Despite my post series More Properly Called Slaves, I might have to rework my understanding of the Maafa even more fundamentally. Consider this quote from Benjamin Franklin concerning the Palatines from part 15 (bolding mine):
“Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.
24. Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased.
And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus;
why should we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the Complexion of my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind.”
It’s not unknown for continental Europeans to be visibly browner than Anglos. It’s not unknown that the definition of ‘white’ people has been steadily expanding since its inception.
But is it possible that many 18th century Europeans weren’t ‘white’ even by our definition? That they were too ‘black’ to be allowed into America as anything but an enslaved class? That they couldn’t “pass”?
How did that happen? Were ‘black’ Europeans like the Moors, or their ‘grey’ descendants, still in large enough numbers to keep north America tawny? Or even the very first Europeans to leave Africa 40-50,000 years ago…?
If so, how come we don’t see them anymore…?