People who know me know I love to debate, it is a great learning experience to exchange ideas, beliefs, opinions, and evidence on various subjects in order to widen my perspective or prove a point on particular issues. Within these debates, Egypt has been a particular subject of interest, and race and origin has been one of the most contentious issues during some of these heated discussions. Now to save myself some time, energy, and money from having these exhaustive debates, I will be presenting my evidence that confirms my opinion for those who may want to engage in this debate in the future, because, well, there’s no debate, the evidence speaks for itself.
Because of a general definition among many of the conscious community who believe “Black” is defined as any melanated person around the world regardless of continental origin or culture, for contextual purposes, I will be using the term to reference Black people particularly of African descent. It’s interesting to note, that besides the Egyptians (and North Africa, if you were to add them into Black Africa) until colonization, Black Africa was never conquered by an outside power. The conversion of Black Africa to Islam is largely due to kings taking on the religion out of convenience of avoiding war or for the political gain it may have offered. Although slave raids were prolific among some of these forces against neighboring African traditionalist, it was already a part of most African societies before colonization and Black African Islamic rulers rarely forced their people to convert. Therefore, when studying Africa outside of the framework of outside influence, we find great continuity among every region as is found among the various people of Europe and Asia. In greater terms, due to industrialization and globalization, I liken it to ancient Americas as it went through its rough transition from a purely Native population to a now mixed population with many of the original people pushed to different parts of the continents. Many of these people have died out or assimilated into the conquering power’s culture with remnants and traditions of the original culture, Mexico being an example; others, many of the tribal Natives, that escaped the colonial powers were pushed into different areas where they live as a prime example of how ancient Natives may have lived. The Peruvian Awajun and Ashaninka people are an example of indigenous Natives who continue to practice traditions from their ancient past as Coca and Cocao planters. The same has happened to Black Africa, as the first major civilizations, Egypt and Nubia, through its stages of abundance, famine, and war, compelling populations to leave the area at various times to populate new areas of Africa. This however, would happen at a much slower pace than that of America over the millennia before colonization, leading to the immense diversity within the African continent.
So let’s talk history. As we know for an undeniable fact, that the Black man, Africans, populated the world. Depending on where they decided to settle, man adapted to their environment and built civilizations often independent of each other. From this we have the different languages, skin color, genetic make up, and cultural growth as a result of these various settlements across the world. These groups of people would eventually come back into contact with one another through war, migration, conquest, slavery, and other means like religion or money. This is globalization. And with the advent of colonization, we have a concept known as race which classifies people largely by phenotype and continent of origin.
I say that to make my first point. Egypt was settled by people that were originally on the African continent, Black people. It is an established fact that Africans have the most diverse gene pool on the planet due to the development of humans within the continent and their constant movements, settlements, and mixing among the various populations while those outside of Africa have gene pools with less diversity due to the bottle neck effect of Out Of Africa. This explains why indigenous Black Africans range in color from dark skin to very light skin, they have a great diverse genetic pool within themselves.
But of course this doesn’t negate the outside populations that will add to this gene pool subsequently over the history of human civilization, but it still explains the differences in complexion between various indigenous African groups. In analyzing phenotype of these original groups, there is no need for someone to bring up a West Asian conquest or invasion to understand that Egyptians, after originating in the Naqada region from various African groups that decided to settle on the Nile Valley with contact with outsiders, are lighter than Nubians and other Africans located closer to the equator; but still much darker than West Asians and Europeans. Phenotypically, the original Egyptians are distinctly different than any indigenous group outside of Africa and closer to those indigenous to Nilotic Black African groups. Phenotypically they can be compared to the indigenous San people who are of a lighter hue than other African populations. To compare it to Europe, Mediterranean Europeans are darker than those in the United Kingdom, yet they are all considered White. To use Asia as an example, people in India are darker than people in Japan, yet they’re still considered Asian. In other words, the degree of color among indigenous groups within a particular continent does not negate the race in which they belong. Original Egyptians were Black Africans.
In regards to the mixing of Egyptian population with other North African, European, and West Asian groups, we can draw observations from the mixing of African populations with European and American Indian. All around The America’s and the Caribbean, especially Brazil, because of colonization, we will find Black people in every phenotype imaginable, from very light skin, thin nose and lips; to very dark skin with straight hair. The Blanqueamiento policies of Latin America was an attempt in trying to “whiten” their populations introduced a new gene flow into the Black people brought to the “New World”, yet even after this, they are still culturally and genetically of African origin. In most cases identifying as Black due to hypodescent, even if their genetic make up is less than 50% African. So though genetic make up plays an important role in distinguishing race, it has little to do with the cultural and societal components associated with the concept of race. One has to note that although these colonial policies were archaic in nature and tools for White Supremacy, it has to be taken into context; not to ignore the importance of how the concept of race has shaped modern society and ideology.
We could keep it at that one point to contradict the prevailing Eurocentric opinions of the Egyptian’s but the deniers need more proof than that because Egypt is, well, special. But even as Herodotus shows, the people of Egypt were darker than those of West Asia, people need more proof. OK, With continental origin and phenotype out of the way, let’s talk language and culture.
