Musicians at a banquet. Mural from the tomb of Rekhmire, vizier under Thutmosis III (1490-1439 BCE) and Amenophis II (1439-1413 BCE). 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom, Egypt.

Pan-Africanism is a vital part of the ‘renaissance’ efforts of Africa and Africans but this same factor has been a major pawn in the European game of ‘divide and rule’.  The obsessive fervor with which Pan-Africanists limit their scope of reference of the ‘Black’ world to the confines of the African continent contributes to the goals of White Supremacy. The mainstream Eurocentric world view that directs the study of Anthropology has been relied upon at different times to divide, define and separate ‘Black’ people in ways that causes these people to see themselves as different peoples when in fact the opposite is the truth. Many leading Afrocentric scholars have fallen victim to this ploy and in the process spawned entire movements of followers to see everything ‘African’ as Black and everything outside of Africa as ‘White’.

This deception is what has led to the erroneous idea that ‘Black’ is a minority race and ‘White’ a majority race. Of course these labels of color do not remain fixed but change depending on the circumstances and goals of White Supremacy. When it suits the Eurocentric worldview then Indians, people from the horn of Africa and Semites may be seen as part of the ‘White’ family but when immigration policy needs to align with economic goals these same peoples will be defined as ‘Black’. But, no matter the economic goals of White Supremacy, what you will never find is a change in definition of a certain kind of ‘Black’ that is pervasive in Sub-Saharan Africa; the so-called Negro phenotype. In associating the Negro phenotype with ‘Black’ in a permanent way it has created the perception that the true ‘Black’ race is the Negro peoples of Africa and everybody else by default isn’t Black but ‘White’.  As a consequence of this African people have become very defensive of what they consider to be elements of African heritage and in the process the Eurocentric model wins the day.

The Eurocentric model has caused artificial division between people of the horn of Africa and the Africans of the interior. It has caused Africans to see the people of the Middle East as other than ‘Black’ no matter the time frame in question. Indians, some of whom are darker than the darkest African, identify more with the Eurocentric definitions of race rather than with their actual skin color. It is this same Eurocentric model that rejects the notion that ancient Egypt was a ‘Black’ civilization simply because ‘Black’ is SOLELY defined by them as Negroid and Sub-Saharan.  So although they were ‘Black’ in skin complexion they weren’t really ‘Black’ because, by and large, they differed from the Negro phenotype in hair texture and cranial features.  Many African-Americans don’t share the typical hair texture and cranial structure of Africans yet it has never stopped white supremacists from labelling them as ‘Black’.

How can we unravel this erroneous Eurocentric perception of ‘races’ that has so effectively divided peoples who otherwise should see each other as part of a common family? Well, first one has to be able to read in between the lines of Eurocentric scholarship. As the say, the devil is in the details.

 

Scholarship on Genetics

A cursory study of Haplogroups will unpack layers of Eurocentric deception that hitherto has prevented Africans from seeing themselves properly as it relates to Anthropology. A Haplogroup is a group of SIMILAR Haplotypes that SHARE a COMMON ANCESTOR with a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation. A haplotype, in the same fashion, is a group of genes in an organism that are inherited together from a single parent. This kind of study enables us to not only trace ancient migratory paths but also which peoples are closely related to specific ancient peoples more so than others.  In the study of Haplogroups one is able to trace lineages on the paternal (Y Haplogroup) and maternal (Mitochondrial Haplogroup) sides.

In Africa the major Y Haplogroup is E.  This means that almost 100% of African males share in this haplogroup E which scientists claim started about 50,000 years ago around either East Africa or on the other side of the Red sea in Arabia or the Middle East. This means that an SNP mutation, which we now call Haplotype E, started in a male in East Africa or the Middle East about 50,000 years ago and all males with this Haplotype are descendants of this person.  As time went on a mutation occurred in a descendant of this ancestor which scientists label Y Haplogroup E1, then another occurred which they label E2. A third one occurred which they label E3. Most Africans, almost 98% are descended from the E3 lineage. The E3 lineage itself split into two: E3a and E3b. E3a is the most common E Haplogroup in West, Central and Southern Africa as well as parts of East Africa. E3b, however, is common in the horn of Africa, North East Africa and parts of East Africa. E3b is also found in parts of the Middle East which is why some claim it started there rather than in East Africa.

A lot of things become evident as a result of these facts mentioned above. Firstly, East Africans, Africans from the horn of Africa ( including Egypt) as well as the rest of Africans below the Sahara share a common ancestor. We are the same people.

