The Fourth World Multiculturalis

The Fourth World Multiculturalis


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



We declare ourselves free to be fully Asian, Arab, and African within your midst, to

be less would make us subhuman in our own eyes.  We will no longer watch as

our children are raised without dignity or hope.



Books by Rose Ure Mezu

 Women in Chains: Abandonment in Love Relationships in the Fiction of Selected West African Writers (1994) / Songs of the Hearth (1993) /

Homage to My People (2004) / A History of Africana Women’s Literature (2004)

 Black Nationalists: Reconsidering Du Bois, Garvey, Booker T. & Nkrumah (1999) Chinua Achebe: The Man and His Works (2006)

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The Fourth World Multiculturalism as Antidote to Global Violence1

By Rose Ure Mezu


Redefinition of Stale Economic Nomenclatures:

In the essay, “The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast,” Amin Sharif introduces a central argument positing that historically, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist national liberation struggles were waged by people of the “Third World” against the First World Powers of Europe during the 1950s and ‘60s. “Third World” he explains acts as a term of euphuism meant to encompass the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  With the break-up of the “Second World” – the republics of the Soviet bloc, Capitalism and Socialism seem to have converged and merged into each other arguably rendering all the terms – First, Second and Third Worlds – non-relevant. 

Sharif’s argument leaves Cuba’s Fidel Castro standing as the last of the old style Third World revolutionaries.  In the vacuum of leadership created by the exit of China’s Mao Tse Tung and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah. Asia and Africa have subsequently dissolved into fragmented economic blocks.  Without devaluing the accomplishments of the peoples and leaders who waged the anti-colonial struggle within the Third World, and while still acknowledging that a lot of the objectives they fought for has been accomplished, continues Sharif, those in opposition to the “First World” necessarily  have to devise a new analysis that “will . . . determine how best to advance the struggle for peace and justice in the world,” especially for those existing outside the margins of economic and political power. Evidently, First, Second and Third Worlds have become stale nomenclatures.

Usually, discourses on matters of governance often pit the West (Europe and America) and non-Western blocs against each other because such discussions are often complicated by racial attitudes, the demand for cultural integrity, especially where issues of economics, family, and religion are integrally implicated.  Ideals of national pride, threats to Family and cultural authenticity become also challenged. Presently, the resultant clash of cultures has produced a world that is reeling in chaos, threatening to tumble into an abyss of interminable struggles, and disquietude. For ideological theorists and writers in the Humanities, this has vast implications on  the scope of which this essay sets out to explore.

In the past, with their creative imagination and as producers of literature, writers occupied an honorific and quasi-sacred role different from mere intellectuals who in a lesser capacity serve as critics.  But our postmodern world has witnessed the writer taking on, Edward Said would argue, “more and more of the intellectual’s adversarial attributes in such activities as speaking the truth to power, being a witness to persecution and suffering, supplying a dissenting voice in conflicts with authority, [interjecting Self in debates about] freedom of speech and censorship, truth and reconciliation” (“The Public Role of Writers and Intellectuals” 1).   And thus the role of the Intellectual who used to be the sole critic of power and society, and that special symbolic role of the writer have been amalgamated into one.  As a result, the postmodernist writer has become “both the observer and recorder of societal mores as well as critic and teacher” (Mezu, Chinua Achebe: The Man and His Works).  Consequently, in this age, the writer is no longer beyond appropriating the role of a critic by challenging gross social inequities entrenched in policies by global political institutions or economic hegemonies.  Chinua Achebe, Africa’s pre-eminent writer and essayist who in his works combines both roles clarifies this situation in his own words: 

It is clear to me that an “African creative writer”  who tries to avoid the big social and political issues of contemporary Africa will end up being completely irrelevant—like the absurd man in the proverb who leaves his burning house to pursue a rat fleeing from the flames [. . .] Take for instance the issue of racial inequality which—whether or not we realize it—is at the very root of Africa’s problems and has been for four hundred years. . . .  (Achebe, Morning Yet On Creation Day  78;  my emphasis)

Therefore, today’s writer feels sufficiently empowered to engage in the global discursive agenda.  