Culturally we find the most similarities between Ancient Egypt and the various indigenous African groups than we find with Ancient Egypt compared to Asian and European groups. To use the Far East for example, we can see a clear transition from the earlier Vedic religion into the later Buddhism showing a cultural connection between a vast stretch of land from the Southern shores of India to the Northern stretches of China; being genetically far apart, practicing different religions derived from the same source, but sharing cultural and continental ties that make them racially the same. Also, we see in today’s society that even if an outsider is influenced by this culture and adopts it’s practices, they are still not counted as the same race. Every Christian in the world identifies with Jesus, but that does not make them Middle Eastern. Back to the point, the same can be said for Egyptians as to the cultural connections found between any other Black culture found in Africa. Knowing the fact that people branched off from North East Africa to settle other parts of Africa while still maintaining many religious and cultural traditions indigenous to the North East is indicative of the continued cultural connection shared among the continent.
We will not find many warrior gods among Black religions, Egyptians included; you may find one main representation for war and the defense of the land, such as Apedemak of Nubia or Montu in Egypt. Outside of Africa, you will find that ancient religions in Europe and Middle East are heavily themed with warrior gods and goddesses. We know that the Nile Valley and other parts of Black Africa provided abundant sustenance, so there is no wonder that many of the same themes within African religions involving the connection of gods with the ancestors and the earth, as well as esoteric overplayed and often contradictory explanations for various phenomena or events, are found throughout the continent. Even when analyzing Hebrew, a West Asian population, compared to Egyptian culture, they took a hard left against most things Egyptian and have a greater similarities to the gods of West Asia. Egyptians lived free of any divine law, Hebrews created a divine law; Egyptians looked at their King as god incarnate, The Hebrew’s God was king; Egyptians believed in a godly connection with the land often choosing a particular god to worship for different reasons or locales, Hebrews believed worshipping anything but God was a grave sin and the creation of god-like images out of natural materials were a grave abomination. Egyptians, like most other Native African groups, believed right and wrong as inherent rather than a certain idea or action needed to be recognized and forbidden.
Furthermore totemic religious systems were not regularly practiced in Europe and Asia, outside of India; however, they are practiced all throughout the African continent. Encyclopedia Britannica defines a totemism as “a system of belief in which humans are said to have kinship or a mystical relationship with a spirit-being, such as an animal or plant. The entity, or totem, is thought to interact with a given kin group or an individual and to serve as their emblem or symbol.” In ancient Egypt, a major totemic figure was Set animal, or Sha, the totemic god of Set, in later times Set was represented as donkey or a man wearing a donkey head-mask. Set was thought of as one of the defenders of the god Ra and the pharaohs and priest were the representation of his power on earth. The Dogon of Mali have a totemic secret society called the Binou. One of the four representations of Dogon spiritual system, the Binou is the aspect of the immortal ancestors and is represented by a different animal or plant, and in turn generated by the different clans. During ceremonies, clan members are obliged to show respect to their clan’s totemic animal or plant. They are not are not permitted to eat, kill, or dance with a mask representing them. The term ba-binu which literally means “prohibitions” or “forbidden” in Dogon, is a practice used in many Black African cultures by different names. In Yoruba we find totems of the same variety among the different tribes. As it is often the practice of a married woman to take the name of her husband, she is not allowed to take his totem, children takes the totem of their father except in rare case where they take that of their mother. Some of the totems include Erin, the elephant; Ogun, the god of war; Okin do me, the love birds; and more. These totems often represent a particular family and the lineage in which they are from with the descendants showing reverence with offerings and prayers for the protection of the clan by the ancestors. It is interesting that this practice has shown it’s continuity throughout Black Africa and it’s various ethnic groups, but rarely practiced in West Asia and Europe; could this be evidence of the Black African origins of Egypt? Let’s continue on and see.
Let’s compare the Egyptian gods and the concept of after life of Black Africa with those of the outside world. We find all throughout Africa a pantheon of gods made up of ancestors and spiritual deities unlike West Asian and European religions and spiritual systems. The concept of the after life and several practices and rituals are consistent with the whole, as well as region specific, within Black Africa. We hearten back to the Dogon and their notion of a creator god named Amma or Amen. Linguistically we find a close relationship to Amun or the Amazigb, a much closer linguistic relationship with Egypt than other creator gods in West Africa, however the characteristics of this creator god is not unique to the Dogon and Egyptians but can also be found in the African spiritual traditions of groups in the West, South, and East. It’s interesting to note that the Amazigb is refers to the Hunter gatherer population of Egypt that preceded the first dynasty. Voudon offers a great example of the connection between West African and Ancient Egyptian pantheon of deities.