Secondly, we didn’t start off from the interior but from the Eastern part of Africa or the Middle East.

Thirdly, a part of us broke off from the people in East Africa and trekked down into the interior where the Haplogroup E3a became a founding Haplogroup. These people are the West, Central and Southern Africans of today.  Although we migrated into the interior we kept many of our cultural practices including parts of the language which scholars today call the Afro-Asiatic language group.

The point above raises an interesting question: Why do Sub-Saharan Africans look different from the Africans from the horn of Africa? To answer this question we must approach it from a global perspective.

It’s interesting that when the European explorers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries sailed the globe they found dark-skinned people wherever they went. Many of these dark-skinned people had ‘straight’ or ‘curly’ hair and cranial features resembling the European of today.  But when the Europeans sailed to the West coast of Africa they found these same dark-skinned people but with ‘kinky’ hair and cranial features unlike the ‘Blacks’ they had encountered in other journeys.

Perhaps the truth of the matter is that the ‘Negro’ phenotype is the exception rather than the rule and it is most likely that we started out looking like our brothers and sisters in the horn of Africa. Tomes have been written about how we developed our ‘Negro’ features and most of it point to a change in climate. Although our kinky hair was as a result of adaptation to the new climate we still carry relics of our past such as our ‘straight’ eye brows that show us what our hair looked like in the past. The excessive humidity and warm weather is what produced the Negro phenotype. It is this phenotype that is at the receiving end of most of the racism of today. It is also this phenotype that has allowed White Supremacy to divide Africans and Black people, in general, and made us to see ourselves as different people.

As stated earlier, many Afrocentric scholars fell right into the trap set by White Supremacy by reinforcing the division in their writings. The average Afrocentric scholar refuses to see any affinity with the ancient people of the Middle East or India or the Native Americans because it doesn’t belong to the box that White Supremacy carved out for us.  Afrocentricity is ignorant of the fact that the parent Y Haplogroup of E is group DE. Y Haplogroup D is native to Asia which means the ancestor group DE which would birth group E and D started outside Africa. Y Haplogroup D is prevalent in the Andaman Islands, Japan (among the Ainu people), Tibet, Central Asia as well as some groups in China.  Yet Afrocentricity can’t see beyond the sand box that White Supremacy provided.

The Afrocentric movement will attack anyone who dares suggest that they need to expand their tentacles with regard to what constitutes the ‘Black’ world. It is this flawed Eurocentric world view that makes the conception of a Black Jesus or Muhammad almost impossible because to them Black is synonymous with ‘Negro’.  A Black Jesus means to them that he looked like Idris Elba and no other phenotype is an option.  But once one understands that ALL of the Haplogroups were started in Black people it becomes easy to grasp the universality of Blackness. Even Y Haplogroup R, which is the typical group to which Caucasians belong, evolved in Black people first who were the original Europeans. So when Anthropologists seek to cover up the racial identity of the ancient Egyptians by stating that many of the mummies had DNA belonging to Y Haplogroup J, which people call the Middle Eastern Haplogroup, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that Haplogroup J predates the gene that produced White skin and Blue eyes. Y Haplogroup J is as much a part of Blacks as Haplogroup E.

 

Scholarship on Anthropology

On Western Anthropology a simple point needs to be made. Western scholarship on this subject tries to cover up the racial identity of ancient civilizations by using terms like ‘Eurasian’, ‘Middle Eastern’ or ‘Near Eastern’ origins as if one can’t be Black and Eurasian or Middle Eastern at the same time.

Black skin was a universal phenomenon in the ancient world and this fact needs to be understood. Afrocentric scholars need to expand their horizons and realize that Black civilizations go beyond Africa and that our achievements are global.

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. This essay reminds me of a recent BBC educational cartoon on Roman Britain in which one Roman general was represented as someone looking Black or African in the show, i.e. as representative of the “diversity” at the time.

    Boy! Did one Arab scholar of the Levant (besides the many others) get mad!? I never knew one could actually feel that strongly about insisting on the “non-Blackness” of North Africa now and in the past!

    The other side of the issue Atiga has raised also goes to the heart of some denialism on the part of those who do not see themselves as “Black” after all. Those who do not and will not consider themselves Black can rarely be called upon to enrich the field of Pan-Africanism. For instance, there are “Black” children in South Sudan and Sudan today who scoff at the idea of being called African, or Black. To them, they are Arab. In the same way that the Levant scholar scoffed at the idea that a Roman soldier in Britain at some time in the ancient world could have been Black!

