This article was transferred from another format and is being rebuilt. Written in 2009 revised in 2016
Defining African Identity Today
In our contemporary times, we have to accept that identities and terminologies change as circumstances change: There is no such thing as a trans-historical African identity.  Therefore, in Africa’s ancient history the term ‘African’ as an identity would have had no meaning; people defined themselves as members of kingdoms, religions, and ethnic groups.  However, these identities were still of people in the continent we call Africa.1)See section on Africa as the original name of the Motherland
We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us–Chester Higgins, Jr.
With greater interaction with non-Africans, Arabs and later Europeans, then this sense or necessity of a centralized globalized African identity started to take root; with its “ethnogenisis” especially in the Diaspora. Blackness, however is a term imposed at the moment of conquest by the apex oppressors — never by Africans themselves. Unlike the name African, it disconnected the people from their land of origin — and hence their birthright and geographical claim.
‘The people of Africa is more than a name, it is linked to indigenous rights and issues of sovereignty. Africaness and skin color are not verification of each other. ‘Blackness’ fails at every level in both the historical and political context. Africans are the natural people of Africa: The diverse hair textures, the diverse skin hues, are all specific adaptations to living in the diverse African landscape. For this reason alone ‘skin blackness” is certainly not a marker for African identity; far too many native Africans, depending on geography, have light skin. The Motherland of these adaptations and the cultures are primarily Africa; hence the relevance of the name.  ‘African’ refers exclusively to the historical people of Africa and their descendants in the Diaspora.In plain language, no one is an African unless they can also be considered a ‘Black’ person. But not every ‘Black person’ is an African.
Black, or Blackness, tells you how you look without telling you who you are, whereas Africa, or Africans, relates you to land, history, and culture– John Hendrik Clarke
Unfortunately, the most distinctive feature of this African identity, beyond relative/subjective phenotypical similarities, is the history of global race-based oppression North, East, South, and West, from Brazil to Bahrain—knowing no land of exception. Unfortunately too often race is good when discussing common issues very poor when discussing common values.
Historically, In every instances, European self-interest is the overriding factor defining the boundaries of “Africaness”, regardless of if it is “race whitening” in Brazil, “coloreds” in South Africa, or the “one-drop rule ” of America. In every instance “race” theories have been constructed to services the interest of White/European people.
It becomes critical, in a modern plural world, that the issue of identity be left to the people wearing those identities. Because no matter how else African people define themselves; Islamic, Christian, American, Hispanic, South African, Ethiopian, Hausa, etc. It is that African identity that impacts their relationship with the broader society. It is certainly not the only consideration in the lives of human beings, but certainly a very central one.3)Race is important to us– and if we think we have a right to a race-first ideology, then know for sure people have a right to any identity set up they want. It is our job to prove race is the most important one or one of the most important ones. Let us be fair, race is relevant not because God/Allah/Jesus/ Ngai said so. Race is relevant because we argue it is so. Some people say religion is more relevant. Some think being Kenyan rises above all other identities. 80% of the barriers facing us today are race based not because someone is from Kenya. That does not mean other identities are to be ignored or belittled. And there are many instances where religion or nationality might come to the fore making banding by these identities necessary. Like being a foreigner in a xenophobic state. I am pretty sure being a Muslim in the UK or USA is a very important identity, just like being Jewish in Germany, or Christian in Lebanon. There is no sin in anyone creating an identity around what is central to their self-interest. Race for one fails to deal with ethical issues and as such race will fail to unite us because it is so open. So no identity set-up it perfect, and no identity is timeless or exclusive. African women know this all to well. And being invested in one, does not mean neglect of the other.
Slavery was both mental and physical, much of the physical has been washed away—But the mental remains. And one of the greatest objectives in making “good slaves” was to remove the African connection. And hence Africans were made black/Negro/colored, and homeless — no other connection, other than the reality of the master’s plantation —no dreams, other than those of a slave—no higher destiny, other than to service the master’s empire, and no greater identity except relative to the slave-master’s skin color. And still today the consequences of that enslavement, while diminishing, still impact all African people where identity and agency are concerned.’
Outside of Africa, the largest agent shaping inclusion in the African box is African-American identity politics. The roots of this started with the 1 drop rule but is now expressed under African agency as people chose to identify overtly with their African heritage. And in doing so people of mix-heritage (Hispanic, etc) are broadening the definition of “Who is African.” So the question of “Who is an African” is really, for all intents and purposes, “Who can claim to be African-American” So not only does America have a monopoly on consumer trends and popular culture, but also in shaping identity.
“Whoever does not inform his children of his grandparents has destroyed his child, marred his descendants, and injured his offspring the day he dies. Whoever does not make use of his ancestry, has muddled his reason Whoever is unconcerned with his lineage, has lost his mind. Whoever neglects his origin, his stupidity has become critical Whoever is unaware of his ancestry his incompetence has become immense. Whoever is ignorant of his roots his intellect has vanished. Whoever does not know his place of origin, his honor has collapsed”–Timbuktu Scholar 14th Century 
The diverse ethnic groups, Amhara, Fulani, Zulu, etc are today enclosed within the African family. African therefore is a way of saying all of these native ethnicity and their Diaspora(s), both forced and voluntary. Today being ontological African is a race, not a place. (Malcolm X) Being African is different from being Arab. Arab is not a race, neither is being Jewish. Being Arab hugs dissimilar people who may be African, White, Kurdish, or Asiatic. A Jordanian Arab maybe a White person, while a Yemeni Arab maybe of Asiatic or even African heritage. Arabs are linked by a combination of language, politics, both historical and cultural factors. While traditionally Arab identity included genealogy, genealogy is no longer a critical factor; especially with the modern (post 9/11)  and 7th century Arabization of non-Arab people. [See Afro-Arab interview]
Race, ethnicity, and nationality are three considerations operating on identity. Race is the largest group, which hugs both ethnicity, and supersedes nationality. Nationalities are just the color of someone’s passport, or the territories people pledge allegiance to. So when Eritrea became independent, over night the Ethiopian people in the new borders became Eritrean; It is nothing more than a political territory. The Tigray people of both Eritrea and Ethiopia are still speaking the same language, the only difference is they pay taxes to different government departments. The same is true for the Zulus of South Africa and the Ndebele of Zimbabwe (same ancestry, same Ngoni language, etc). And no one has a Zulu Nation without first defining Zulu; likewise you cannot have an African anything, without first defining African.
Escaping race (with doublespeak, political correctness, obfuscation and naivety) is clearly a luxury for those who have already ascended to become the dominant race-class. For everyone else, race engagement is a consequence of that domination. So the appreciation or relevance of Africaness is located in the face of a multi-racial world and the primary function of defining African identity is first and foremost an exercise in political self-interest and African agency.
As people of African descent and others assert their definitions of self in an effort to create a national consciousness, European academia belittles these efforts as juvenile and unnecessary–Marimba Ani
This planet is a circle with 50,000 years of people movement, and if by pure we mean isolated then what value does that have in any analysis? The second thing race, as real as it is for us today, can only be defined for us today. We cannot transport or teleport our modern race constructions into ancient society and start saying “These people were real Africans.” They are defined by how they saw themselves, not by how we decide to see them today. Because none of them identified with any group beyond their own self-identity. In short, they did not buy your ” I am black and proud” T-shirt.