Consequently, this essay grounds itself on Postcolonial critical theories privileging writers, cultural theorists/critics such as Chinua Achebe, Edward Said, Fanon, Amin Sharif, and Ishmael Reed.  Achebe critiques Universalism as a Eurocentric trope that prescribes a limiting, carved-out space which renders natives of Non-Western countries objects instead of Subjects of their own cultural heritage. Achebe, Said, Fanon, and Reed theorize that the monocultural / universalist (read – ethnocultural) view of life has produced in most non-Western countries, a type of democratic political model directly in conflict with their communal/traditional and/or  religion-based styles of governance. The resulting socio-cultural and politico-economic disharmony has created a category of disenchanted, usually greedy, unpatriotic natives who owe neither identification nor allegiance to present Western-inspired styles of governance. 

Thus, many natives from the upper and middle classes of many postcolonial nations are too busy exploiting their own citizens to care for the poor underclass, or provide quality, selfless leadership.  Now, even if we disagree with Sharif’s central argument explained in the first paragraph and we then go on to presume the categories of First, Second and Third Worlds to still be in existence, the remaining exploited class can be termed—the Fourth World (as defined by Amin Sharif)—a category that shows remarkable similarities in their economic conditions irrespective of geo-cultural locations.  Consequently, this essay examines some of the concepts contained in the writings of Achebe, Said, Fanon, Sharif ,and Ishmael Reed and their implied or explicit call for a redefinition of such political nomenclatures since a global “Fourth World” seems to have emerged as the world’s suffering poor.  These writers’ theses show concern for this class, argue for an openness that calls for multiculturalism, or “transnationalism”— the term being  used as a critical term to describe the complex flow of culture emanating from the current constant mobility of people, monies, and ideas across national boundaries.  Rather than monoculturalism posing as a universalist ideology, the concepts of multiculturalism/transnationalism could provide viable options towards the attainment of world peace in an age of troubling globalization.  

Defined Postcolonial Critical Theories:

As technology shrinks global borders, the plight of the world’s exploited poor—the Fourth World—adopts a remarkable similarity that cuts across geographical boundaries.  It must be pointed out that the set of problems that colonized nations are presently grappling with, created by the end of colonial adventurism and rule, gave rise to postcolonial theories in sociology, philosophy, literature, and films. Literature written mostly in the 1970s by erstwhile colonized writers, or even by citizens of colonizing countries produced the critical implements of postcolonial theories.  For instance, the dilemma of forging a national identity led Achebe to develop the tradition of Cultural Nationalism; it also prompted Said’s theory of Orientalism—the literary / political discourse surrounding Middle Eastern peoples even though it originated in the West where Said was residing. 

Orientalism defined an ideology that depicts persons from the Orient as eccentrically exotic, backward, sensual, passive and separate as the non-Western Other; an individual considered inferior, conquerable and therefore to be rechristianized/civilized to accept the values of the dominant society.  Equally, Achebe believed that a putative “superior” culture to sustain its self-image must of necessity denigrate as “inferior” the culture it hopes to exploit, thus receiving moral justification for the economic rape of the African continent.  In “The African Writer and the Biafran Cause,” Achebe points out that “no one arrogates to himself the right to order the lives of a whole people unless he takes for granted his own superiority over those people. European colonizers of Africa had no difficulty in taking their own superiority for granted” (Morning Yet on Creation Day 79).

To illustrate further the thesis that racism embodies a set of behavioral attitudes needed for the West to control the non-white populations of the world, Cultural Historian Milton G. Allimadi singles out the Ethiopian/Italian 19th-century conflict to explain the origin of so much misrepresentation of Africa as inferior to justify the eventual rapacious appropriation of the Continent’s resources:

White writers flooded Europe and the United States with poisonous screeds on the barbarity and soullessness of Africans, preparing public opinion for the rape of the continent’s resources. “Explorers” with little knowledge of the geography begged Africans for directions to their next “discovery,” then were knighted for bringing the African interior under the sway of “Christian civilization.” But Ethiopia’s King Menelik II burst the European bubble, humiliating the Italians in battle.

