Eurocentric epistemology facilitates racism.

From the food we eat, to the sports we relish and what we learn in educational institutions; virtually all of our empirical accounts of these things are lauded to Western European  origins.

Which is not necessarily true. For instance when we think of the first physician i.e. doctor you think Hippocrates duh… “Hippratic oath” is the oath taken by doctors all around the world in his honour to fulfil and uphold the ethics as well as standards of the discipline of medicine.

Hippocrates was a Greek physician who  according to Greek text dedicated his life from (c.460 BC to c. 375 BC)  to the discipline of learning and curing illness. During the era of classic Greece (Age of Pericles) if you were Greek and wanted healing he was the go-to person.  However long before this Hippocrates (as seen below):


There were African manuscripts found in Egypt  and  Timbuktu. Hesy-Ra during Ancient Egypt in its 3rd dynasty was not only the royal physician to the Pharoh but also the pioneer of anesthesia. Imotep often portrayed in Hollywood media as an evil and vindictive sourcerer. Remember The Mummy?


Contrary to popular belief he is  much more than a malicious resurrected mummy. However, according to  Egyptian remains or statues or ornaments dedicated to him in his honour; he probably looked more like this:


Imothep’s accomplishments are extensive but here is a brief overview as per images from the book Imhotep the African: Architect of the Cosmos written by   Egyptologist Robert Bauval and  astrophysicist Thomas Brophy.P_ImaniEnterprises_Poster_Imhotep

According to historian Philip  True Jr. between 2850 B.C. to 525 B.C. the Egyptians voyaged across the Mediterranean and Egyptian knowledge soon became the basis of  Greek epistemology. In addition, Encyclopedia Britannica included that “evidence afforded by Egyptian and Greek texts support the view that Imhotep’s reputation was very respected in early times of 3000 BC.” Philip  True Jr. also adds, “Imhotep’s teachings were  aslo absorbed into Greek culture but the Greeks were determined to assert that they were the originators, Imhotep was forgotten for thousands of years and a legendary figure, Hippocrates, who came 2000 years after Imothep became known as the Father of Medicine.”

Sir William Osler,  an exceptional physician of the 19th century claimed the following: “Imhotep diagnosed and treated over 200 diseases, 15 diseases of the abdomen, 11 of the bladder, 10 of the rectum, 29 of the eyes, and 18 of the skin, hair, nails and tongue. Imhotep treated tuberculosis, gallstones, appendicitis, gout and arthritis. He also performed surgery and practiced some denistry.”

Why do Sir William Osler’s claims matter? Well, as seen below he was a world-renowned physician of the 1800s himself linked, to even then, prestigious medical institutions like John Hopkins. Basically, he was a big deal but what was even a bigger deal during the era of slavery which was the 1800s. Accrediting an African like Imothep to sophisticated advancements in medical knowledge was a bold and controversial statement.  According to the author of Sir Osler’s  biography, Michael Bliss, who wrote A Life in Medicine most of  Sir Osler’s break throughs were through the exploration of Imothep’s methods alongside other Greek physicians who “modified” Imotheps concepts to suit the Greek context.Image_Simcoe02

The representation of Imotep as a sourcerer in mainstream media through cinema entertainment is problematic. Not only does it reinforce stereotypes of “dark magic” in Africa which was part of European propaganda about Africa as long ago as the Ancient Roman era.  It also fuelled fetishization of African individuals as agents of dark magic. With very little historical accuracy on Imothep  provided in The Mummy;   false information (even as entertainment) to global audiences represents a reduced version of what Imothep historically achieved. By asserting European epistemology as the subject of interest “exposing dark magic” of “the dark continent” and reproducing false stereotypes of Ancient times in Africa being “magical” i.e. fictitious & not credible. When actual impactful scientific advancements were made. Thus creating a dismissive narrative towards any significant leadership or science to have ever occured in Africa.


With regards to what we eat as people and the types of food we associate to certain European countries the origins are also neglected.