CONSTRUCTION OF AN IDENTITY
NECESSITY OF RACE- RACELESS WORLD
If we are unclear about identity, we will be unclear about everything else –Kimani Nehusi
The formation of a race-identity is necessary for the authentic notion of ones community as an autonomous agent. Without identity, there is no agency, and certainly no history to draw from. Regardless of how identity is formed (race, religion, geographical) it always shares the same objectives and has similar personalities in instructing a stronger group bond. African identity is not a monolithic personality, but neither is it “undefinable” because of its diversity. African identity does not rest on negation for its parameters but on inherent social, cultural, physical trends subjectively identified— for political reason— across diverse communities and nations.
Tribe, race, nation, ethnicity, are all anthropologically and ontologically identical— all are constructions with the same objectives. Therefore to invalidate ‘race,’ is 100% to also invalidate ‘tribe’ and ‘nation’. “We all belong to this nation,” because of a common mythological political construction. It is just as “made up” as race, it also functions as a power fulcrum—just like race.
It is clear that what divides this world is first and foremost what species, what race one belongs to…The cause if effect: You are rich because you are white, you are white because you are rich–Frantz Fanon
But belief in difference should never, in a world of intelligence and humanity, be an excuse for antagonism. Some will point to the history of humanity to illustrate the violence in notions of identity (Zionism, Nazism, etc). But just as many examples exist of rainbows of difference coexisting, exchanging, sharing, the fruit of diversity. But if there is a lack of an autonomous identity that is perhaps why the benchmark will always be set by the hostile “other.” It is that unique identity that allows multiculturalism, and moreover multicultural contributions to humanity. And how do you integrate your diversity into any society when you do not know yourself?
So to avoid the awkward issues of race domination, is to make the world safer for racism to thrive. To not discuss race in a racialized society is to do racism a favor–Shahadah
There is zero point talking about anything in the African world unless you first clarify African identity. You cannot talk about slavery without discussing identity — It is impossible. In every instance, slavery (Arab and European), colonialism, apartheid, identity was the criteria for those systems: And lack of a Pan-African identity is what allowed all those systems to be so effective. And while some might want to escape to the hills of a raceless world, know that wherever we go, someone is seeing us by our identity. Race in the case of the African, is the first thing people see when you show up at an immigration border, long before religion, way before ethnicity, political alignment. It supersedes notions of nationality, class, academic qualification, or social-economic status: If it is so visible then it must be real, and therefore a serious discourse.
“There is no such thing as race” seems to be the new anthem of modern liberals, it is a shame someone did not share this “fact” with the millions of victims of the African Holocaust (colonialism, enslavement, and apartheid). It falls into the same logic as “there is no such thing as God..” well considering the re-occurrence of God and Race in human lives it would be fair to say it is real enough to merit a very serious discussion (at least).
“We are all African” It seems being African is so horrible for some that they will accept it only if they can drag all of humanity into the identity. This way being African does not isolate them.
“It is not politically correct to discuss race” while almost everything in the last 500 years is because of race exploitation, of course they want the question of race off the table. As Martin Delany would argue that there is no time that race is not a principle factor in World politics ~ See Trayvon vs. Zimmerman
Race is Real: Nearly 90% of African Americans called the shooting unjustified, compared to 33% of whites; and some 62% of Democrats disapproved of the verdict, compared to 20% of Republicans. Gallup reported that the reaction was “almost exactly the opposite” of that following the O. J. Simpson murder case, when 89% of African Americans agreed with the jury decision, compared to 36% of whites. A Pew Research Center poll found similar divisions along racial lines in the Zimmerman case.
The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.– W. E. B. Du Bois
Social dominance has always been about the relationship between money and power. And while money might not care about color; i.e. anyone with money may attain power regardless of race. However, there is another relationship between wealth and race. So while the rich dominate the world, the other relationship maintains people of the White race as the principle capitalist and hence the dominant race-class. Race and class for 99% of the time ride in the same saddle. South Africa being a good example where the trickle wealth shift post-apartheid still doesn’t change the relationship of race dominance. The primary mechanism, which operates here is opportunity and the privileges, which creates these opportunities: All are housed within the framework of race.
So if race has been such a determining factor in shaping the past, and still remains a crucial way in which the world operates in all spheres of human interaction, it then becomes critical to add clarity from an African standpoint. And the notion of the divisiveness of race is a convenient (naive or malicious) detraction in which to hide the racist reality of human behavior. In the illusionary notion of a raceless world, abandoning notions of “race” always fails to deal with the commuting of racist attitudes or the disparity between races.
These habits exist, and manifest, with or without these definitions, in all human behaviorism. What they are really saying is: “The world would be better if Africans didn’t see our ancestry, culture and history, and lost our memory of the ongoing African Holocaust.”
Raceless idealism helps to better facilitate the domination of European cultural values, as the vacuum of zero identity is quickly filled with whiteness –‘Alik Shahadah
And where agency comes into play the self-determined definition must be done by those who hold the interest of African people and are loyal and sensitive to the history and culture(s), as well as the politics of race. This cannot therefore be done by politicians or the apex oppressor and their agents.
It would be unwise to leave identity to float around when someone’s notion of African identity was what transported 20 million people out of Africa during the African Holocaust. There were not too many conferences on African identity during the apartheid era; they knew who we were, so it is strange that people are vague on these critical issues.
Failing to define oneself only means failing to have a frame of meaningful reference to describe one’s experiences.
Now because Africans, are weak on identity, it means the group cannot quickly defend interest directly related to the group. So the South African protest to inequity has a slower rate of spread because Botswana, for example, cannot see its story in the SA Story; Nigeria cannot see its story in the South African story. The African connection is lost because Nigeria is Nigerian before being African, South African Africans are South Africans way before being African.
But the Arab Libyan story is understood in an instance in Yemen, Sudan, and Egypt. That is the blessing of an identity, and it explains why Palestine is the rallying cry around the Arab world because two sources of identity exist; We are Arab, and We are Muslims. In a flash any offense to either of those identity structures can create a mass response.
HUMAN DIVISIVE NATURE
Bob Marley sung a song based on Haile Selassie speech, the message is a powerful statement, which is a declaration of our basic human rights. It does not however say Race is a problem, but racism is a problem. Race should not confer privilege. Europeans also did not create tribalism they only found it to their liking and exploited it. And everyone thinks, at some level, to different degrees, that their “group” has some superior traits. Certainly even within the Caribbean, you will find this, despite almost everyone being the same “tribe.” Same in Somalia, they find ways to sub-divide a monolithic ethnic group.
“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior And another Inferior Is finally And permanently Discredited And abandoned -Everywhere is war – Me say war. That until there no longer First class and second class citizens of any nation Until the colour of a man’s skin Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes – Me say war. That until the basic human rights Are equally guaranteed to all, Without regard to race – Dis a war. That until that day The dream of lasting peace, World citizenship -Rule of international morality Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, But never attained.”
