Afrocentric and Womanist Ideologies
This chapter analyzes the relationship between Afrocentrism and womanist theology. Womanist theology serves as a counterdiscourse to black liberation theologies that do not attend to the particular ways in which women are oppressed, and to feminist theologies that ignore acts of racial injustice encountered by women of color. Afrocentric ideology is a counterdiscourse to Eurocentric thought. However, in certain manifestations, Afrocentrism relies heavily upon patriarchal readings of the Bible and sexist approaches to black cultural politics. The leadership of the First Afrikan Church is gradually introducing womanist theology as a counterdiscourse to those dynamics of female marginalization and oppression. The chapter examines Afrocentric and womanist ideologies' places of intersection, agreement, and contradiction in terms of gendered biblical interpretations as well as the expectations of gender behavior within the lives of the members. Through a consideration of how much Afrocentric ideology and womanist theology do and do not in fact conflict within the belief systems of the congregation, the chapter also measures the possibility of church members incorporating both perspectives. In so doing, it provides an example of the negotiation of and possible reconciliation between competing conceptualizations of black identity.
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