Eleven years later, on the Abyssinian front (Ethiopia), the Italian ruler Francesco Crispi (a descendant of Machiavelli) defeated Menelik II, the Abyssinian monarch, in a major battle, and on February 2nd 1890, the N.Y. Times exulted:

Sooner or later, the powerful nation was destined to bring the savage tribe into abject  submission or demolish it utterly”.  .  .   “The justice of the cause had nothing to do with this foregone conclusion” (Black Agenda Report).

However, the Ethiopians regrouped and successfully defended themselves, forcing Italy to pay several million pounds as compensation before releasing the captured Italian soldiers.  Allimadi argues: “with a few more generals like Ethiopia’s Menelik II fighting against such as Italy’s General Menelik, the history of Africa could have taken a dramatically different course (Black Agenda Report).

Thus, like Achebe and others, Allimadi would go back to history to ground the charge that racism is at the bottom of the West’s relations with the Others. As Said has also explained, the non-Western Other is constructed as an irrational and morally backward being, “savage,” and without enlightenment. It follows then that as discursive theory, Postcolonialism stands in direct opposition to Eurocentrism which is interpreted as embodying in itself notions of geo-parochialism, cultural chauvinism, and an explicitly narrow construction of what constitutes civilization.  Edward Said would then explain:

My contention is that Orientalism is fundamentally a political doctrine willed over the Orient because the Orient was weaker than the West, which elided the Orient’s difference with its weakness. . . . As a cultural apparatus Orientalism is all aggression, activity, judgment, will-to-truth, and knowledge (Said, Orientalism 204).

Such a willful misrepresentation of the Other, Orientalism suggests, produced a racial policy of economic exploitation and politics of power, subjugation, and control.

Actually, such theoretical formulations have earlier precedence in Frantz Fanon who directly influenced the postcolonial theories of Said and Homi Bhabha.  Fanon’s 1956 letter of resignation as Head of the Psychiatry Department at the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria encapsulates his theory of the psychology of colonial domination, arguing that the colonial mission is incompatible with ethical psychiatric practice:

If psychiatry is the medical technique that aims to enable man no longer to be a stranger to his environment, I owe it to myself to affirm that the [native], permanently an alien in his own country, lives in a state of absolute depersonalization. . . . The events in Algeria are the logical consequence of an abortive attempt to decerebralize a people (Toward the African Revolution 53).

Fanon would eventually go beyond theoretical intellectual discourses to actively concretize his beliefs by fleeing to Tunisia and working openly with the Algerian independence movement.

Today, in the countries of Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world, the sufferings of vast multitudes as a result of war, famine, and ethnic/ religious intolerance claim Western colonial exploitation as a causative factor.  These casualties of aggression, interminable wars, and misrule in these cultural spaces also constitute the Fourth World, projecting a frightening prism where life has no meaning, where basic family structure is disrupted, and any cohesive, national framework rendered unworkable and where life is under constant threat of annihilation. 

While Said was more specifically preoccupied with the Orient around 1978, Achebe had by 1975 actually formulated his postcolonial ideas in what would be called Colonialist theory as articulated in his first body of essays, Morning Yet On Creation Day.  Therefore, Achebe’s postcolonialist theory precedes Said’s even as both their theories share considerable similarity. Early models like C. L. R. James and W. E. B. Du Bois have, either anticipated, drawn from, critiqued and/or applied postcolonial theory to their works. Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912) in his groundbreaking Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race (1887) recommends a ”retour aux sources” that would exalt the best features in African culture (such as adopting African names, emulating traditional African dress) and condemn emulating European culture indiscriminately.  Other figures like Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and many others have also in their works traced diasporic links between Africa and the new worlds. Achebe’s goal to re-educate peoples of African descent using his tradition-based stories speaks for itself:

. . . to help my society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-abasement. . . .  [f]or no thinking African [Black] can escape the wound on his soul . . . I would be quite satisfied if my novels (especially the ones I set in the past) did no more than teach my readers that their past—with all its imperfections—was not one long night of savagery from which the first European acting on God’s behalf delivered us (“The Novelist as a Teacher  “ in MYOCD 45).

