In Monaco there’s a group of caves called the Caves of Grimaldi, in which remains of these Africans and their statuettes/ figurines were found. They’re nowadays known as “Grimaldi Man”, and though they were originally classified as Cro-Magnon (another type of early human) it’s now established they were “anatomically modern” humans. Their facial structures seem to most resemble the Khoisanids of southern Africa, they date from 40 to 25,000 years ago, and were found over a 1000-mile area between France and the Caucasus of Russia!
The figurines depict women with steatopygia (enlarged buttocks. Think Saartjie Baartman enlarged) and gigantomastia (enlarged breasts) and are all of various brown hues. Despite some claims, there’s no evidence they were meant to depict anyone other than those early people of Europe.
Despite the impression historians like to give, ancient Greek civilisation did not suddenly spring into existence. Evidence shows all of it was conceptualised and developed from Nile Valley (Kemetic/ ancient Egyptian) civilisation. The Minoans on the Greek island of Crete were de facto intermediaries and transmitters of culture from Nile Valley to mainland Greece, influencing first the Mycenaeans and later the classical-era Dorians. For example, the 7th century BC Kouros statues at Delphi and Delos are so obviously based on Egyptian statues “not even the most die-hard classicists try to argue otherwise.”
A further example is the “Doric” columns of the Parthenon (447-438 BC). They came from the temple-complex of the Saqqara step pyramid (death of Pharaoh Djoser, 27th century BC).
Then there’s the Greek Thales (c.624 – c.546 BC) and Pythagoras (c.570 – c.495 BC). Both were Greek, geniuses of philosophy & maths. In fact, Thales is listed as one the Seven Sages of Greece and the very first philosopher, while Pythagoras invented the word philosophy – literally “love of wisdom”. And both of them trained extensively under priest-adepts in Egyptian temples.
Not just them, the book also lists Solon, Anaximenes, Anaximander, Eudoxus, Plato, Hipparchus and Galen as more such notable Greeks. And as the Father of History Herodotus (c.484 – 425 BC) made explicitly clear, Egyptians were black-skinned and woolly-haired like “Ethiopians” (the old term for Africans back then, what we call Ethiopians were called Abyssinians). See here and here for references.
This is a continuation of my post here. As I talked quite heavily about the Moors, this time I shall focus more on other Africans and their influences in European history.
When Christianity was first being spread in Rome, many Christians were martyred (read: massacred), with the first records of such incidents being from 180 CE. In the year 203 CE, we have the story of two African women who were also martyred for their Christianity: Felicity/ Felicitas and Perpetua. Christians may have heard of them through “The Martyrdom of (Saints) Perpetua and Felicity”. Perpetua was a 22yo noblewoman who was nursing her infant and Felicity (who was 8 months pregnant at the time) was her slave, both of whom were killed in Carthage (in modern-day Tunisia) during the reign of Septimius Severus. In that era much of north Africa was under Roman rule – the Roman Province of Africa, and the pair and their companions were killed in an amphitheatre.
Of course there’s disagreement over their appearance,
Ancient Greek myth has its fair share of African personalities, one of the most famous being Memnon, a powerful Ethiopian* warrior-king who brought a massive army to aid the Trojans during the Greek invasion of Troy. He was described by Quintus as “lord over the dark Ethiopians” whom the Trojans were delighted at seeing in their city, and Robert Graves in The Greek Myths Volume 2 called him “black as ebony, and the handsomest man alive”. According to the myth, when he died his mother Eos wept for him, and king of gods Zeus was so moved by her weeping he made Memnon immortal. Interestingly enough, the story also states that Aesop (original spelling was Aisopos) was a close friend of Memnon who got killed in the battle by Antilochos. There is debate over his actual existence, and probably even more about his ethnic origins, but there’s reason to believe Aesop was at least ‘black’ if not African. Yes I’m talking about the Aesop of Aesop’s Fables, and those have unquestionably influenced European culture.
* Bearing in mind that Ethiopia is a Greek name which originally referred to all the parts of Africa south of Egypt, it’s not certain which part of the continent Memnon was from. Assuming he was a real person, since an immortal man is somewhat hard to believe.
There’s also the history of the Colchians, the natives of Colchis/ Kolkhis (now the western part of Georgia, just south of the Caucasus mountains). Though their exact ethnic origins are still up for debate, Herodotus considered them to be Kemetians (ancient Egyptians), specifically descendants of Senusret/ Senwosret I’s army because they looked so similar to them. He described them as black-skinned and woolly-haired, but over and above that he also pointed out that they practised circumcision, something only the Egyptians and Nubians were known to do at the time. Furthermore, the manner they wove their linen was identical to the Egyptians’ way.
Note – Senusret I is also often known by his grecianised name Sesostris I. I don’t know if ‘grecianised’ is a real word, by it I mean that his original name was changed to a more Greek-sounding name because Europeans have had a habit of doing that for centuries.
There are many other examples of African influences in ancient Europe, but I’ll save them for another post.