As it relates to Somalia, what is there to divide over? Same religion, one language, one culture, one people. It is the most homogeneous community in the world, yet one of the most troublesome regions in Africa. Thwarting the notion of “sameness” holds any solutions for humanity. There is no requirement to be like your neighbor to be a good neighbor. Humanity will always seek divisions even if everyone was tall, blonde, blue-eyed and Christian.
Human diversity is a mercy, but humans ironically turn this mercy into a curse. Denying race is not part of the process to peace, regardless of how much horror has been caused in the name of race. No more so than ignoring a malignant tumor is a good cure for cancer. With or without modern constructions of “race” humans will find a reason to sub-divide– it is a hard wired defensive and self-serving mechanism in human DNA. Social experiments show that even if everyone in a group are European, blonde, blue -eyed and tall they will over time naturally find a reason to “tribalize.” So the only way is to understand, tolerate and celebrate difference – since it will always exist.
SUBJECTIVITY OF DIFFERENCE
Someone asked; “Why do East Africans (Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea) look different from the rest of Africa.” It is a loaded question: The question could equally be asked “Why do South Africans look different from the rest of Africa.” Well, why do Norwegians look different from Southern Italians? The differences we are made to see are an outcrop of colonialism and Eurocentric racism. And for the record there are people all over Africa (Mali, Rwanda, etc) that have the Ethiopic look. But the images people see of Africa are those fashioned in a world built to create the illusion of difference.
Between brunettes, redheads, and blondes, green eyes and blue eyes or grey eyes, they are all still Europeans (Diop). There are lots of silly explanations for difference, most the product of Western Anthropology that created “difference” from within there spheres of self-interest. And this is why difference among Africans is given such a high focus in order to divide and conquer. And a good example of this is the focus on skin color. Did ancient people of Rwanda focus in on skin color to differentiate different ethnic groups? Did Ethiopians do it? No they did not. Amhara people come i
n all different skin colors, with different hair textures from dead straight to tightly curled.
They might have had a totally different set of criteria to differentiate them from the Oromo or even other Semitic people such as Tigray and Gurage. In South Africa using skin color would be meaningless during apartheid to separate Zulu from so-called coloreds. Because the skin color range of many native South Africans is from “high yellow” to dark brown. So apartheid had to focus on something else–hair texture. But while this worked for South Africans it would not have worked in Congo, Nigeria, and especially not for Ethiopia.
WHO IS AN AFRICAN
Slaves and dogs are named by their masters. Free men name themselves– Richard B Moore
A racial classification is given to a group of individuals who share a certain number of phenotypic traits: Discernible physiological features. There is also a social,-cultural, relationship, and a historical relationship between members of the same race.
Race is not transhistorical: If we isolate Ethiopia and study its history of “race” classification we will see a microcosm of the wider world, where blatant ethnic differences play the role of race. Where certain phenotypes were labelled as “different”, “other”. So we must be cautious of the word “Race” and not break the coat hanger by hanging too much on this term in a transhistorical context. This is why it is a failed argument to suggest Ancient Egyptians were a different “Race” based on their art; different “ethnicity” doesn’t mean different race. And since we cannot read the minds of ancient people we can only really debate our contemporary world.
African identity is not an open door, it does not have open membership. You cannot just come in like that. It does not work like that. It is exclusive because it has to be, it is exclusive because our experience is exclusive
“Racially essentialism means that groups are seen as possessing an essences– a natural, supernatural, or mystical characteristic — that makes them share a fundamental similarity with all members of the group and a fundamental difference with non-members. The essences is understood in racialist thinking as being immune to social forces. It does not change with time or social context. In essentialist thought, Blacks in the African nation of Malawi, for example, and Blacks today share a fundamental similarity with Blacks in ancient Nubia thousands of years ago” – Algernon Austin
Austin certainly has a valid academic point, but all people seek their identity this way. It is certainly true for the 2000 year history of Jewish people. It is also true for Arab people, it is true for the people of China. Deconstructionialist intellectualism does very little to deal with the fact that all people’s identification with ancient groups is part of their identity formation–mythical or otherwise.(Shlomo Sand, 2010) The Shona with Zimbabwe, the modern Italians with Ancient Rome, the Jews with David. Jews went so far as to displace an entire indigenous nation to restore their pseudo-historical claims to an ancient mythical title deeds. Right or wrong, true or false, it is a consistent aspect of human social behavior– to identify with that which looks like you, or with legacy which embolden your national ideology. (e.g. See Nazi German’s Aryan claims)
In the case of the Africans and the Diaspora who are genetically quite diverse yet socially homogeneous (Asante). The principle historical event, which created this social homogeneity was oppression via enslavement. Being African or being of African heritage are different paradigms, which often, but not always mean the same thing. But every African is of African heritage, while not every person with African heritage is considered African.
You can be from Africa (many Arabs, etc) but that doesn’t satisfy being African in terms of self-identity; and we must deal with the two realities. Having African heritage and identifying with that heritage is a sociological aspect of being African. 20 Years ago, if you asked many African-Americans if they were African they would kick you in the mouth — as that was considered offensive. Today these same people proudly identify as being African people. So in considering identity was must weigh in a communities exposure to information of self in making constructive opinions of self. So there is no valid point in saying “Black people in Columbia prefer to black to African” when it is clear these communities are still starve of knowledge of pride in their plural identities and are acting out self-hatred. So “self-determination” is not a sacred cow especially when full knowledge is absent.
|1||African Origin *||Blood /historical connection|
|2||Looking African||Fitting into some phenotypical model of an African|
|3||Self-Identifying||Acknowledging and being part of an African identity|
|4||African Culture (optional)||Practising and adhering to African cultural values|
But if someone is of African heritage and denies being African how does it affect their racial classification, since what you are is what you are. The late Sadat was of African ancestry but dis-identifies with being African. The first condition is factual based on his ancestry – that cannot change. The 2nd is subjective, however he does fit into the diverse box that hugs being physically African i.e. Sadat looked no different from most Sudanese or Ethiopians.However, Obama, in the same boat, satisfies three conditions; African ancestry, looking African, as well as identifying with that ancestry, he fails the 4th (as do many African-Americans). So historically we can say Anwar Sadat was a
n African person the same way Tibbu Tib was African regardless of their personal self-perception. Historically people in the Americas have always denied being African, this doesn’t not alter the fact that they are an African people. Now if someone identifies with being African but are not genetically attached to native Africans then they are not African. So the primary condition for classification of being an African is origin (condition 1).
(Condition 2) Physically looking African is important because vision is the most primary sense which dictates most of our perceptions. It is a subjective sense, since looking African in the Congo is different, to looking African in Somalia. However, nowhere on planet Earth is Rashid Jones identified as African/Black. Despite her claims to being “Black.” She fits into the rare exception box. And the 0.00001% exceptions do not bend the rule.