Thus Achebe’s preoccupation is to bend the craft of writing to discover a new political discourse that would help construct a national identity, tackle issues of proper governance, while exploring both the nature of power, and the place and integrity of the human being within governance.  Achebe’s intent was to use his “son of the soil” narratives to dilute if not deflate the European Colonizer’s notion of superiority.  In an interview with Bill Moyers, Achebe “pooh-poohed” the supposed Western democratic ideals of governance as nothing but a model of unbridled tyranny, seeing that the European colonials neither consulted the natives nor were they accountable to them, but only sought to cart away the continent’s vast wealth.  And so, upon Independence, the West left no truly working model of democracy; nor did the departing colonizers take time to train in the right way the educated Africans to whom they were handing over. Rather, they sought to undercut these Western-trained elite in every possible way. 

The result was a democratic governing system that at core was at variance with the natives’ communal/moral ideals which traditionally integrated a cultural oneness where each was the brother’s keeper.  Closely tied to the disintegrating cultural space is the intrusion of the foreign powers’ postcolonial manipulation of the native economy.  In many post-Independence nations of Africa, there were no known or familiar moral-value codes to command the political allegiance of the governed, nor were there punitive measures with which the people empathized, or were able to accept.  And so, the natives owed no allegiance to this alien system, resulting in a “free-for-all” mentality, and massive corruption.  The helpless citizens of Africa have become the tragic casualties of unbridled corruption and massive mis-government by ruling native stooges manipulated by foreign Western powers.  

The many wars—internal and external—instigated by sheer greed  (see the movies—Blood Diamond and Hotel Rwanda), have produced unprecedented poverty levels within the populace whose plight is worsened by famine, the scourge of AIDS with its attendant difficulty in obtaining needed drugs, and lack of basic social amenities needed to improve the quality of life.  If Africa still constitutes the Third World, then these tragic victims of postcolonial misrule and foreign manipulation indeed constitute the Fourth World—a disempowered cadre with no proper tools to achieve for itself a life of quality, meaning, and/or dignity.  What subsists is a Fourth World in complete variance with its country’s power structure.  Interpretively, it should be assumed that this Fourth World encompasses an impoverished working class—a powerless underclass—additionally confronted with the reality that its flourishing middle class is either too impotent, or too comfortable to wish to help them.  And so Sharif argues that   

the middle class has little or no capacity to lead the majority of its Fourth World brothers and sisters in the struggle for economic, cultural, or political progress.  It will be the Fourth World middle class who will be the first to compromise, to integrate, and assimilate. They will rally the working masses to a false flag of  racial and class solidarity and then leave them standing beneath that banner when their goals are accomplished.

Fanon made a similar argument decades earlier, demonstrating his disgust with the greed and politicking of the comprador bourgeoisie in new African nations. The brand of nationalism espoused by these classes, and even by the urban proletariat is inadequate for total revolution, he argued, because such classes benefit from the economic structures of imperialism.  According to Fanon, true African revolution can only emerge from the peasants, or “fellaheen” – a term that is encompassed within the Fourth World.  Therefore, he insisted, peasants themselves should be at the vanguard of any revolution.

Ishmael Reed’s Critique of Universalism:

Since the Fourth World can therefore be defined as the powerless underclass of any nation, it follows that the affluent nations of the West possess within their societies a Fourth World that is underserved and underprivileged. These are made up of mostly descendants of Africans enslaved in America, and of generations of children (now citizens) of immigrants—African, Arabs and Asian—from former colonies of western nations.  For example, England had in the past experienced violent race riots from its Fourth World population.  In France, unrest in the impoverished suburbs of northeastern Paris, poverty and lawlessness of rundown big-city suburbs, and France’s immigration policy have combined to create ghettos for generations of locally-born citizens of North African and black African origin who suffer discrimination in housing, education and jobs. These feel cheated by France’s official promises of liberty, equality and fraternity. The desperateness of the situation prompted Manuel Valls, mayor of Evry, South of Paris, to say: “We’re afraid that what’s happening in Seine Saint Denis will spread.