    Today’s terrorism of white supremacism has become even more insidious because of the obvious, more tangible “wages of whiteness” itself. That is, the less Black you look, or the less Black you are perceived to be, the better one’s social standing in the West! That is great “economic” plus! And since the West is what most people seek (even if for only coveting the high level of material consumption there), it is straightforward to understand why many, if not most, who can distance themselves from Blackness, actually do and will. Although, that is not to say it changes the fact of their Blackness! But facts are one percent truth, and ninety-nine percent perception.

    Hence, Pan-Africanism has an uphill task if what Atiga asserts must be followed; if it begins to claim, for instance, that which refuses to be claimed as such. If it claims the Arabs were Black, but the Arabs of today claim they were never Black, then the road to scholarship becomes arduous and irreconcilable. What’s the point? To topple the terrorism of white supremacism or to insist on other peoples’ Blackness? Again, not that it changes facts of the past, but it certainly changes reality.

    For these reasons, white supremacism today could be accurately re-termed, “Anti-Black.” For it is not only those who think that they are “white” who practice it. It is everyone, all those who feel that they have a chance to distance themselves from Blackness. You wonder why a child growing up in Accra looks at a picture of a Black representation of Jesus The Christ and tells his mum: “Maa, look at the Devil.” More, even in this atmosphere of Anti-Blackness, it is not only “whites” who hate Blackness; some of the very same people who Atiga asserts should be rightly considered Black actually hate Blacks! And love whites! How then can one build a Pan-Africanist view, accepting of these nincompoops who hate Blacks, while still building grounds for uprooting the terrorism of whiteness on Blacks? It’s a conundrum.

    • Narmer Amenuti you are right. The task of making Black non-Africans see their affinity with other Black people is indeed a daunting one. Of course this is largely due to White supremacy and false education in the schools. We have to realize that the same reason why White supremacy would distort maps to make ‘White lands’ appear bigger than they really are in comparison to aborigines-occupied land is the same reason why they define race to beef up their numbers.

      White supremacy is in a constant battle. It is Blacks who are asleep in the midst of atomic bombs being fired from every angle. There is no field of study that hasn’t been affected and infected with White supremacy. We have to be conversant with the methods of White supremacy because they keep changing and evolving although their goal remains the same.

  2. …in these era of capitalist imperialism Pan Africanism has a bigger problem…it has no land, and no resources…any African who thinks otherwise also thinks Africans owned the land, resources, and culture during slavery, and colonialism.
    You can only become aware during a struggle…either via correct analysis of the problem(theory) or physical solution to the problem(practice)…
    ..the revolutionary strategyof theory, and practice ..
    … anything else is typical “black supremacy ideology….the supremacists leaders..hate Caucasians, but love, worship capitalism, and foreign religions accordingly. ..look at Farrakhan, and today’s so-called black lives matters…
    Malcolm X exposed capitalist economy as the main enemy, and nation of Islam killed him…while black lives today simply want a piece of the pie in Imperialist america….want to save black lives only on america, bur look the other way america slaughter poor people around the world…
    ….the struggle is not race driven, it’s economy…
    ..research how poverty is created, and then go ahead and destroy it.. in doing so you will destroy the oppressor…killing two birds with one stone..

    • Not wrong Olusola Fawehinmi. But you are not right either. In fact, one can kill one bird with one stone at a time. One needs not always look to kill two birds with one stone, especially when the second bird refuses to (or just won’t) fall in line with the first! What’s the point in fighting for economic justice with a poor Caucasian when his very wage of the terrorism of whiteness depends on his not recognizing my equal humanity? The struggle is not race driven? Who said?

      You contradict yourself when you claim that “the struggle is not race driven, it’s economy…” Who said race and economics are mutually exclusive – that a Black man cannot fight for his equal humanity and achieve the economic justice [without even noticing]? The thinking that fighting for the recognition of the equal humanity of Blackness does not solve the economic issue is both false and a side-stepping of what it takes to fight social problems in the first place: that all parties in a fight need to recognize the equal humanity of all to start with. All soldiers are equal and must be treated equal, even within social battalion!

      The need to always dilute the fight against white supremacism, which is the direct approach to liberating Black humanity, with cliche tomes like “economic justice,” or “civil rights,” and such has become a thing of neoliberals who actually do not want first and foremost to fix the most fundamental issue first. So, I don’t accept that it is black supremacism when Blacks counteract what has clearly been a white European concerted effort to terrorize Blacks for many centuries. White supremacism is not just an idea (it is not just some theory), it has everything to do with the violent practice of brutalizing Blacks! I could care less what anyone feels about me unless they enacted upon my body the realities of their feelings. Fighting white supremacism is a practice issue, although one cannot discount the ideological help that Pan-Africanism affords it. But it remains a practice issue, and theory is only secondary to its practice!

