My Thoughts on Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan (Dec. 31, 1918 – March 19, 2015)

Have you ever read a book from an African scholar and wondered why it was acclaimed? Have you ever heard an African scholar speak and become embarrassed? Well that’s how I felt about Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan.

Thus, when I heard he passed away on the 19th of March 2015, I was not sad, I was indifferent.

I have been encouraged to read Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan’s books. However, I have never taken a liking to his style nor the premise of his writings.

I have to admit, I am not interested in evidence showing African people supposedly created and practiced Abrahamic religions. Well, at least not how he narrates it. I found  Dr. Ben’s theories and narration of ancient history listless and pedantic. Dr. Ben was no Dr. Amos Wilson.

Amos Wilson 1

On that note, the main reason I am indifferent to Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan’s death is the amount of dedication many pseudo African nationalist, i.e., mulatto Seti, Afrisynergy, Saneter, Polight also known as the conscious community have placed on his work.

Also, all those negatives being said, Dr Ben was an African man who affected African people in NYC and beyond. When so many people admire someone, there must be a reason?

Nonetheless, although I did not ascribe or gravitate to his work, I wanted to discuss Dr. Ben. What makes his work relevant?

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27 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan (Dec. 31, 1918 – March 19, 2015)

  1. My favorite authors are probably Amos Wilson,Bobby Wright and John Henrick Clarke. Those were my main three. I’ve read about five books by Yosef Ben-Jochannan. I have nothing against the man. I think he did love his people. And he did have a lot of knowledge and did a lot of studying. I think people like him because of the book Africa Mother of Western Civilization. At least that’s what many people tell me. I personally liked Black Man of the Nile a little better. But he believed blacks were the original Jews. Which has been debated many times. But this is the reason many Hebrew Israelites look up to him. I think the conscious community admire authors that put in a lot of work even if they may disagree with many of that person’s ideologies. I could be wrong.

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    1. “I think the conscious community admire authors that put in a lot of work even if they may disagree with many of that person’s ideologies.”

      I disagree with this since there are many who put in work, whose work is extremely relevant yet are not nearly as acclaimed as those whose works are clearly far less relevant. It’s usually the same TYPES of scholars who are most beloved. Look at the mulatto Booker T. Coleman, a fraud often labeled “master teacher” without any outstanding scholarly or factually-based work.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My problem with Coleman is he has accepted some white woman has a teacher. He even gave her a Kemetic name. He’s a had a feud with Irritated Genie for the last few months because of this. Genie is furious with Coleman. I’ll see if I can find the woman’s name. I’ll put up a link if I can find it.

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      2. He’s been a fraud and pseudo scholar from the beginning. This has little to do with his relationship with the white woman (which I don’t condone). His “work” is just plain garbage.

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  2. I’ve only ever thumbed through Ben-Jochannan’s books — never read any. In his lectures though, he seems to consistently aggregate historical African superlatives from a wide range of literature. That’s gratifying for me, and that’s the value I’ve always taken from them. It’s also no slight task (not to mention the field work he was said to have done).

    He’s a great man. RIP.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I appreciate Dr. Ben’s work. He spent over 30 year doing field work to educate our people. I’ve never read his books but i used to watch some of his lectures.

    RIP to him for his devotion to our people.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Ben but I also feel too many pseudo-nationalists promote scholars like Dr. Ben for all the wrong reasons. It’s an endless emphasis on how great we were instead of how we became great and how we plan to become greater. Dr. Ben himself was a very good scholar but I think what separates and makes Amos Wilson the greatest of all-time is that he had such remarkable vision and an extraordinary brain capable of anything. I believe as time passes and more of his life’s work comes out over the next couple of years, others will begin to see the same I’m stating here.

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    1. One other thing I can say about Dr. Ben is that he did in fact play a major role in popularizing and pushing forward the African-centered “movement” during its early days. He and Dr. Clarke are probably the most beloved scholars from that era.

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    2. What I find amazing is the work, books, and lectures currently available by Dr. Amos N. Wilson have not been adopted in totality as a template to educate, socialize and empower African people. As for why African people do not focus on the “How” instead of the “When”. The lack of direction and focus is an indication of our weak social relations which destroy our ability to seek “how” solutions so as to work as teams to solve them.

      ACBN seeks to fill an ethical void that causes weak social relations in the African collective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s about time we created a moral & ethical code of conduct. I think that’s something we can do collectively right away. What are some of the moral & ethical precepts and tenets you think we need to adopt?

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  5. Brainstorming, I would suggest:

    1) A zero tolerance attitude towards out-of-wedlock births

    2) Males would not be allowed to marry and have children until they had a skill that would enable them to raise a family

    3) Politeness

    4) Ban on sexual suggestive or pornographic material.

    5) Homosexuality, pedophila and all other depraved behavior would be punished

    6) Manhood and womanhood would be rewarded

    So many ideas moving through my head right now in regards to how best to create and promote an old / new African Ethical code and system

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Bhekizitha and @TheThinkingAfrican86,

      What is the object of writing ethics lists here? Is the list meant to be used (offline, not on the internet) by a group in the near-term (months from now not years)? Or is it meant as a theoretical exercise for an African future?

      I don’t mean it as a criticism, I’m genuinely asking. There’re a few points I’ve been considering contributing here, but I wanna make sure I do it at the best/most effective time.

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      1. It’s nothing official or set in stone. The purpose is to make clear what is needed: practical ethical standards by which we hold ourselves and act accordingly as we deal with one another. In the future though we will need to make public a concise list of tenets so there is no confusion about what is expect of each of us. Besides moral and ethical precepts, we’ll also need to develop basic protocols (most likely privately developed) and other measures which will ensure group and individual personal integrity.