In the rare cases of when a child has an African parent but looks non-African then that is where things get complicated, regardless of how they identify. Because legally they can claim Africa, like anyone else, you cannot deny an ancestral claim. So Rashid Jones has equal access to everything African
despite failing condition 2. She is not an African but a person with African heritage. On the other hand model Noemie Lenoir is classified as a “Black” person (as well as socially identifying with being Black) but has no African ancestry (unlike Dwayne Douglas Johnson), but she looks as “African” as any Ethiopian (see illustration).
Noemie Lenoir would be far more accepted as being African (especially if she said nothing about her heritage) than Miss Jones. But Miss Jones has more “right” to any African ancestral claims than Miss Lenoir. Gadaffi satisfies only 3 and 4, and while clearly an advocate for Africans, this alone does not make him an African person, despite his African sensibilities; which are much more defined than many “real” Africans.
Some would suggest admixture in the case of some Ethiopians, but in “race” theory we need some kind of cut-off. African people left Africa so the mother source of most of most racial features must have been Africa. Why would kinky hair and broad noses be “authentic” features of “real” African people? Who created this rule of what an African should look like? What does having tightly kinky hair have to do with the totality of African identity? Phenotypic overlap (having features shared by other races) has zero bearing on authenticity.
Climate, genetics, and random chance give both the Chinese and the Southern African flat noses and “oriental eyes.” Now clearly most physical features came out of an African genetic Adam and Eve.
So therefore somewhere in the African gene pool there must be the natural ability to produce a diverse human; with diverse hair texture and diverse skin color. So any African living in a cooler region would naturally have lighter skin (South Africa for example). The climate of Ethiopia would favor straighter hair, the jungles of Cameroon would favor squatter body structure, the deep equatorial heat might favor da
rk skin. African diversity is a child of time (Nehusi), and many times we fail to realize Africans have had over 120,000 years to be diverse. Another way of understanding this is the history of humanity is largely the history of people of Africa. The other “races” of the world have been here for less than 50-60,000 years of human history. And this explains why two Africans can have more genetic diversity between them than a the diversity between a European and a Chinese. Indians who have the narrowest genetic diversity of any national group still possess serious diversity in eye color, skin color, yet no one suggests that this implies the pale green eyed Kashmiri ( کٔشِیر) is “less” Asian, than the Tamel in Southern India.
The history of people of Africa, is largely the history of humanity
With regard to Ethiopia, one cannot become an Arab just because you cross the 22km gap into Yemen from Ethiopia, and then be mixed just because those people in Yemen walk back into Africa. And Ancient gene pool mixing is common for most groups so that is virtually negligible as an admixture argument. The features in East Africa are just as African as the noses on the Wolof and the epicanthic fold “Chinese eyes” in Southern Africa. (Also Sandawe and Khoisan)
Being African cannot be defined by Europeans or Arabs, in the same way Africans play no part in the definition of “Who is a Jew” or “who is a Caucasian.” To return to Israel (aliyah) you need to pass the “Who is a Jew” test. Through controversial, and still ambiguous, it exists because it is so important to maintaining an Israel of White Jewish people. In others words fear of alienation or the complexities of identity did not stop the occupying state of Israel from defining “who is a Jew”. This definition is not set by Germans or Arabs or even the British.  Equally African will not be defined by politicians who service the business interest of the minority, nor any European or Indian minority settling in Africa. Minority cannot define a majority.
Whiteness is actually defined via a process of exclusion rather than inclusion, and again Africans are not the agents behind that definition. African people are the majority who wore the chains of mental and physical slavery, the yoke of apartheid and colonialism and the consequences of the ongoing institutionalized racism. From China to Chile, African people are identified as African and treated in a particular way based solely on skin color, and geographic ethnic origin. Sociologically, it is necessary to discuss a group that has that experience in a box which serves a deeper understanding of that shared history. There is no service in adding Whites who happen to be born in Africa to that box when there are no historical or sociological similarities, except a relationship of one oppressing the other.
Africa means something. This tag has a meaning, a penalty and a responsibility–Chinua Achebe
Whiteness is actually defined via a process of exclusion rather than inclusion, and again Africans are not the agents behind that definition. African people are the majority who wore the chains of mental and physical slavery, the yoke of apartheid and colonialism and the consequences of the ongoing institutionalized racism. From China to Chile, African people are identified as African and treated in a particular way based solely on skin color, and geographic ethnic origin. Sociologically, it is necessary to discuss a group that has that experience in a box which serves a deeper understanding of that shared history.
There is no service in adding Whites who happen to be born in Africa to that box when there are no historical or sociological similarities, except a relationship of one oppressing the other.
Racism poisons our life conditions. It makes people hate us before they even know us! They redefined us out of humanity so that a person from Iceland got a concept of us and they never saw us or interacted with us. So what they’ve done is poisoned how people relate to each other– Maulana Karenga
While Blackness is an all-inclusive term, a kind of non-white box, which as Fanon said, came into being at the colonial moment. And just like “blackness” the formulation of an African identity was paramount in Europe’s interest for targeting African people to serve as slaves and colonial subjects.
However, the irony does not end there, because as soon as this very identity starts servicing a stronger global African block then it is challenged by the same people who for centuries profited from it. And while seeking to restrict African people from accessing identity, they continue to extend their privilege through race-based opportunism. The ideas of race-based Pan-Africanism are not unique, we see the same arguments in Zionism (there are differences because Zionism has no ethics). The EU is no different, although the EU is not race base by definition, the reality is it is also not overrun with so-called ethnic minorities. So the EU does not have to worry about defining its unity by race when it is already securely controlled by the dominant race class, added to that Europe is already a majority White nation. Africa on the other hand is not so fortunate, and despite dominance in numbers — that dominance is not reflected in the real economic power.
All non-African females are descendants of L3 line from Africa, and males have Y chromosome M-168
The common retort to African identity is nested in the genetic revelation that we are all “out of Africa.” However, modern race did not exist when we “all left Africa.” Moreover, no ethnic European walked out of Africa and into Europe. It was pigmented people from Africa who were transformed and genetically altered to give rise to modern races. This process was over a millennium in accordance with the environmental conditions in the specific geographies: White skin in Europe, stocky bodies in the mountains of Nepal. “Out of Africa” has nothing to do with race, it has to do with genetic migration patterns; race is a social reality not a scientific one.
Even if we look deeper into genetics; where did Europeans become European? In Africa or in Europe? Where did the Chinese become Chinese? In Africa or in China? Living for 20,000 of years in Europe created the modern European with unique gene mutation, which occurred only in Europe, as a branch from the gene pool of the Central Asia stock. These mutations were in direct response to the climate and events of Europe not Africa. Because if we use this argument then we could also say that, we are all single-cell organisms because that is our common origin. Haplogroups do not represent modern ethnicities, but prehistoric adaptations that predate any modern self-identification. The African is the result of a parallel response to the climatic conditions of Africa. And while Africans were continuing to respond to the African environment, the modern-day European was doing the same, but in Europe
“white” depends for its stability on its negation, “black.” Neither exists without the other, and both come into being at the moment of imperial conquest–Franz Fanon
18TH CENTURY MODELS OF AFRICANS
The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our ﬁnding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population–D. J. Witherspoon
One mental legacy lurking in the shadows of not only European consciousness but African consciousness is the model of an “authentic” African. Ingrained into the deepest mental parts is this notion of African = black skin, thick lips and woolly kinky hair.