To explain this, a bit of background science is needed. This is quite technical so if you’re not so scientifically minded, you can skip this bit:
The body produces a fat-soluble prohormone called vitamin D3, aka. calcitriol, which has numerous benefits for the body. It is a precursor of other vital hormones, enables proper absorption of calcium & phosphorus from the gut and proper “cementing” of them in the bones, prevents cancer (yes, even skin cancer, as long as you’re not letting yourself burn & expose yourself to the sun regularly), and regulates the immune system.
We can get it from eating mushrooms (they contain ergocalciferol aka. D2, which we can convert to D3), fish (WITH the bones!), beef liver, egg yolk or foods fortified with it such as milk & dairy. However, the absolute best way for us to get it is through being exposed to the sun or by going on a safe tanning bed. The body naturally makes vitamin D3 in the skin from cholesterol* (or more specifically 7-dehydrocholesterol), which circulates in the blood until it reaches the liver where it is converted to calcidiol, then is turned into the active form calcitriol either by the immune system or the kidneys.
* Yes, cholesterol is important for many many functions in the human body. Despite what the media and supermarket ads say, there has never been a proven link between cholesterol and heart disease. Most people don’t even realise that about 75% of the cholesterol in the body is made by the body – meaning only 25% comes from food!
There’s a common belief that the darker your skin is, the more difficult it is for your skin to produce D3, especially in less equatorial/ less sunny climates. The common explanation is that melanin dramatically decreases the amount of solar UV radiation that reaches the layers of the skin where cholesterol is converted, and this is an adaptive response to stop excess UV rays being absorbed and causing sunburn. However, according to the articles below this is flawed. Melanin seemingly bears no correlation to D3 production, as traditionally living African groups (Hadzabe & Maasai were the ones studied) had on average 115nmol/l (nanomoles per litre) of D3 in their blood – well above the currently accepted safe upper limit of 80nmol/l. Also, it seems genetic factors other than pigmentation account for the D3 status of ‘white’ people (ie. variants of genes controlling cholesterol synthesis, hydroxylation & vitamin D transport).
It’s little snippets of new research and scientific findings like these that advance human knowledge in the right direction. However, it’ll likely take at least 20 to 50 years for this to become common knowledge. Although new things are discovered by science pretty much daily, it takes ages for that to change the normal social paradigm and propaganda. This is my little contribution to that.
As I often write about race-related issues, many of these terms will be about the so-called races. Sometimes I use the commonly understood meaning of certain terms (common to people living in England). Note that my research has led me to form my own judgements about certain terms, explained below.
race: technically there’s only one – human. Scientifically speaking race = species. What we often describe as races are probably better described as meta- or panethnicities, or in some cases just ethnicities or phenotypes.
‘black’: a person of mainly (>50%) or exclusively (100%) indigenous African ancestry and possesses phenotypic features typical of such people (especially brown skin). This includes their diasporic descendants, e.g. Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Latinos, African-Americans, ‘black’ Britons and Siddis.
Note that I also include Negritos, Aborigines, Dravidians, Melanesians and similar looking peoples even though they have no recent African background. In their origin countries they are seen as ‘black’ too.
(However, if it weren’t for the confusion it would cause I’d only define as ‘black’ those people with the darkest possible skin colour regardless of ethnicity. See darkest-skinned below)
A beautiful ‘black’ woman of diasporic African descent -and with her natural hair to boot!
‘white’: a person of mainly (>50%) or exclusively (100%) European ancestry and possesses phenotypic features typical of such people (especially peach/ pink skin). This includes their diasporic descendants, e.g. most Americans, most Australians, most Latinos, Sephardic & Ashkenazic Jews, and Africanised Europeans (e.g. Afrikaners & Boers). I also include Aryans, by which I mean the Persians who went to India thousands of years ago, not modern-day Europeans who scream “‘white’ power” or “‘white’ pride”.
(However, if it weren’t for the confusion it would cause I’d only define as ‘white’ those people with the lightest possible skin colour regardless of ethnicity. See palest-skinned below)
Yvonne Ridley, an English journalist who was capturedby the Taliban and became a Muslim (of her own free will)
Ali G – let’s move on
Young Kalash girl, looks like a typical European but is actually Pakistani!
(I put black & white in quote marks because they’re inaccurate. No-one on this planet has literally black skin, and maybe apart from some albinos no-one has literally white skin. Also note how geography, ancestry and culture have no impact on the above definitions. Contrary to common thought these terms don’t refer to ethnicity or nationality. Sociologically they’re just colour metaphors for race, as are ‘red’, brown and ‘yellow’ though these are more accurate insofar as they refer to literal skin tone)
Asian: a person of mainly (>50%) or exclusively (100%) Asian ancestry with cultural ties to living Asian people. However, phenotype is almost useless to define them by, not to mention it means different things in different places. In USA it usually means East Asians (Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans, etc.) but in UK it usually means South Asians (Pakistanis, Indians, Srilankans, Bangladeshis, etc.). Thus I say Easians for the former, Sasians for the latter.
For Asians from Indochina, I find it most logical to call them Indochinese as they’re geographically, genetically & culturally between India & China.