      One can kill two birds (racism and economic injustice); by killing one bird at a time with one stone each! We cannot wait for the second bird (economic injustice) to align with the first bird (racism) before we start throwing our first stones! It’s a waste of time and it serves only to further entrench the white supremacist ideology that “Anti-Blackness” is not worth fighting alone!

  3. Atiga Jonas Atingdui I enjoyed reading your article and your coverage of a much-needed introduction to the Global Presence of “Black” people since time immemorial. I would encourage you to go even beyond the “science” of this same “White Supremacist” agenda i.e. the race and skin color discussion elaborately and definitively presented by these children of humanity’s original civilization.

    Perhaps they are still, even with their “science” (dna/haplogroup mapping), manipulating the real context of the discussion on our way to recovery from the evil ploy of their white supremacist agenda. Maybe this is yet another layer of division tactics. They continue to shape the parameters of our conversation within the “box” of their creation i.e. skin COLOR (whites vs. blacks). This is not dissimilar to their tactic of shaping the global conversation of politics and social governance around capitalism or socialism or how in America they present us with Democrats or Republicans, where we can draw lines disputing the efficacy of political platforms for or against Trump or Hillary respectively.

    Last I checked there are definitely no white skinned people, pale maybe but not white. Obviously, we are all carrying some degree of melanin, some far less than others but melanated nonetheless. So where did this WHITE vs. BLACK “thing” come from, if we are all basically descended from one group of human beings coming from somewhere in the hot, sun riddled regions of this planet, namely Africa? I’m advocating that it too is a conjured up issue, or is at least a non-issue that is being exploited based on the history it was spawned from. To find out how this non-issue availed itself to later exploitation, building on a very old CULTURAL rift, you have to do some serious digging and I don’t think you will find the answer in their genetic science nor anthropological research. In fact, those only serve to reinforce the idea that “RACE” is even a thing, thereby setting the stage for our perpetual distraction and division.

    • SaMa’at Sakuhai I agree that eventually the fascination with ‘race’ has to give way to a more sobering reflection and focus on character of people. As Martin Luther King said the “content of one’s character” is the more vital part of the human being.

      Race , however, has been used as a weapon to create an unhealthy mental imbalance in both people of dark complexion and those of a more paler hue. It some times does become necessary to use the very concept of race to correct the wrongs that have committed in its name. It is in this spirit that I utilize the concept.

  4. Race can’t oppress.. it’s the manifestation of oppression itself that generates race, clan, tribal, religious oppression…
    ..it’s blindness so fighting all these inclusive of economic struggle…total dead end…the joy of all oppressors….”divide the fools” so as to exploit, and oppress all collectively…
    .. you’re not addressing a gullible black man here..the kind Farrakhan, and all black supremacists live off… they’re are the foot soldiers of capitalist imperialism in the “Ghetto”…they, and the Imperialists white, or black are the enemies..
    ..how many blacks in america are in the Imperialist army killing all poor people around the world with pride, and joy for american imperialism???
    …how many in CIA, FBI, and propaganda media???
    ..how many are in Africa??
    How many blacks married caucasians, and live rich in Africa???..how many serve the Pope, and saudi islamic leaders..all with English, and Arabic names???
    …so who you define as enemy again???
    ..common..let’s unite and fight the system that use race to hide in the dark..while the oppressed kill each other based on skin color in the day time…
    PSN Africanism was a diverted socialist movement by black americans all over america, Caribbean, South America, and Africa. These traitors continue to be funded just like in the days leading to overthrowing Nkrumah who blindly trusted the “bastards” to do damage to “socialist struggle for the emancipation of our motherland..
    ..we have no platform to start propaganda warfare.. cultural revolution..but we do have e the “audacity to start an arm struggle against capitalism..with freedom from the physical shackles we can spend our resources from our freed land to “re-educated our people..giving them a sense of pride, dignity stolen by oppressors…
    … anything else is bull shit “black supremacy nonsense.. enriching the black liberation blood suckers all over america…
    ..the same bastards killed Malcolm, and Khalid..

    • I am not sure if I follow your fragmented sentences as they fragment the stream of your thoughts into various fractions of incoherence, for me. Perhaps just me! Plus, I have made no assumptions about your gullibility or not, except to address what you wrote. I don’t understand the reaction. What? If I challenge your thoughts then I must be addressing a gullible Black man? But, I digress.