However, this is only one type of African (Diop). This mental image is a European creation, because the features which seemed to be more opposite to those of Europe became the archetypical features of the ‘Negro’: thin nose – thick nose, kinked hair – straight hair, dark skin – light skin, thick lips – thin lips.
And every feature that strayed from that White standard became labeled as being ugly. So the same thick lips that everyone is lining up for at plastic surgeries around the world were first labeled as ugly and at odds with the “beauty construct”. Still to this day this perception of European beauty runs havoc on the African mind as kinky hair is poisoned straight and dark skin is bleached white.
Their round eyes, their flattened nose, their lips which are always large, their differently shaped ears, the wool of their head, that very measure of their intelligence, place prodigious differences between them and the other species of men–Voltaire *Foremost intellectual of Europe
European scholarship has this habit of putting weak theories on top of other weak theories (Socail Darwinismism) to produce seemingly mainstream opinions which go unquestioned. If you go to the base and pull it apart entire Western studies start to collapse. The notion of Sub-Saharan DNA is one such foundation which many more studies are based on. When all these falsehoods are confronted European scholarship has to reverse-study reality in order to sustain dependent opinions. This is exactly what they tried to do in Ancient Zimbabwe, and even Ethiopia. As oppose to acknowledging that so-called “Sub-Saharan” Africa has produced scripts and advanced civilization it was easier to say those peoples were non-subsaharan.
They have for a long time argued that these groups are not “true Africans.” or in the case of Egypt “Egyptians were not black Africans” when the very term “black African” and “Sub-Saharan African” are racist constructions in colonial theory. This is why the term black is so problematic because it is based on a mis-observation of perceived skin color which is used to define populations which might not share anything in common; For example the people of Australia and Solomon Islands.
And it is a big question whether among them they are descendants of monkeys, or if monkeys come from them. Our wise men have said that man is the image of God: behold a pleasant image of the eternal Being with a flat black nose, with little or no intelligence! A time will come, without a doubt, when these animals will know how to cultivate the earth well, to embellish it with houses and gardens, and to know the routes of the stars. Time is a must, for everything–Voltaire *Foremost intellectual of Europe
We cannot create an authentic identity out of negation– What I am not! I am not White: I am not well-spoken, I do not wear a suit, I do not value sitting at the table and eating, I do not like structured religion. Unfortunately, this is what blackness is all over the world. It is not an identity coming out of a culture, it is a rebellion to the presences of Whiteness. But education and a command of any language is neither White nor African. Having advance knowledge of physics is neither White nor African. Showing up on time to a meeting and documenting events is not a racial trait. It is a fractured identity that creates the people you see in the ghettos who in the vacuum create a psudo-identity in reaction to the dominant White identity. The irony of it all is the negated identity seems to embrace the most vulgar stereotypes visioned by “the Other.”
The term Hamite was applied to different populations within Africa, mainly comprising Ethiopians, Eritreans, Somalis, Berbers, and Nubians. Hamites were regarded as Caucasoid peoples who probably originated in either Arabia or Asia on the basis of their cultural, physical and linguistic similarities with the peoples of those areas. Europeans considered Hamites to be more civilized than Black Africans, and more akin to themselves and other Semitic peoples. But many factors go into phenotypical features, and admixture is one factor, but certainly not the exclusive source. Ethiopians are Africans and some have dead straight hair while Diaspora people with kinky hair and thick noses might have European ancestry (like Henry Louis Gates). Human features are far more complex and have no allegiance to social constructions of “Black people v. White people.” The straight nose of the Fulani is no less or more African than the thick nose of the Hutu.
Beyond this legacy is also a historical force in operation and we see this in Sudan which has populations of Arabized people and non-Arabized people. And Arabization does not mean being non–African or of mixed ancestry. (See photo of Meles v Bashir). Africans have always been diverse, and dark skin or thick lips has nothing to do with a more “historical” African. Actually the further back we go we see the so-called Bantu type is a recent African group who expanded during successive Bantu expansions. This expansion displaced many other “types” of Africans, such as the so-called pygmy people (Baka) of the Cameroon who are much smaller in stature and much lighter in complexion.
‘Now when it comes to Ancient Egypt we start seeing how this notion of “race” is played against African people. Using the same 18th century models to say “The Ancient Egyptians were Caucasian” based on racist anthropology called skull measurements. (Carleton Coon)
But did anyone think to measure the skull of a Somali or a Rwandan person? And that is when things got twisted and the reversed theories of Ethiopians and Tutsi people being members of some distant European gene pool emerged. Many coastal African populations share Middle Eastern DNA, and so do many Palestinian people.  A genetic study in 1996 suggested that more than 50% of the Lemba Y-chromosomes are from the Middle East.  But this has nothing to do with being African.
Difference does not mean different race. And how an ethnic group sees itself as distinct from other ethnic groups (as in the case of Egypt) does not mean Ancient Egyptians were not African. Only that they were another ‘type’ of African.
Race is also used very strategically by the dominant race class; as much as “race” doesn’t exist it exists very quickly when Africans start claiming the achievements of Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians are tanned white people and the Nubians are black-skinned Caucasians. The racial classification switches to keep African contributions to civilization out of reach. So we see those who classify Egypt as a native African civilization being labeled as pseudo historians while to assert the White identity of Egypt is not called “et
hnocentric” — but history.
As oppose to going the predictable route of selecting thick nose Ancient Egyptian images as evidence of their Africanity we just need to show how Ghanaians paint themselves versus the Ethiopian self-aesthetic versus the Egyptian self-aesthetic and ask what is so radically different in these different ethnic depictions?
RACE DILEMMA – GEO-SPECIFIC
The universal notion of “race” ignores that “race,” in some instances, has a geographical context. A light skin Eritrean can go from being “African” in Kenya, “Arab” in Sudan, “habesha” in Egypt , to Mulatto in the UK, back to being “African” in America, “pardos” in Brazil, and “colored” in South Africa. While their dizygotic twin could have a completely different experience because he might be darker with thicker hair texture.
Under a geographical microscope what is understood as “race” in one society is not the same in another. Historically, In every instance, European self-interest is the overriding factor regardless of if it is “race whitening” in Brazil or “coloreds” in South Africa or the “one-drop rule ” of America. In every instance, “race” theories have been constructed to services the interest of White/European people.
In Brazil between 1889 and 1914, as the solution to what was framed as the “Negro problem” a kind of Droit du seigneur (primae noctis), believed that the African race would advance culturally and genetically, or even disappear totally if deliberate mixing took place: A type of eugenics. The result today is that most African or Pardos Brazilians have some European ancestry. According to genetic research, an African-Brazilian will possess about 30-50% European ancestry, a Pardo 50-75% European ancestry and a Branco >70%.
Due to this applied social Darwinist models of racial superiority, Africans and Native Brazilian groups, just like in South Africa (Zulu etc and Khoisan), occupy the least prestigious positions in society.