[Read Lessons from France  / Paris Is Burning   /“The Pyres of Autumn”  / Responses to Jean Baudrillard.]  

We have to give these people a message of hope.” Muslim Village.  The very existence of these young people representing the underbelly of the French society exemplifies the introduction of non-Western peoples into the very heart of a post-modern world that lacks proper analysis by cultural theorists. By tracing their origin from the “Third World,” they now constitute an entirely new class of people that certainly do not fit within the “First World” nations in which they reside. As part of the Fourth World, they understand the workings of Western democracy and the trappings of modernity, but they do not benefit from the privileges.  Du Bois’s trope of Double Consciousness can justifiably be applied to their socio-economic and cultural malaise since “they are not wholly of their Mother Country nor are they full citizens of the post-modern West.”

For its part, the United States is still wrestling with how to make a greater white American culture accommodate and integrate African-Americans and other non-whites.  When in 2005 Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the appalling conditions of the Black working class and the poorest Blacks in the U.S. were revealed in graphic detail. This incident reopened the sore topic of the inability of  the poorest population to benefit from the affluence of the greater American society since plagued by crippling poverty, damaged by drugs, violence, imprisonment, and family dysfunctions. The totally deprived remain the Fourth World constituency living within an affluent First World. 

Thus enters Ishmael Reed with his Afro-based discourse and postcolonial poetics of Literary Neo-Hoodism, a trope Reed uses to offer viable tools with which to fight socio-economic exclusion.  His writings—usually humorously satiric—provide a multicultural, transnational perspective which he believes can empower individual/communal reconnection to Africa’s cultural and spiritual heritage and also serve the present global community well.  Reed’s Neo-Hoodism is a poetics fashioned through textual abrogation, subverting canonical characters, reconstructing iconical Western texts. 

All of Reed’s writings, especially Japanese by Spring (1993) are crafted to privilege multiculturalism over an “anti-intellectual” monoculturalism.  Linking multilingualism, multiculturalism and Globalism, Reed predicts the destruction of American economy by advocates of a unilingual, monocultural national policy which he considers too narrow and incapable of the kind of elasticity needed to promote a great global culture, says Reed.  His character in Japanese by Spring, Benjamin “Chappie” Puttbutt, for instance, shows the way of transnational cooperation by learning to speak Japanese and Yoruba—a Nigerian language. In fact, chagrined but reformed by the Japanese Dr. Yamato’s two month-old reign of terror, Crabtree the Classics professor now seeks to reform his Caucasian colleagues. 

[Yamato] was just giving us a dose of our own medicine. . . . For years, we’ve been saying that our traditions and our standards were universal, but Dr. Yamato has taught us that two can play at the game.  And Puttbutt . . . Thank you for opening my head. . . I was starving it. I was depriving it of intellectual nutrition; . . . this wonderful machine can take us to places beyond our wildest dreams. It was my stupid arrogance, my devotion to these standards that almost prevented me from going on this wonderful adventure.  Learning a new language and a new world. Discovering Yoruba. . . . I have learned a language that transports me to a culture that’s two thousand years old. Have they ever produced a Tolstoy?  They have produced Tolstoys. Have they produced a Homer. They have hundreds of Homers. We were just too lazy and arrogant to find out. . . . It is our silly racial pride that is preventing us from living in peace (Japanese by Spring 156).  

Reed’s novel Japanese by Spring therefore recommends a model of multicultural synthesis such as the flourishing one that rejuvenated 20th Century European Art—a rejuvenation which was achieved through borrowings from African Arts.  For Reed, whose literary motto is Writin’ is indeed Fightin,’ multiculturalism is quintessentially the basic step towards intercultural understanding for a troubled World tottering on the brink of disintegration.

