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[Xmca-l] The illusion of cultural authenticity

Message from Francine:
I have been following the discussion of 'black underachievement'and have a few thoughts to share. 
(1) The overgeneralization inherent in the vary term 'black underachievement'is dismissive of black academic achievement. I would prefer to use the termblack academic achievement gap. 
(2) Polarizing the discussion into black vs. white, people of color vs. whites, colonialism vs. indigenous, capitalism vs. the oppressed, only exasperatesantagonisms. [If one's agenda is to promote open conflict to achieve revolutionthat is one thing, and any discourse is actually a diatribe]
Polarized thinking can help to define the thesis and anti-thesisin a dialectic but it will not in and of itself lead to any synthesis or emergentconceptual framework. Of course,  the dialectical model I refer to is the Eurocentric, 19th Century thought of Hegel so it can be dissed on that basis.
(3)The movement to identify the roots of indigenous non-Western cultures andbuild new emergent cultural frameworks to replace Western capitalism, colonialism,and all vestiges of any European culture is based on an illusion. It assumesthat indigenous culture has some ahistorical defining characteristics, andthat one can identify these if one goes back to the precolonial roots of the 'indigenous culture'.
I think XMCA had brief discussion some time ago about the creation of nationalidentity or ethnic identity. This is such an emotionally charged topic for somepeople, that the very suggestion that cultures evolve is threatening.For example, the black population of Haiti is not the indigenous population ofHaiti and while most African slaves  may have come from a specific part ofAfrica, they surely represented several different African tribal cultures.
(4) Contemporary academic achievement require a specific skill set consisting of reading and writing literacy, basic to higher level math skills, computer literacy,basic to higher level scientific reasoning, and some knowledge of world history and humanities. What does this mean for indigenous people who did not have a writtenlanguage prior to contact with literate cultures (perhaps European, Arabic, Persian, Chinese)? 
For example, the Russians had no written language until the Byzantine missionaries,Saints Cyril and Methodius, formulated the Cyrillic alphabet for them. And, the Russiansof Eastern Europe where not one indigenous people but the Rus (the Norsemen fromScandanvia, i.e., Vikings) and the more indigenous Slavic populations.To be accuratethe Norsemen did use the Runes as script. [Oh, by the way the word slave derives from Slav because they were so frequently enslaved en masse during Turkish and TarTar invasions.]

(5) My work on Cultural Synergy from a Vygotskian Perspective is ongoing.