Race & The Ancient Egyptians: Defining Who Is Black

Prisoners of Rameses III: Libyan, Nubian, Syrian, Shasu/Bedouin, Hittite:

The problem with defining black, or determining whether or not the Ancient Egyptians were black, boils down to the modern definition of black, using the term “black” very loosely. Let me start with the rudimentary problem: who is black and how is black defined? It’s defined two ways that are problematic: There is the European or Eurocentric definition/classification of black that is, by default, the dominant world definition. And then there is the recently emerging Afrocentric definition of black, used by people of Indigenous African descent.

The former definition is objective. It stems from the Caucasian supremacy/White Man’s Burden theory that Europeans/Caucasians, being the most civilized of all men, have the authority/power, granted by God (Yahweh gave Adam the authority to name and rule over the animals) to rule over and control the destinies of inferior beings. It is is also based on pseudo-scientific methods: the erroneous and problematic cranial measurements, nasal openings and prognathous mandibles tests.

The latter definition of ‘black’ is a self-defined classification that suggests a turning point in history in which Indigenous and colonized peoples, for the first time since they came into contact with Europeans/Caucasians, are defining themselves and practicing self-determination. This classification accepts that all indigenous Africans (East, West, South, North) are, by default, black (degrees of admixture is not reason for exclusion). Hence, there are two world classification for blacks: Eurocentric (the dominant) and Afrocentric (growing challenge).

According to the Eurocentric model, there are are five races in Africa. They are: Black (Bantu–West African), Cushitic/Hamitic (East African–Ethiopian/Somalian), Khoisan (South African), Pygmy (Central African), and Caucasian (North African). When Eurocentrics feel like it, they toss East Africans in with the so-called Caucasoid race.

To put the Eurocentric worldview of negritude into perspective: None of these people are [truly] black: Nelson Mandela, of Khoisan and Bantu descent, but looks mostly Khoisan. Ethiopian model Liya Kebede and Moroccan-Swedish climber Said Belhaj (who is half-Swedish, but guess what ‘race’ the other half is):

Furthermore, the Eurocentric view insists the Ancient Egyptians can’t be black because the Ancient Egyptians painted themselves a deep, brown color different from their [black] African Siamese twin the Nubians (the only TRUE type of blacks) who were often portrayed as jet black. Image from the tomb of Seti I showing a Syrian, Nubian, Libyan and Egyptian:

It may be observed that the complexion of the men is invariably red, that of the women yellow; but neither of them can be said to have anything in their physiognomy at all resembling the Negro countenance.

About the Sphinx:

The features are Nubian, or what, from ancient representations, may be called Ancient Egyptian, which is quite different from the Negro features.

What is certain about the Eurocentric approach to the race classification of Indigenous Africans is that it is very narrow. So narrow that when applied to Europeans themselves (it’s not used for Europeans), it would divide them into 3 or 4 different races: Nordic, Mediterranean, East European and Central-western Europeans.

Let’s not forget the non-European Caucasoid:

population of mixed Arabs and Berbers found that the majority of haplogroups, about 59% were of Eurasian origin. They found that markers signaling the Neolithic expansion from the Middle East constitute the predominant component. The remaining 39.5% were clades that belonged to Haplogroup E, the predominant Haplogroup in Sub-Saharan Africa. E3b was the predominant African clade of Haplogroup E found in the Egyptian population. E3b is the haplogroup characteristic of Afro-Asiatic speakers and evidence suggests that E3b originated in East Africa. About 9% of were clades associated with Sub-Saharan Africans who are not Afro-Asiatic speakers

Also, in regards to cranial measurement, long used as an accurate racial indicator:

A study by Beals, Smith, and Dodd (1984) found that “race” and cranial variation had low correlations, and that cranial variation was instead strongly correlated with climate variables. This view is also supported by Kemp (2003). Other studies have shown that the typical cranial shapes of the African, Arab and Berber ethnic groups are largely the same

To be continued…

About TCDH

Blogger with an opinion.
This entry was posted in Africa, Black people, race. Bookmark the permalink.

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