Fourth World and Recipe for Global Peace

All the writers/theorists cited in this paper provide concrete recipes for the achievement of peace within and among nations.  Making a case for respect of cultural space, Chinua Achebe insists on cultural cum religious accommodation as a sine qua non for harmonious global living.  Within a setting of varied cultural groupings, the imposition of an absolutist, monocultural view of life breeds resentment and a disposition to foment violence in subjugated groups of minorities who grouped together, given time,  would constitute a majority.  Achebe reinforces this viewpoint by citing the pragmatism of the Igbos of Nigeria—a pragmatism that posits that “where one thing stands, something else can stand beside it.”  It is a worldview that makes room for the rights of other peoples of our one world to exist more so because theorists such as Francis Cress Welsing insists that the West constitutes a “tiny minority, fewer than one tenth of the people on the planet [if you put together] the Black, Brown, Red and Yellow people” (Africa Within). 

Summed up in the metaphor of the dancing masquerade who dances to all sides of the market square in other to see the entire crowd, this metaphor says that no one group has an absolute view of reality.  Interpretively, whenever any political authority, or any religion becomes universalist and indisputable, the result is sure to be tyranny over all others.  Said’s Orientalism equally argues for the rights of Others to experience equity in intercultural relations. Underlying all these views is the apprehension of racism as a both a political reality and a set of private attitudes – neither of which would disappear through wishful thinking.  This is a view that Frances Cress Welsing in The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors emphasizes when she describes Racism as a behavioral system for survival which entails dominating all others. Perhaps, to be taken seriously is the threat posed by the existence of a depressed and languishing Fourth World populations within an affluent First World.  Amin Sharif’s rhetoric though hyperbolic and ominous-sounding, yet deserves careful attention when he says:

The Fourth World will no longer sanction the West’s incursions into Africa, Asia, and Latin America for economic gains.  We will not allow you to fatten yourselves on the exploitation of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We will no longer fill the ranks of your armed forces or your jails. We will no longer starve while you eat nor cry while you laugh. We declare ourselves free to be fully Asian, Arab, and African within your midst, to be less would make us subhuman in our own eyes.  We will no longer watch as our children are raised without dignity or hope. We will no longer give you our labor without a fair wage. We will no longer give you our allegiance without full citizenship. 

We stand ready to throw all your platitudes about democracy, freedom, and brotherhood back in your face whether you rule in America or Europe. We will hound you until you allow us to fulfill our dreams of being fully human as you are fully human. We, the people of the Fourth World, have come of age.  And, we want from you only that which you have promised to yourselves. That is the right to live without fear and want in the world. Give us this and you need not fear us. Deny us this and we have no other alternative but to realize our humanity at your expense.

In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon is said to critique the Manichean perspective with its binary system in which black is bad and white is good, and argues for an entirely new world which given the degree of class and cultural inequities must of essence come into being.  Fanon’s stance like Sharif’s is for a violent revolution. But, on the other hand, Chinua Achebe’s advocacy is for a peaceful new world predicated on the fundamental values of humaneness, decency, and fair play, a world that holds out “dignity and hope” that full citizenship into the human community demands.

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When this essay was read out before the 2007 North East Modern Language Association (NEMLA) Conference assembly, it sparked a most intense, soul-searching question-and-answer discussion.  Concerned conference participants wanted to know how the Fourth World population can be lifted out of their quagmire of  poverty, illiteracy, and misery.  What role could intellectuals play?  The Writers discussed in this essay have provided the model of writing as activism, storytelling as a veritable mode of teaching, educating, correcting inequities and making people think.  Can ideologues help?  Well, well-placed ideologues have in the past used and discarded members of the Fourth World as their ambitions are achieved. Certainly, it was agreed, national governments around the world have the most responsibility  through structural reforms to provide the tools needed to give the Fourth World population good educational and professional tools needed to make good wages with which they can maintain families, and lead a meaningful existence.