      My point: You say “race can’t oppress” people but capitalism can oppress people based on color? “Race can’t oppress,” but we must “fight the system that uses race to hide in the dark?” If I marry a white woman then that erases the guilt of the terrorism of her great great grandfather who enslaved my great great grandfather? If I work for the CIA, the FBI and CNN then I must be capitalistic; more, I must be a traitor, a “foot soldier of capitalist imperialism in the Ghetto?” Further, unlike you, I cannot defend or cast blame on the many Blacks you mentioned in the Ghetto, the CIA, the FBI and the USA, who you feel are equal perpetrators of the violence of capitalism. You preach a theory of a Violent Capitalism on Blacks (and the Motherland) without Racists. Fine.

      All that to show that you miss the point: which is that white supremacism manifests in various forms; within capitalism too! And that the prevalence and the insidiousness of white supremacism does not indict all white people! No one has said, all whites are bad people; a point you seem to conflate with the occurrence and brutality of white supremacism within capitalism itself. If socialism is your thing, defend it. But socialism is just as bad, just as violent when practiced through white supremacism! For instance, when corporations run by white men in the U.S. receive government subsidies while those run by Blacks are left to fail, especially when all (Blacks and whites) pay equal taxes! Taxation again, without representation: a prevalent show of socialist barbarity ongoing in the U.S. for centuries! Hint: the Wall Street bailout! That was the color of socialism there for you, although you fail to recognize the violence of white supremacism there!

      If an African claims they are capitalistic or that they are supporters of capitalist policies in Africa, they are not equal culprits in the terrorism and colonialism of white supremacism! Again, you conflate theory with practice, ideas with actual violence, thoughts with brutality. And then you proceed to claim “race” as only an idea but not “capitalism.” You confuse me. More, you confuse yourself!

    • .Edited…
      …no, you’re not being accused of anything, just like everyone, you’re merely analysing a problem, that we acknowledge…

      …you can’t oppress based on race…in the end…the economic exploitation defines the oppression.
      Study the mechanism of the exploitation, fight it, destroy it…with powers from your liberated zones, now you can control your destiny irrespective of the race of your oppressors…keep the capitalist system, and you get a new oppressor..blacks, black Muslims, black Christians, black tribe.. actually you get new war of who to be on top using a capitalist system.
      It’s the economic system that must be overthrown, racism is secondary.
      Look at Syria..then look at North Korea, they fought capitalist imperialism, won, and though facing imperialism are stronger, and deciding their destiny. Victoryis on their side .
      ….
      we learn each day to question norms that sedate our people not to carry out scientific struggle against our oppressors .
      ..thanks today from the new internet black supremacist distractions from america..called pan Africanism…they ought to change their names to pan american capitalist imperialism..
      ..
      Race can’t oppress.. it’s rather the manifestation of oppression that generates race, clan, and, religious oppression…
      ..it’s blindness fighting all these inclusive of economic struggle…total dead end…the joy of all oppressors….”divide the fools” so as to exploit, and oppress all collectively…
      .. you’re not addressing a gullible black man here..the kind Farrakhan, and all black supremacists live off… they’re are the foot soldiers of capitalist imperialism in the “Ghetto”…they, and the Imperialists white, or black are the enemies..
      ..how many blacks in america are in the Imperialist army killing all poor people around the world with pride, and joy for american imperialism???
      …how many in CIA, FBI, and propaganda media???
      ..how many are in Africa??
      How many blacks married caucasians, and live rich in Africa???..how many serve the Pope, and saudi islamic leaders..all with English, and Arabic names???
      …so who you define as our race enemies again???
      ..common..let’s unite and fight the system that use race to hide in the dark..while the oppressed kill each other based on skin color in the day time…
      Pan Africanism was a diverted socialist movement by black americans all over america, Caribbean, South America, and Africa. These traitors continue to be funded just like in the days leading to overthrowing Nkrumah who blindly trusted the “bastards” to do damage to “socialist struggle” for the emancipation of our motherland..
      ..we have no platform to start propaganda warfare, or cultural revolution..but we do have the “audacity” to start an arm struggle against capitalism..with freedom from the physical shackles we can spend our resources from our freed land to “re-educate” our people..giving them a sense of pride, dignity stolen by oppressors…
      … anything else is bull shit “black supremacy” nonsense.. enriching the black liberation blood suckers all over america…
      ..the same bastards killed Malcolm, and Khalid

      “A Luta Continua”

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