A man of East Asian background (Korean, not Chinese)
Helen Doreena, a gorgeous Indian actress living in…you guessed it, Malaysia
mixed race: personally I don’t like it because it’s too generic. In UK it most often means a half-‘white’ half-‘black’ person but this ignores the fact that many ‘white’ & ‘black’ people have some degree of admixture regardless of appearance. I use more specific terms like mulatto (half-‘white’ half-‘black’ – or ‘grey‘ since we’re using racial colour metaphors), dougla (half-‘black’ half Indian), pardo (someone who is visibly between ‘white’ and ‘black’), melungeon (mixed ‘black’, ‘white’ and native American), Garifuna (mixed Afro- & native Caribbean), etc. However, I never use half-caste as it’s offensive and meaningless.
Vin Diesel: part Italian part ‘black’ American
Family of melungeons, once tried to pass themselves off as “dark-skinned Portuguese”!
African: a person of indigenous African background with cultural ties to such people. I include ones whose Africanness is sometimes doubted, e.g. Somalis, ancient Egypians (Kemetics), Nubians, original North Africans (Moors, Berbers & Kabyles) and Khoikhoi & San. All of these groups I also regard as ‘black’ (except Kabyles). Note: I usually don’t count members of the African diaspora as Africans – most of us had our original cultures, names & languages beaten out of us (literally) and replaced with those of ‘white’ people. Plus it makes it easier to distinguish in conversation.
San (I think) woman and baby. That baby is so cute!
However, there’s one group I’m confused about – Amazighs. Some say they’re native Africans, some say they’re Africanised Europeans (Greeks). I’m not sure so I’ll include them as Africans for now, but regardless they’re still ‘white’.
Arab: this is a confusing word, because the definition is very changeable. Contrary to what most think, Arabs are not a unified ethnicity. Arabs used to just be anyone who spoke Arabic (at least as a first language) regardless of ancestry and phenotype, now it refers to anyone with cultural/ linguistic ties to Arabised people even if they don’t live in the Arabian peninsula. Some argue that Arabs used to be a distinct ethnic group or groups primordially of East African background but became more fractured as they mixed with others. The USA classifies Arabs as ‘white’, despite the fact that most Arabs have medium to dark brown skin. Me, I’m not sure so I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.
Note that Arab is not synonymous with Muslim, and Arabs (however defined) existed thousands of years before Islam came to Arabia. Many Arabs were and still are Christians & Jews.
Mahri Arab man
Group of Jordanian Christians
native American: a person of predominantly (>50%) or exclusively (100%) pre-Columbian American ancestry. By this I mean North Americans like Ojibwe, Algonquians, Cherokees & Sioux – but I also include Canadians, Caribbeans and South Americans like the Inuktitut, Taínos, Aztecs, Tapirapé, Arawaks, Wayúu & Caribs.
I do not call these people Indian. That was Columbus’s screw-up and the fact that it still hasn’t fallen into total disuse shows how bad ideas can live on for ages. Like racism. Amerindian/ Amerind is even worse, a fusion of a correct & incorrect label.
Indigenous Brazilian man
Nowadluk, a native from Alaska
darkest skinned: self-explanatory – people with the darkest possible skin colour (almost literally black), with no regard for ethnic/ geographical origin.
Darkest skinned Tamils
dark skinned/ chocolate skinned:
RIPPED Tamil man!!!
medium skinned/ tawny skinned:
light skinned/ barely brown/ fair skinned:
(from what I understand ‘black’ Americans may also call them high yellow, which I think sounds stupid so I don’t use it)
palest skinned: self-explanatory – people with the lightest possible skin colour (almost literally white), with no regard for ethnic/ geographical origin.
Guess which one demonstrates palest skinned
(Of course all of these have gradations and distinctions in between, and I admit these are oversimplifications. However, I think they are useful and I stick with them. For now)
nigger: a particular subgroup of ‘black’ people (fortunately the minority, unfortunately a very vocal & overly noticed minority). Their distinction is not in ancestry or bodily traits, but in mental & behavioural traits like perceptions, speech patterns and beliefs. They’re the type of ‘black’ people who habitually live up to the negative stereotypes ‘white’ people have of us, i.e. wantonly violent, nymphos, lazy, averse to education, etc. The problem with niggers is not ignorance per se. It’s willful ignorance; they make the stereotypes part of their identity. They’re even stupid enough to equate all ‘black’ people with themselves and see nigger as a term of endearment! Usually men are called niggers but the term can apply to women.
Synonyms include nigga, niggah, nigguh, nig, nucca, nyukka & niggar.
The Boondocks‘s Riley Freeman, a nigger-in-training saying dumb s*** a nigger would say
whigger: a particular subgroup of ‘white’ people who act like niggers. It’s bad enough when they’re just copying what they see on the media and make it part of their identity (trying to be “gangsta”), but it’s far worse when they claim such behaviour makes them ‘black’. See Ali G for a perfect example. As with nigger, whigger is most often used to refer to men but can be used on women too.
Synonyms include wigger, wigga & whigga.
An Italian-American whigger (aka. guido)
I’m sure there are native American & Asian versions of niggers & whiggers but I have no idea what to call them. I’ll add more terms in later posts.