What is "Eurocentrism"? (A to Z)

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Wed Sep 29 16:34:30 MDT 1999

For me, and this is entirely tangental to the discussions on "Eurocentrism"
that I frankly have not been following too closely, Eurocentrism means:

a) Characterizing all economic thought originating from "Euro" sources
(includes US, Australia, NZ) as "analysis" while characterizing non-Euro
analysis as "thought" (a la the distinction between thought and analysis
made by Schumpeter et al);

b) failure to analyze and incorporate any concepts or lessons from non-Euro
or pre-Euro societies into analysis of present-day and past Euro and
non-Euro societies;

c) referring to present-day Euro capitalist systems as "democracies" and
tracing the origins of "democracy" to Greece and Rome;

d) attempting to "universalize" concepts specific to Euro systems by
missapplying them--grafting--to pre-capitalist, non-capitalist or non-Euro
socioeconomic formations and modes of production and/or holding them up as
"universal standards" to which non-Euros ought to strive;

e) summary dismissal of, ignorance of, failure to seriously consider, making
caricatures of or demonizing non-Euro sources of thought and analysis in
literature, politics, economics, culture etc;

f) joining the words Euro or American or Western or capitalist on the one
hand, and the word "civilization" on the other hand implying that the two
words go together rather than being oxymoronic;

g) dismissing examples of Euro systems or individuals carrying out wholesale
genocide with reference to the need to "understand" in historical and
situational "context"-- outright or implicit rationalization;

h) reference to pre-capitalist, non-capitalist and non-Euro/non-capitalist
systems and societies as "primitive" and backward;

i) considering only Euro sources or "experts" as worthy of being heard or
read or invited to speak or qualified to teach etc;

j) inability/unwillingness to see Euro societies and issues through non-Euro
eyes and paradigms and/or the inability to see non-Euro societies and issues
through non-Euro eyes and paradigms;

k) seeing progress, growth and development only in narrow
materialistic/edifice/technology terms--the bigger the buildings, the more
"sophisticated" the technology, and the greater the volumes and varieties of
goods/services (regardless of the fact that they accrue to a privileged few)
the greater the "development" and "progress";

l) supporting Indian, African-American, and other non-Euro causes and issues
but telling your daughter or son not to dare bring a non-Euro home as a
marriage prospect;

m) accepting, spreading (even innocently) or reinforcing caricatures and
stereotypes about non-Euros that could be easily discovered to be
caricatures and stereotypes;

n) admiring the architecture, inventions and institutions of Greece and Rome
and knowing nothing about the architecture, inventions and institutions of
non-Euro societies;

o) being able to recount events, regimes, accomplishments and dates of Euro
history at-will, and knowing nothing about the same with reference to
non-Euro Peoples and societies;

p) believing that the word "Indian" came from Columbus heading for "India",
taking a wrong turn and misnaming as "Indian" the Indigenous Peoples he
found, enslaved and slaughtered; Also anyone who celebrates "Columbus Day"
without protest or a word of what Columbus was all about;

q) knowing the names and reputations of "great Euros" in history and not
being able to name any non-Euros beyond Poccahantas, Confucius, Sitting Bull
or Geronimo--and can't date even when any of them lived and what they did or
didn't do;

r) when dating historical events, uses B.C. and A.D.;

s) Refers to Lewis and Clark as "pioneers" and "explorers" rather than
front-men for genocide;

t) thinks Vine Deloria is a form of green plantlife commonly entwining
castles in Europe;

u)  Says he's sorry about all of the genocide and stolen lands in the past,
but that was past, and there is no connection between the past, present and
future--"past is past get over it";

v)  only values that which is written in tortured syntax, sees "science" and
"scientific method" only in linear and reductionistic terms, sees Indigenous
stories as cute and supernatural and superstitous rather than as complex
allegories about cause and effect and knows nothing about the date of
origination and accuracy of the Mayan, Jewish, Chinese and other calendars
vis-a-vis Julian and Gregorian calendars;

w) refers to American Indians as "Native Americans" or the first and "real"

x) refers to the "foundations" of the U.S. and its Constitution as Euro and

y) Reveres and venerates or refers to Thomas Jefferson as a "libertarian";

z) Refers to Asia as the "Orient" with "Orientals", and uses a world map
with the US or Europe in the center to give reference to North, East, South
and West; relative locations of all places are given in reference to the US
or Europe;

Jim Craven

James Craven
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
blkfoot5 at earthlink.net
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