And today, the Brazilian government still racially classifies the population in five categories: white, black, pardo (brown), yellow, and indigenous.
We are all too familiar with the argument of class being a higher factor in oppression than “race” however in Brazil it has been argued that class ascension may be open to people of “mixed race”, but a typically African person will consistently be discriminated and identified as “black” regardless of wealth or social status.
However, the proportion of people declaring themselves “Black” or mixed race has risen from 44.7% to 50.7%, making African-Brazilians the official majority for the first time. According to the census, 7.6% of Brazilians said they were Black, compared with 6.2% in 2000, and 43.1% said they were mixed race, up from 38.5%. In 1872, when Brazil’s first census was conducted, the population was split into just two groups: free people and slaves, who then represented 15% of the population. Brazil’s minister for racial equality, Elio Ferreira de Araujo, attributed the change to growing pride among his country’s African and indigenous communities.
Despite having less racial violence and friction the richest 10% of the population earn 28 times the average income of the bottom 40%—The richest 10 percent is almost exclusively white. One-third of the population lives under the poverty line, with Africans and other non-whites accounting for 70 percent of the poor. Again we see that it doesn’t matter how you spin and re-interpret race, the result from South Africa, to Egypt, To the UK, to America to Brazil yields the same result; people who generally fit this articles definition of African are oppressed.
DILEMMA OF ETHNO-IDENTITY
A nation is a group of persons united by a common error about their ancestry and a common dislike of their neighbors–Thus Karl Deutsch
Every nation’s origins are rarely carved in the hard rock of reality, more so in the brazen political reality of the human historiography. Race behaves as super-national identity of people who share a common ancestry, history, culture and geography.  The myth of an Ancient Zulu people is really a story about the conquest of Shaka Zulu in our recent history. The process of that conquest created a Zulu identity, naturally at the expense of a lot of diversity; This is the story of almost all nations. Even when non-violent forces are at play identities are absorbed and nations become bigger than their origins.
One commonality across the span of time is the notion of “Us” and “them,” where them are never good people. (Greek notion of the less sophisticated “other” despite the Persians being more advanced). Being African is not a virtue, which equals righteousness, it is just a human sociological/political grouping. Pride in oneself is healthy because it gives us the confidence to be productive in this world. But exclusively clinging to race as the ultimate human value can lead to terrible consequences (Europeans in Africa). But too much “race pride “is a dangerous pursuit, it is only necessary to strengthen us due to an ongoing assault on Africa, as a race. Because justice and truth do not run concurrently with racial lines. Obama may make us proud because he is an African, but this should never be used to say “I support Obama in his campaign of imperialism, just because he is African.”
So we in dealing with African identity is the ontological sense we see that the state of “being African” is not defined only by our outward appearance (biological or cultural), but by our ethics and our ethos; sensiblities and paradigms. But this discourse requires a completly different paper because there is a very vivid distinction between defininig a race, and defining an ontological African being. Because culture, religion, all modulate identity. It is deeply subjective, and even more problematic to say these set of virtues make one more African and these set of virtues take you outside of the African ideal. So, on a human level, you are not going to get that much mileage out of anything which is based on what you look like and where your ancestors came from.
As much as we must live in the world as it is, we must be sensitive to its fallacies, inconsistencies and constructions it has created for us. The notion of race is relevant and there is no escaping it. But that is one reality, there is also the reality which must co-exist with that, that despite being all called African –we are also different. Culturally, genetically, spiritually, we do not share one big African culture despite having cultures, which make up the people of modern Africa group. We must be aware that group is salient and political, but it is not divine.
But just like a nuclear arms race, if your neighbors are defining themselves political exigencies means you must also. While using the formula of relative truth against political necessity we must be sensitive to the looming nemesis of any social study into race. Ethnonational character is shifting and acts out of necessity — Outside of this, defining African has no merits. The notion of race therefore is a mockery of every other discipline save politics and sociology. So the expression “We African people” is a modern phenomenon projected back into a history that would not have any use for it.
The concept of Du Boisian “double consciousness” has three manifestations. First, the power of white stereotypes on African life and thought (being forced into a context of misrepresentation of one’s own people while also having the knowledge of reflexive truth, the instrument of this is mainly media). Second, the racism that excluded African people from the mainstream of society, being a full member of the national identity. Finally, the internal conflict between being African and American (or any national identity) simultaneously. So the notion of Blackness in the Du Bois construction of double consciousness can actually be largely an identity created by the other. An Identity can become a straitjacket and conflict with notions of “self”, clearly it is largely imposed by institutional and other factors. Kwame Appiah is very good at exploring these dilemmas but unfortunately not good at resolving them, except inside his psychoanalytical idealistic posh head-space.  Because all of this is stated in a dialectical need for balance, yet none of this deters the reality that today Africans (by the very definition given here) are the most oppressed race from China to Chile.
Being African should never trample Zulu identity; it cannot make Amhara identity redundant. Being Amhara is a rich heritage, as important to the Amhara as snow is to the Inuit. We must go deeper than just being Nigerian, and being African for our identity for creating a diverse Africa. Nigerian is a colonial imposition, no one was Nigerian when the Hausa ruled the North under the Sokoto Caliphate. But at another level, first we are an African people, because of the necessity of that political/cultural grouping. But Africans, as diverse ethnic groups, still all have a unique history and culture that cannot be lost — must not be lost. Being Hausa is language, dance, culture, ideology, worldview, we need that just as we need to know about that and preserve that. Maturity now means we do not let these differences and these identities divide us. It is identical to the concept of Ibn Khaldun of (Arabic: عصبية, ʻaṣabīya).
WHO CREATED AND DEFINES “RACE”
No nation has the right to make decisions for another nation; no people for another people–Julius Nyerere
The idea of different “races” is as old as the history of modern people. The difference between our modern multicultural world and the ancient world was in antiquity the term was localized—not globalized. So that the Ancient Egypt vs. the Hykos, it was more related to ethnic and national differences. The Ancient Habesha vs. the African from Ancient Sudan. Everyone had their local notion of tribe, nation, or race. Race is just a modern word representing a social taxonomy. Most anthropologists and biologists view race as a political grouping with roots in slavery and colonialism. The number of races and who belongs in each race have shifted over time and nations in response to political purposes. Race is therefore a product of a politically and ideologically globalized world. But it is still and extension on notions of difference, which have always been aspects of human societies. And by this extension, the phenomenon of racism has, regardless of terminology, been a ongoing human affliction.
A “tribe” is a “race” extended out in a globalized world
Historically, European self-interest is the overriding factor in race definitions, regardless of if it is “race whitening” in Brazil or “coloreds” in South Africa, “mixed” in the UK, or the “one-drop rule” of America. In every instance “race” theories have been constructed to services the interest of White people.Never has a race based theory been mainstreamed which assist Pan-Africanism, or a stronger African position. In the UK race is used to fragment African populations “Somali” v “Black other” v “Black African.” In America the “one-drop world” (which is now working against American White interest) was initially intended to keep White pure. Colored in South Africa was to create a buffer between Africans and those of mix heritage. Privilege was conferred upon those with mix heritage creating tension and distrust between African and so-called colored populations.
