On Eurocentricism/Racism in History

MELANET UnCut Chat and Discussion: When Black Men Ruled The World (On Africentrism): On Eurocentricism/Racism in History
S. Thadani ( - on Friday, June 15, 2001 - 02:20 am:

"During the existence of our site, the major point of contention has been whether the Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans. It is quite understandable that this issue would stir up heated passions. For nearly two hundred years now, White scholars have removed Black people from Egypt, Egypt from Africa and Africa from world history."

How true! Colonization has indeed attempted to monopolize the cultural, philosophical and scientific history of the world by denying non-Europeans credit for the numerous contributions they have made to world civilization.

As an Indian who is exceedingly aware of how India's role in the world has been diminished and demeaned, I share your anger and frustration.

European civilization is relatively very young - because for many hundreds of years, much of human progress took place in other continents. European civilization has borrowed very heavily from scientific and cultural progress that took place elsewhere in the world. But colonial attitudes continue to work overtime in trying to obscure this debt.

Concerning skin color in ancient Egypt - I'd like to offer the following points:-

Africa is a huge continent, and it would not be at all surprising if the people of ancient Egypt were somewhat lighter skinned on account of Egypt's cooler climate. Some non-European people of South Africa and Namibia are also somewhat lighter skinned (probably for the same reason). But they are still all African.

In any case, the racial heritage of the rulers of ancient Egypt varied from dynasty to dynasty and included rulers from what is now Ethiopia and Sudan (at the very least). Would these same racist historians then proceed to deny the Africanness of the ancient Ethiopians and Sudanese royal families who reigned in ancient Egypt?

In an examination of some of the surviving sculpture from Egypt - and particularly from the equally rich civilization of ancient Nubia - one can discern distinctly African features.

To deny Africans (of whatever complexion) - a connection with Egypt is not only racist, but a deliberate exercise in deception. It can only be derived from a false or highly selective reading of the numerous surviving artifacts which show the ancient Egyptian monarchs to be not just lighter skinned Africans but (depending on the dynasty) also darker skinned Africans with characteristic African features.

In any case, there are also other places in Africa that have made important contributions to human civilization. In my view, some of the most interesting buildings of the Roman era are not to be found in Italy but what is now Libya and Algeria!

Yet, rarely ever are Libya and Algeria acknowledged as important centres of Roman civilization!

In the ancient Roman world - people of all races lived in the ports and trading centres of the Roman world. It would therefore be quite absurd to argue that Roman civilization in Northern Africa was purely European, and had nothing to do with the majority of the people who inhabit the vast continent of Africa.

There was probably much more racial inter-mixing and cohabitation than is generally acknowledged.

I might also add that some of the cultural artifacts found in the civilizations of Western Africa - (coinciding with what is now the area around Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria)points to a people who were highly skilled in metallurgy, ivory work and other pre-industrial crafts. Some of the sculptures are of exceptional quality - and the decorative crafts made from gold foil are also very attractive. They would deserve a place in any fair compendium of World Art and Culture.

European historians are either very ignorant of this legacy, or simply continuing a tradition of racist subterfuge in history writing.

Colonization gave the European nations a huge advantage that they are still exploiting. But that doesn't take away the many centuries of civilizational progress that took place in Africa and Asia prior to their recent ascent.

With best wishes, and in solidarity - Shishir Thadani (Co-editor, The South Asian History Project)


By John ( - on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 09:34 pm:

Exactly. I refer to it as the "Aryan model," from the most famous example of Europeans claiming a culture they did not create themselves. Of course, Hindus do NOT mix between castes, so miscegenation couldn't have brought down India, and modern brahmans look the same, racially speaking, as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

Of course, Egypt is another example, and pseudo-historian Mary Lefkowitz is delightfully making up evidence that all civilization came from Northern Europe. I expected better from a Jewish woman, personally; nothing like a Holocaust to make you more culturally sensitive. But that doesn't matter; they're white now, so their previous heritage is of no consequence. Read How the Irish Became White to see what I mean.

One of the examples rarely included by scholars, which I HAVE to include, being Lakota and all, is pre-Columbian America. To even suggest American history began before 1492 is considered "anti-white," though there are numerous civilizations in America that pre-date Columbus, or even Erikson.

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