But yet, they questioned, what can individuals do?  Every individual has the capacity to create an oasis of comfort through useful activities from any location, using available tools. People of privilege can always set up foundations, organizations or whatever that can promote literacy, compassion, improved quality of life, justice and empowerment towards reclaiming full human equality that is every person’s Divine birth right..  For Achebe, for  Rudy Lewis with ChickenBones: A Journal, for me Rose Ure Mezu, or for Ishmael Reed as he reiterates with each work, indeed in a world of inequities, writin’ is fightin.’ 

Thus, if serious, sustained efforts are to be made towards erasing the category that Amin Sharif has termed the Fourth World and uplifting its population from being the wretched of the earth, if multiculturalism is adopted as a means of mutually respecting cultural living, hope exists that these would constitute viable antidotes to global violence—a revolution to be achieved not through conflicts but with values that promote peaceful global cohabitation.


1.  This essay is a modified version of the one which as panel Chair / presenter I presented on March 4, 2007 before the assembled NEMLA Baltimore 2007 conference audience.

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Works Cited:

Achebe, Chinua. “The African Writer and the Biafran Cause XE “The African Writer and the Biafran Cause” .” In Morning Yet On Creation Day. London: Heinemann, 1975. 78-84.

Allimadi, Milton G.  Black Agenda Report.

Bhabha, Homi. “Interrogating Identity: Frantz Fanon and the Postcolonial Prerogative.” In  The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994. 40-66.

Chowdhry, Geeta and Sheila Nair, eds. Power in a Postcolonial World: Race, Gender and Class in International Relations. London: Routledge, 2002.

 “Cultural Chauvinism and the Liberal International Order – ‘West vs Rest’ in Asia’s Financial Crisis.” In Chowdhry and S. Nair (eds), Power in a Postcolonial World: Race, Gender and Class in International Relations (London: Routledge, 2002).

de Beauvoir, Simone. Force of Circumstance. New York: Putnam, 1964.

Bergner, Gwen. “Who Is That Masked Woman? or, The Role of Gender in Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks.” PMLA 110.1 (January 1995): 75-88.

Caute, David. Frantz Fanon. New York: The Viking Press, 1970.

Fanon, Frantz.  The Wretched of the Earth. New York, 1965. Reprint of Les damnes de la terre. Paris, 1961.

.. . . . . ……. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove, 1967. Reprint of Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris, 1952.

.. . . . . ……. Studies in a Dying Colonialism, or A Dying Colonialism. New York, 1965. Reprint of L’an cinq de la révolution algerienne. Paris, 1959.

.. . . . . ……. Toward the African Revolution. New York, 1967. Reprint of Pour la révolution africaine. Paris, 1964.

Fuss, Diana. “Interior Colonies: Frantz Fanon and the Politics of Identification.” Diacritics (Summer-Fall ‘94):20-42.

Gates, Henry Louis. “Critical Fanonism.” Critical Inquiry 17 (1992): 457-470.

Geismar, Peter. Fanon. New York: The Dial Press, 1971.

Gendzier, Irene L. Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study. New York: Pantheon Books-Random House, 1973.

Gordon, Lewis R. Fanon and the Crisis of European Man. New York: Routledge, 1995.

“Homage to Frantz Fanon.” Présence Africaine 12 (1962): 130-152. Ten writers, politicians and scholars contributed to this special section, including Aimé Césaire and Nkrumah.

Memmi, Albert. “The Impossible Life of Frantz Fanon.” Massachusetts Review (Winter 1973): 39.

Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books-Random House, 1993.

. . . . . . . .  . . .  Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Sharif,  Amin. “The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast.” ChickenBones: A Journalism 10 November 2005.

Welsing, Francis Cress. The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors. Chicago, Illinois: Third World Press, 1991.

. . . . . . . .  . . . Final News: “An Interview with Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.”  Africa Within  (November 26, 2002).