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      2. These standards would apply to those involved as ACBNs and not necessarily all Africans in general (not at first, at least). The idea is to make organization and social cooperation more efficient and effective. We want to be running like a well-oiled machine and not like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

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      3. Okay, thank you guys for those helpful replies and apologies for the late response.

        There are at least two points that I think are essential RE: African World relationship building (both working relationships and personal relationships):

        1. Not Assuming Motive

        I think it’s essential to deal with fellow Africans in good faith, and absolutely avoid any stance of preemptive or precautious presumptions. And specifically, no presumptuous hostility, contempt, or aggression, and no mind-reading: no presuming to know others’ values or motives based on their language, accent, style and fashion, place of origin, and similar.

        2. Not Infantilizing African Men and Women

        I’m always struck by the brilliance and ingenuity of African men and women, so I think it’s never a good move to assume that fellow Africans are unintelligent, uninformed, thoughtless, weak, fearful, unambitious, or anti-African when they do things differently than oneself would think to do. In such cases, I think it’s far better to assume fellow Africans know something about the particular effort or situation that oneself does not, and to find appropriate times to speak with such Africans and ask questions about why and how their judgement was exercised differently than oneself would expect.

        I’ve been considering a third and related point for a while, and I’m feeling more and more lately that it may be essential:

        3. End the Dozens

        The game is childish, distracting, and contributes to heightened and sustained hostility and apprehension in African environments and relationships (working and personal). My position is that the clear genius of African boys and girls (not to mention men and women) exhibited by the game does not outweigh its costs and risks to African interests, and African men and women are well-equipped to find and design alternative cognitive, debate, and criticism exercises and diversions to channel African boys’ and girls’ extraordinary talents.

        These points, like those raised by Bhekizitha and TheThinkingAfrican86, have large implications for many local and global African interests and politics, and so their implementation should be done with a high degree of care and conscientiousness.

        My position is that, RE: African World interests, the best way to implement essential values/ethics is often by process or ritual. Through regular and consistent practice (ritual) and habit, people come to adopt underlying values, ethoses, and presumptions as their own. Whereas the risk of doing this sort of values/ethics exercise only theoretically and preemptively is that such rules lists may become solutions searching for problems, and could leave a team and operation hamstrung and less able to respond to the actual men and women involved and the particulars of any given moment and circumstance.

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      4. “I’m always struck by the brilliance and ingenuity of African men and women, so I think it’s never a good move to assume that fellow Africans are unintelligent, uninformed, thoughtless, weak, fearful, unambitious, or anti-African when they do things differently than oneself would think to do. In such cases, I think it’s far better to assume fellow Africans know something about the particular effort or situation that oneself does not, and to find appropriate times to speak with such Africans and ask questions about why and how their judgement was exercised differently than oneself would expect.”

        I agree but I caution us not to be uncritical of an African’s behavior when it becomes clear that such behavior is detrimental to group interests.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. 7) Remain true to your word and commitments. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If for some reason you are unable to meet prior commitments, accept full responsibility for your failure to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great tenet.

        It is important Africans develop functional social behaviors. This can only be done if our relations with one another improve; thus, a new ethos is needed.

        We have discussed dozens upon dozens of reason why Africans are not a sovereign collective. One able to protect their borders, markets and themselves. Many of these reasons are valid.

        However, we are now at a point that there is a lack of vision.

        ACBN is not a insular, illogical, disconnected with reality ideology; thus, I thought it would be a great idea to get some thoughts on what people believe is ethically lacking in the African community through this public forum (internet).

        Liked by 1 person

    3. This one I got from “The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child” (second edition, to be specific)

      8) Do not use the term “black” or “African” (or anything racially derogatory) as part of invective or as preface to a degrading statement about another African person.

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      1. Thank you for raising this one. I think it is related to use of anti-African hatespeech (ni***r, ni**a, coon, et al), which should also be added to the list. The same thing with ‘negro,’ which Bhekizitha and several other commenters here use as a form of invective. It always reads to me as a soft form of ‘ni***r.’

        This language issue may be the one area where I differ politically with for instance Chinweizu (who gave a recent talk prominently featuring such language: http://www.abibitumikasa.com/forums/showthread.php/135119-IAS-Chinweizu-at-IAS!-Same-Venue-DIFFERENT-TIME!-Something-revolutionary-is-going-on-at-the-Institute-of-African-Studies!-03-26-2015-10-00-AM-11-30-AM), and perhaps also Chancellor Williams, and one of the few where I differ politically with Bhekizitha/Nubian Times.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. For anyone interested in the funeral arrangements.

    DR. BEN WILL LIE IN STATE AT ABYSSINIAN BAPTIST CHURCH
    ON THURSDAY APRIL 9, 2015 FROM 4PM – 9PM…

    THE HOMEGOING SERVICE WILL ALSO BE HELD
    AT ABYSSINIAN BAPTIST CHURCH ON FRIDAY APRIL 10, 2015

    ABYSSINIAN BAPTIST CHURCH IS LOCATED AT
    132 WEST 138th STREET
    BETWEEN ADAM CLAYTON POWELL BLVD AND MALCOLM X BLVD
    IN THE VILLAGE OF HARLEM.

    THE REPAST WILL BE HELD AT THE NATIONAL BLACK THEATER AFTER THE BURIAL ON APRIL 10th AT 2PM.

    ALL DONATIONS AND CARDS SHOULD BE SENT TO:
    MS. RUTH JOCHANNAN (OR JOHANNES) DAUGHTER OF DR. BEN
    955 WALTON AVENUE – SUITE 2G
    BRONX, NY 10452

    HE IS NOW WITH THE ANCESTORS WORKING FROM THE OTHER SIDE. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

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