There are greater genetic and linguistic relationships between some Africans and some Arabs than the “Negroid” looking people of Malaysia and Solomon islands
Clearly who is an African is a subjective debate. Who represents such a broad group of people to be so bold as to make a definitive statement on behalf of 1 billion plus people? On the other end of that argument is the reality that someone somewhere, with the objectives of that group, must be proactive in seeking to anchor African identity based upon the scholarship of those who have best served the interest of that group. In this respect it is hardly a democratic process but a process of political persuasion “African” left undefined opens up the possibility of a definition which in itself acts contrary to the progressive self-determination of African people everywhere. Those in senior positions who are sensitive to this must therefore take the bold step to formulate some core values around ‘Who is and Who is not’.
A racial classification is given to a group of individuals who share a certain number of anthropological traits, which is necessary so that they not be confused with others. Diop argued that every time these relationships are not favorable to the Western cultures, an effort is made to undermine the cultural consciousness of Africans by telling them, “We don’t even know what a race is.”…It is the phenotype which as given us so much difficulty throughout history, so it is this which must be considered in these relations.”
Garvey also believed that African Americans were universally oppressed and any program of emancipation would have to be built around the question of race. Now Runoko Rashidi travels far and wide expanding the so-called Black race, and if Black means non-White then there is some merit in that. But If 18th-century definitions of “African” physical features are the only criteria for being African, i.e. broad nose, then many Africans will become non-African and many non-Africans will become African.
This work has a popular appeal in certain circles because it bolsters a people who rarely hear anything nice about their accomplishments. The critical assessment of this race-theory is secondary to the pleasure this type of research brings to the African reader. As all of these groups in Australia, Solomon Islands, Andaman Islands (Jarawa and Onge people) do share a disadvantage similar to all pigmented people. Despite physical similarities, the above groups are descendants of peoples who migrated out of Africa (as are all humans when traced back far enough), the populations migrated to more distant territories and changed after reaching such destinations longer than did those people who migrated and developed as the “races” or peoples of Europe and Asia. This means, despite “looking African”(which is usually a product of European imposed definitions of what an African should look like – dark skin and thick noses) they are more non-related linguistically and certainly genetically to African people. For example they are genetically and linguistically more distant than Palestinians and Africans.
Actually one of the greatest percentages of genetic difference is .176% between Nigerians and Australian Aborigines (Nei and Arun K. Roychoudhury (1993) ) compared to 0.130 for an White Italian.  So despite phenotypical similarities to some African populations Native Australian people are in terms of genetic distant from Africa, even greater than Arabs, Indians and Europeans. If African identity rest on simply subjective debates of “looking African” then 1/2 of India can claim to be African. It cannot be any significant determining factor in who can define themselves as African. And to emphasis with other oppressed people does not require them to become “African.” They (Jarawa, people on Indonesia, etc) are native people of their own territories, and that in itself gives them indigenous rights which should not be thwarted by trying to give them dual-identity.
Diop held that scholarship in his era isolated extreme stereotypes as regards African populations, while ignoring or down playing data on the ground showing the complex linkages between such populations. Now Diop’s position is the opinion of most modern critics of the racial clustering.This research has examined the ancient Badarian group, finding not only cultural and material linkages with those further south but physical correlations as well, including a southern modal cranial metric phenotype indicative of the Tropical African in the well-known Badarian group.
In a 2004 study, 58 native inhabitants from upper Egypt were sampled for mtDNA. The conclusion was that some of the oldest native populations in Egypt can trace part of their genetic ancestral heritage to East Africa. Selectively lumping such peoples into arbitrary Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Caucasoid categories because they do not meet the narrow definition of a “true” type,
or selectively defining certain traits like aquiline features as Eurasian or Caucasoid, ignores the complexity of the DNA data on the ground.
With a broader study of African features, we see the entire argument for skull science lost to the same wind that took “the Earth is flat.” Ethiopians, Beja people, Rwandans, Somali etc all display this so-called Caucasoid skull type which is seen in Ancient Egypt. In any event, why would so much weight be placed on skull measurements as a classification of race? Clearly Africans come in different shapes and sizes to suit there environment. Unfortunately what really defines a “REAL AFRICAN” is the 15th century image created at the so-called moment of colonial discovery. That is the image that survives as the definitive archetype of the “Negro.”
Someone said “African” is not our original name. Understand that there is no original name in the history of this continent that exist for our group. What we do have is people finding words like Alkebulan and projecting it back into antiquity, which is no different to using African in antiquity. No one in Africa used the word African, black, or Alkebulan in the 4th century AD. Africa is a name, like Billy or Hakim, or Kwame: black and negro are not names, they are descriptions—false ones at that.
The Amhara people never heard of Zulu people until maybe 200 years ago, for the 1000s of years of the great Ethiopian, Malian, Egyptian empires they never heard of South Africa. South Africa never heard of Mali and Kush either. Zulu people do not even have a history of their origins in central Africa. The people of the interiors of Africa like the Bayaka and the people of Senegal like the Wolof and the Serer knew each other by their ethnic names. There was no name for us as a group–because there was no us as a group; this occurred in modern times. The Khoisan became “black” or “colored” when the European bumped into them. He chose that name for them because it suited his conquest set-up. Made no sense invading and stealing their Africa from them and then calling them African. That is like a reminder of the true owners of the land. Better call them blacks, and coloreds.
For all the 1000s of years of their existence, they had their own name for them and another name for the Bantu farmers that moved into their region. Semitic speaking Ethiopians (Amhara, Gurage, Tigray, etc) never once in their entire history looked at people in Kordofan or Gambela as the same group or sub-group as them. People in Sudan did not look at the people of Darfur as the same group as them either. The people of Mali and Niger saw themselves as Muslims as well as different ethnic groups, they never had a word for the entire continent like we have today. So to propose that African is not our word is anachronistic as there is no we in the past so then there can be no word for an African “we’ in antiquity.
Africa, unlike “black,” is a name, not an adjective. You can get on a plane and visit it, you can find it on a Sat Nav, it has boundaries, governments, you can grow crops on it, and build a house on it. But some say, Africa was a foreign name given to us, if this is true, it was given to us by our contemporaries not our conquerors. However, the word has Berber Tunisian origins meaning ” A sunny place” – Ifriqiya . Either Romans appropriated this word from which it is believed the modern word Africa came about the describe the entire continent. Or the Berbers Berberized the Roman word. Either way, Africa is a unique name of a place and Africans are simply people who are native to that place. And over the course of history, different names such as Habesha and Takruri were used to refer to African people of various regions, Ethiopia and West Africa respectively. Also the word Moor has been used across the centuries but as critics have established, the term “Moor” was used interchangeably with such other ambiguous terms such as “Ethiopian,” “Negro,” and even “Indian” to designate a figure from different parts or the whole of Africa (or beyond) who was either black or Muslim, neither, or both. 