In African spiritual systems we find a significant integration into society in a way that was completely foreign to that of Europe and West Asia. With Europe and West Asian religions we find a narrow and direct divine explanation for natural phenomenon; God created the earth, people, and animals; God gives created air to breath; God is the bringer of punishment when disaster strikes offering no alternative explanation from any type of scientific observation. With Ancient Egyptian and Black African spiritual systems, we find a mix of scientific metaphor coupled with divine and natural explanations. According to Yoruba legend, Olorun was one of two original creator gods. The other was the goddess Olokun, sometimes represented as an androgynous god that could be male or female. In the beginning, the universe consisted only of sky and a formless chaos of marshy water. Olorun ruled the sky, while Olokun ruled the vast marshy waters below. There were thousands of other gods, but none had as much knowledge or power as Olorun. Eerily similar to the story of creation within Ancient Egypt, Olurun aka Oludumare is not directly worshipped but leaves this for the local deities of various tribes and clans. This is also not unlike the similarities between the various indigenous American spiritual systems practiced by groups that have retained their roots from the major Mayan, Aztec, Incan, and Olmec civilizations after colonization, the difference being that the African groups after their dispersal from Egypt and Nubia have had a much longer time to develop independently into distinct groups.
Read more: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ni-Pa/Olorun.html#ixzz78MYf6uF1
Modern science will distinguish the Egyptian language as an Afro-Asiatic language. Sure, I propose that is what the language eventually evolved into from the original language that was developed in the area. Now, science proposes that their are four major that the Bantu language evolved in West Africa and expanded into the Central and Eastern regions of the continent. However, as we know from study of human migration in Africa, Humans migrated initially immigrated into every corner of the continent in several waves. The first people and oldest language thought to develop in Africa is, Khoesian, with their click sounds and basic vocabulary to account for the natural world. Science postulates that Khoesian people hold the answer to the beginnings of human language. There are three more language classes: Niger-Congo, Nilo Saharan, and Afro Asiatic; with Nilo Saharan being the oldest among these groups. What’s interesting, is we see a basic continuity of the African language groups as they developed as well as an evolution of the various languages as populations re-encountered each other after the first and subsequent migrations. We find that the Khoesian language gave way to a Proto-Bantu in the West, which, would later become Bantu as Nilo Saharan speakers encountered Bantu speakers. While a mix of Nilo-Saharan and Koesian would create what we know as Bantu, Nilo Saharan would mix with the West Asian languages giving way to what we know as Afro-Asiatic languages. This explains why several different ethnic groups that would be considered Bantu or Nilo-Saharan have words, names, and phrases that bear a remarkable resemblance with Ancient Egypt. This is similar to the various language groups of Asia that range from Arabic to Chinese; an Indo-European language and a Sino Tibetan language, both of Asian origin, different branches of the same origin—Asia. Could it be the connotation of race that prohibits science from recognizing the original civilizations and languages of Africa as Black? Because there is no doubt that we recognize an Arab as Asian just as we do a Chinese person even though they come from two different language classes and are genetically different in various degrees due to proximity with others.
To bring our study to an end, we will touch on the political and social aspect between the continuity of the Black culture throughout Africa that can not be readily found outside of the continent in West Asia and Europe. We shall focus briefly on the make up of government, caste systems and matrilineal traditions that are predominantly found with Africa contrary to that of West Asia and Europe.
When we analyze the governments of Ancient Nubia and Egypt, we find mirror images of each other. There were seven classes of Egyptians, and of these some are called priests, warriors, herdsmen, swineherds, tradermen, interpreters, and, lastly, pilots; according to Sheik Anta Diop in his work Pre-Colonial Black Africa. These various forms of occupations were divided by the particular tribe one belonged. He goes on to say “in Africa, the power of the state, although centralized from Egypt to the rest of Black Africa,” similar to that of Rome to Europe. Interestingly we find many of the same caste systems still applied today throughout tribal Black Africa. One example is cattle herding, pastoralist societies are found to have first spread from Egypt and Nubia into South, and West Africa at a time coinciding with various instabilities within Egypt that caused migrations further away from the Central government during the Middle Kingdom (2040-1783 BC).
An article from anthropologist at Saint Louis University—Madrid and Stony Brook University says:
Many African societies are matrilineal as was Ancient Egypt, contrary to that of Europe and West Asia carried with their strict patrilineal and patriarchal system. Surviving records from the Middle Kingdom show that the nomes (provinces) of Egypt passed from one family to another through heiresses; thus, he who married the heiress would govern the province. The matrilineal practices in Egypt also applied to the whole society, as evident from the funerary stelae of all kinds of people throughout the known recorded history of Egypt, where it is the usual custom to trace the descent of the deceased on the mother’s side and not on that of the father. The person’s mother is specified, but not the father; or if he is mentioned, it is only incidentally.
In conclusion I just want to ask the question: How is it that in the context of racial construct in the 20th century, where Black is determined by phenotype, culture, and continent of origin, does academia continue to question the race of the original Egyptians? From their self images, DNA, and culture in which they lived, the evidence is substantial and obvious to the researcher and observer. We have no qualms about labeling a Vikings and Greeks among White people; Mayans and Plains Natives as one in the same on two opposite ends of the spectrum; one with more admixture of other populations than another but still in the same category. Yet we can not acknowledge that because of various reasons such as, trade, migration, famine, invasion, and barriers between West and East Africa which prevented initial migrants to the West from constantly moving back and forth, that Black Africa is still connected after 7,000 years when they first began creating the great civilizations in North East Africa. Ancient Egypt is just as Black as Ancient Mali.