Title: Being in and out of Africa: The Impact of Duality of Ethiopianism
Author: Asafa Jalata (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
Published: Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 40, No. 2 (2009), pp. 189-214 | On April 29, 2015, a version of this paper was presented as a seminar at the University of Botswana.
Keywords: Ethiopianism, racism, colonialism, Abyssinia, Ethiopia, Oromo, Habashas (Amhara-Tigray), Africanness, Blackness, state terrorism, Afrocentricity, Oromummaa (culture identity nationalism), self-determination, multinational democracy
This article critically examines how the duality inherent in the concept of Ethiopianism shifts back and forth between claims of a “Semitic” identity when appealing to the White, Christian, ethnocentric, occidental hegemonic power center and claims of an African identity when cultivating the support of sub-Saharan Africans and the African diaspora while, at the same time, ruthlessly suppressing the history and culture of non-Semitic Africans of the various colonized peoples, such as Oromos. Successive Ethiopian state elites have used their Blackness to mobilize other Africans and the African diaspora for their political projects by confusing original Africa, Ethiopia, or the Black world with contemporary Ethiopia (former Abyssinia) and at the same time have allied with Euro-American powers and practiced racism, state terrorism, genocide, and continued subjugation on the indigenous Africans who are, today, struggling for self-determination and multinational democracy. Exposing the racist discourse of Ethiopianism and liberating the mentality of all Africans and the African diaspora from this “social cancer” must be one of the tasks of a critical paradigm of Afrocentricity. Developing Oromummaa (Oromo culture, identity, and nationalism), the Oromo national movement engages in such a liberation project.