Afrocentrism and the Neoliberal Ethos
This chapter examines the ideological transformation of Pan African nationalism from the late 1970s through the early twenty-first century. The proliferation of black nationalist schools in the last quarter of the twentieth century signaled the survival of some Black Power ideas. It also demonstrated how social movements may be stripped of oppositional meaning. By the 1980s, many Afrocentric models embodied a brand of black nationalism that equated symbolism with struggle while eschewing systemic political transformation. Some independent black institutions collaborated with conservative proponents of educational vouchers and charter schools, a sign of the symbiotic relationship between bourgeois identity politics and the corporate establishment. In the face of such accommodationism, organs such as Northern California’s Oakland Community School and Jackson, Mississippi’s Black and Proud Liberation School strove to re-energize radical traditions of alternative education.
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