Copyright by Dr. Rose Ure Mezu / March 31, 2007

posted 4 April 2007

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Other essays by Dr. Rose Ure Mezu:

An Africana Blueprint for Living in the 3rd Millennium Global Community1: An Essay


Pope John Paul II: A Life with a Mission: A Mission of Grace and Moral Strength


A History of Africana Women’s Literature   (Introduction)


Africana Women: Their Historic Past and Future Activism


Black Nationalists: Reconsidering: Du Bois, Garvey, Booker T., & Nkrumah (Introduction)


Chinua Achebe The Man and His Works (Introduction)

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Films on Africa:  Blood Diamond / Hotel Rwanda LUMUMBA  / FAAT KINÉ  /

The Last King of Scotland   /

Congo: White King

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Fourth World Essays

Afro-America & The Fourth World 

The Black Middle Class & a Political Party of the Poor  (essay)

Dark Child of the Fourth World  

The Fourth World and the Marxists

The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast

New Orleans: The American Nightmare

On the Fourth World: Black Power, Black Panthers, and White Allies

Why I Support the Latino Demonstrators


Other Fourth World Essays

African America – A Fourth World 

(Waldron H. Giles)

Dark Child of the Fourth World Reaches Out   (Dennis Leroy Moore)

Fourth World Introduction (M.P. Parameswaran)

 Fourth World: Marxist, Gandhian, Environmentalist  (M.P. Parameswaran)

The Fourth World Multiculturalism (Rose Ure Mezu)

Fourth World Programme M.P. Parameswaran)

Neo-Liberalism Dictatorship of the Market  M.P. Parameswaran)

The Rise and Fall of the Socialist World  M.P. Parameswaran)

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Chinua Achebe: The Man and His Works


By Rose Ure Mezu


*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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My First Coup d’Etat

And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa

By John Dramani Mahama

Though the colonies of sub-Saharan Africa began to claim independence in the late 1950s and ’60s, autocratic and capricious leadership soon caused initial hope to fade, and Africa descended into its “lost decades,” a period of stagnation and despondency from which much of the continent has yet to recover. Mahama, vice president of the Republic of Ghana, grew up alongside his nascent country and experienced this roller-coaster of fortunes. In this memoir, Mahama, the son of a member of parliament, recounts how affairs of state became real in his young mind on the day in 1966 when no one came to collect him from boarding school—the government had been overthrown, his father arrested, and his house confiscated.

In fluid, unpretentious style, Mahama unspools Ghana’s recent history via entertaining and enlightening personal anecdotes: spying on his uncle impersonating a deity in order to cajole offerings of soup from the villagers hints at the power of religion; discussions with his schoolmates about confronting a bully form the nucleus of his political awakening. As he writes: “The key to Africa’s survival has always been . . . in the story of its people, the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of our lives.” The book draws to a close as the author’s professional life begins. —Publishers Weekly

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Who Fears Death

By Nnedi Okorafor

Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in post apocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu—whose name means “Who fears death?”—was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother’s features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling

Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.—Publishers Weekly

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America.

Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.—Publishers Weekly

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage

By Rick Stengel

Richard Stengel, the editor of Time magazine, has distilled countless hours of intimate conver­sation with Mandela into fifteen essential life lessons. For nearly three years, including the critical period when Mandela moved South Africa toward the first democratic elections in its history, Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography and traveled with him everywhere. Eating with him, watching him campaign, hearing him think out loud, Stengel came to know all the different sides of this complex man and became a cherished friend and colleague.  In Mandela’s Way, Stengel recounts the moments in which “the grandfather of South Africa” was tested and shares the wisdom he learned: why courage is more than the absence of fear, why we should keep our rivals close, why the answer is not always either/or but often “both,” how important it is for each of us to find something away from the world that gives us pleasure and satisfaction—our own garden.

Woven into these life lessons are remarkable stories—of Mandela’s child­hood as the protégé of a tribal king, of his early days as a freedom fighter, of the twenty-seven-year imprison­ment that could not break him, and of his new and fulfilling marriage at the age of eighty.

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history.

Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books 

Pray the Devil Back to Hell 

 / Leymah Gbowee Wins 2011 Nobel Peace Prize  / Nobel Peace Prize Winners

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 25 July 2012 




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