The black and white political paradigms
- black paradigms; African-American studies; political science; American politics
Instead of observing from a black perspective, we think in terms of the dominant paradigm and blame blacks and the Third World for lagging behind the USA, for they are the problem for not “doing like we do.” Why do Third World countries have such difficulties? The article “The Responsibility of the Black Political Scientist to the Black Community” suggests a black-white adversarial relationship, particularly in the USA, with black interests unfairly represented and the white, Western European, capitalistic point of view dominant. Dr. Mack Jones perceives the black paradigm's development is largely ignored by current political science
approaches. Jones states: “...few areas of politics today...reflect the plight of blacks, especially in the United States, and we must change our approaches to political science” Some Western European theories relate little to black problems because whites are in power, stereotypically approaching African-American problems, surfacing the dilemma of applying a Euro-Centric viewpoint to black problems. A black perspective can show gaping holes in these theories, pointing out negative aspects of the prevailing white paradigm. The core argument is that there is no black paradigm that is perceived as being equally comparable to the white paradigm. The black paradigm can serve as a useful tool in that it can point out the many faults of the capitalist, European-American system.
Furthermore, a black paradigm serves an important function in getting to the heart of black issues, seeking to empower blacks in their struggles for equal status. When one thinks of how the black paradigm is perceived as being subordinate to the white one, we are puzzled to understand that such a paradigm is even different from the current American foundations in political science. Who says that there is a dominant paradigm that reflects mostly white, Western European ways of thinking? The current paradigm may explain and solve the mystery of an emergent black paradigm in the USA. To me, there is no perfect theory or paradigm. Perhaps even the black paradigm can be applied to issues facing Asian or Hispanic communities, or even those of whites in certain aspects.
How do we resolve this black paradigm issue? Across the board, adding black scholarly material strengthens alternative viewpoints. We think this assists us, as students with diverse backgrounds, to understand issues surrounding the black community, not only in the USA, but Africa as well.