Black Studies 3 Final
TA: Charles Williams
Section: Tuesday 4:00-4:50
March 17, 2015
Section A: Question 1
Human rights are defined as “basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to” (“Human Rights Basics”). The problem with human rights is, this broad definition is open to many forms of interpretation. There is no general agreement on what rights every human should be entitled to, so the idea of human rights tends to vary from place to place. Africa, like every other continent, is a unique and diverse place with it’s own widespread viewpoints. The predicament of human rights is no exception to this, as Africans have their own ideas and contentions of human rights and their own struggles on making these rights available to all in the continent.
Some key contentions that exist in regards to human rights in Africa come from the differing viewpoints between universalists and relativists. “According to proponents of relativism, specific spatial and cultural realities negate the possibility of a translocal and transnational body of human rights; to them, human rights is dependent on existing conditions in a given locality, culture, or state” (Grosz-Ngaté 294). These proponents believe in a term referred to as cultural relativism, which essentially argues that there can be no common, widespread view of human rights. They believe that since everybody lives in such different cultures and conditions across the world, human rights need to adapt to each local area and situation to best fit and be useful.
Universalists, on the other hand, believe that human rights are set in stone and intrinsic to all human beings, regardless of location or culture. “Advocates of universal human rights present it as context neutral, ignoring situations when paying attention to local realities could produce a more sustainable guarantee for the protection of rights” (Grosz-Ngaté 294). A major problem universalists see with the...