FALLACY: Pasta comes from Italy.

italian pasta

Actually,  according to  the Macaroni Journal, by the Association of Food Industries , they stated that pasta was brought to Italy by Marco Polo from China during his expedition there. During the Yuan Dynasty from 1271 to 1368.

my creation

Yes,  that’s right the Chinese created noodles a type of pasta which even before Marco Polo got his hands on it had diverse variations like macaroni. Unfortunately as usual, the European “explorer” gets the credit even “Macaroni” named after him with additional financial benefits for generations to come.

With that said the Western prejudicial stereotype of China being the manufacturer of “counterfeits” should be laid to rest already. It is not fake product if it was yours to begin with.

Soccer, sorry to break it to you Euroleague or rather UEFA fans, the sport also originated from China. During the Han dynasty of 2nd and 3rd BC. During which soccer was being played with the kicking of small leather balls into nets as a recreational sport. The sport spread through cultural exchange that was the byproduct of European global imperialism through violent colonisation.

Ultimately, through the Eurocentric domination of knowledge European colonialists were able to control the narrative of information about having superior cultural identity.  A culture that was the “modified” off of  other indigenous knowledge found in ancient Africa and Asia. Most of the current disciplines in science, medicine, technology and art mostly praise and globally acknowlege individuals who were originally from somewhere in Europe. These include Plato, Aristotle and Hippocrates during the BC era later  Galileo Galilee states that the earth actually revolves around the sun and not vice versa. A fact that was familiar with other non-European nations way before then too. During the renaissance Isaac Newton gets credit for “discovering gravity” to this day Newton is an actual unit of measurement. Reinforcing the narrative of “look, European countries are so great, they have genuises to prove it”. When in actuality the information was borrowed and does not originally belong to the Western World.

Thus encouraging false ideologies of “white is right” that were characterized by the emergence of  white supremist knowledge claims like Eugenics during the early 19th century. That were used to justify the ill-treatment of people of colour during slavery and colonialism to either force assimilation into Eurocentric cultural concepts of being “civilized” or altogether oppress people of colour into slavery. Which led to identifying non-Europeans as “less smart” and therefore less human and need of “civilisation” particularly characterized by Francis Galton in 1883 who even claimed that Africans were apes. See the image below from Francis Galton’s 1910  journal called Eugenic  Qualities of Primary Importance:


Another instance of  similar claims, Australian natives the Aborigines (naturalized inhabitants of Australia) in 1967 were classified as part of the “Fauna and Flora” of the land i.e. the plants and wildlife of spaces occupied by Aboriginal people.  European colonialists from Britain that settled in Australia (that were given authority by the decree of  Queen Elizabeth II) had denied the Aborigines the status of personhood thus not recognizing them as human through the Flora and Fauna Act of 1967 that was only recently repealed in 1997.

eli gaborigines

Over many centuries people of colour even adopted European knowledge claims as their own and still do without question in school through textbooks, clothes and ideas of modernity. Ultimately, Eurocentric knowledge claims facilitate an expectation of forced assimilation from people of colour which have global implications of overt or covert racism. The video below, will draw on materials from both the United States of America and South Africa. The black diaspora endures  similarities of oppression inflicted by the dominant white narrative on a global scale. See how it plays out in the short clip.












William Osler: A life in medicine. By Michael Bliss. New York, Oxford University Press 2012.

Imothep the African: Architect of the Cosmos. By Robert Bauval and Thomas Brophy. San Francisco, Disinformation Books Ltd.

Image sources

Imothep the African: Architect of the Cosmos. By Robert Bauval and Thomas Brophy. San Francisco, Disinformation Books Ltd.


*I generate my own memes through:



One thought on “Eurocentric epistemology facilitates racism.

  1. Sebe says:

    This just highlights how long the problem has been going on for. In fact there are many more things that could be listed here.

    But now that we know, now that we are a generation which has a voice, what do we do?

    I always say that the youth of 1976 had their fight cut out for them. Our fight is to teach self-love to every black child.

    Great read Mbali. Thank you.


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