s evolutionary epistemology, with 21st century science admission that human genetic diversity cannot be captured by scientific theories of race.
Keywords: Africa, Blackness, Jonathan Chimakonam, Karl Popper, Kwesi Tsri