Black is a problem because it is a color (not because it is a European word) and It has no other meaning in any European language. Africans were called Black because it was, according to conquers, the “best” thing to describe a people they had no respect for. The sum total of the identity was summed up as black–and nothing else. Africa is a name, like Marcus, Tewdos, Malcolm, Karenga, Jobarteh–Ethiopian is a Name, Italy is a name, Rome is a name, England is a name, Briton and Britain a name, Nubian is a name, Habesha is a name, Sudan is now a name. Where it comes from is of no consideration, because all names have their origin somewhere. Where it started and what it means today, as a name, is not the same. The word Holocaust is Greek, the word Ethos is Greek, Ethnogenesis is Greek, theology is Greek, Pedagogy is Greek, on and on til the cows come home. If we start down this logic of Africa is from Europe then it is a wasted effort because then we would have to start recreating every single word. Most of the English language words are not of English origin. (loanwords).
“Black” as an identity ultimately sets Africans outside of their connection to history and culture. Black does not connect us to Kemet, it only goes back 500 Years ago. Hence, “black” people are an “urban” people/culture and “urban” people’s history is 5 minutes old. In addition, because it is a term placed on us, we have no bases for its control, and hence they are able to say; “Ancient Egyptians weren’t black.” Black has no meaning; except the meaning they place on it, if and when they chose.
WHITENESS – ‘IN’ OR ‘OUT’ BOX
If Penelope Cruz spoke Farsi (فارسی) and was walking in a village in Iran what race would she be? If she spoke Spanish (as she does) and was walking in a village in Spain (as she does) what race/ethnicity would she be?
This proves the dilemma of race, ethnicity and color based classifications. So the only real difference between the four ladies (in the above photo) is political. Caterina Murino is only “White” because she is born in Europe and culturally associated with the modern White world; 800 years ago it is debatable if an English person would have seen her as “the same.” 
All four ladies are the same Caucasian race. But this shows how politics impacts even similar looking people. And how the West v Islam tension causes new ways of “racial” classification. Strictly speaking the US censor classifies Arabs as White, but the social reality is very different, especially since 9/11. “Looking Arab” means “looking non-white” which equals “threat” and for these “new non-White people” it equals race based persecution.
The Apex race, the white race, is happy allowing Europeanization of the subaltern but never giving permanent membership to anyone non-white, regardless of how Europeanize those oppressed people become.
Whiteness consists of a body of knowledge, ideologies, norms, and particular practices that have been constructed over the history of the American colonies and the U.S. with roots in European history as well. The knowledge, ideologies, norms, and practices of whiteness affect how we think about race, what we see when we look at certain physical features, how we build our own racial identities, how we operate in the world, and what we “know” about our place in it. Whiteness is shaped and maintained by the full array of social institutions–legal, economic, political, educational, religious, and cultural.
It is all political to serve the purpose of managing populations in European spheres of self-interest. So in the UK with the growing Somali population with its Islamic tendencies all of a sudden is fractured from “African/Black” and a new ethnic classification legalized— “Somali.” The UK government motives are not “multi-cultural” or accurate “ethnographic” classification— It is purely political.
Reality is often far more scary and complex than most of us are prepared for. Especially dealing with North Africa’s Arab population. The problem is most of them are not native Arabs, no more than many “White” (ecky-becky) or “Creole” Caribbean populations are non-African. So the question of their claim or indigenous right cannot be discussed in terms of a 7th century invasion. People who have been Arabized, if indigenous, do not become un-indigenous by any process, Arabization or Europeanization. So we have a large group of people who are united by religion and moreover culture and language. But within that population is a complex array of mixed ancestry (mixed with everything for the last 4000 years of history) and recent settler communities. Identity in the Arabized North can therefore not be dealt with a flash statement, no more than the diverse people who make up the African Diaspora (and even Native Africa) can be summed up as some homogeneous group sharing phenotype and culture.
So applying the 4 conditions system to most of North Africa’s populations means that they largely fail the condition of self-identity. But what happens when/if some of them with strong African ancestry or “features” accept being African?
RACE IN ANTIQUITY
Race in antiquity suffers from anachronisms because we are putting modern labels on ancient people who would have no sympathy for it. If you got in a time machine and went to Ancient Arabia or Ancient Kemet they would probably look like people classified as African today, the further back in time you go the more that fact would be true. However, the placement of race and identity to ancient groups; beyond geographical origins, has more merit in politics than in an historical discourse.
Because if we transplanted our modern notions of race into antiquity they would come up moot. So when we discuss KMT it is only our opinion of a people that would have had no loyalty to our politics if we went back to that time period. No Egyptian would look at a Zulu and identify them as their racial brother. Just like the Habasha (Semitic speaking Ethiopians) do not look at Gambela people as natural racial “brothers.” So what we are really saying is if the people looking like the Egyptians were living in America, what race would they be? And the answer is African-American. Would the race based discrimination witnessed by Ethiopians, Somali, Zulu, Fon, Akan in our 21st century also equally apply to them? Yes.
A key example is the complexity of ascribing a race to Turkish people who are all Turkish, they are more than a nationality but too phenotypically spread to be a race. Ancient history cannot be transplanted onto our modern reality. Even today race is very complex, Sudan and Brazil, for example. Not to mention politically created racial groups such as so-called “colored” in South Africa.
The term Black people has no function in any debate beyond European enslavement, it has only been a name imposed by “the other.” Black pride is reactionary pride, necessary then, irrelevant now. As Africa blossoms into a greater historical and cultural awareness of a Motherland, Africans are starting to detach themselves from slave names and slave definitions and embrace terminologies which better do justice to a historical and cultural reality.
MOORS AND HEBREWS
Some African groups in the Diaspora especially have associated themselves with historical Moorish populations, others with Ancient Hebrews. As it relates to Moors, or being of Moorish ancestry there are some serious errors with this. The first shocking one being no group identified as Moors, called themselves Moors. It is important to know that Europeans called Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula Moors, the Muslims did not call themselves Moors or Saracen were both term widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ages. Also these Moors were largely Arabized Berber people, with some native Africans in the mix. This is demonstrated by the work of Ivan Van Sertima. The word Maurus was derived from the Greek word for black, mauron (μαύρον), and at the time “Moors” were ‘dark-skinned’ or ‘swarthy* as a people, but this does not mean “Black people” today as the term was used relative to describe non-White populations.
While African certainly were part of historical Israel we need to be cautious thinking that this meant that all Judaic people were Africans or Black. So this notion of the original Hebrews is a complex. Ancient Judea may have been annexed by Ancient Egypt but that never made Israel part of Africa historically. By that same argument Egypt was conquered many times, none of those conquest made Egypt separate from Africa. There is also zero evidence that anyone in the Diaspora could have ancient Hebrew blood. It is a fantastical constructed identity of people who want to claim ties to Biblical people. The same way European Jews want to claim that Ancient Hebrews and them have some direct connection. They certainly do not as demonstrated by the work of Sholomo Sand.
- Stanley Lane-Poole, The History of the Moors in Spain.
- Ivan Van Sertima, ed. The Golden Age of the Moor. Publishers, 1992. (Journal of African civilizations, vol. 11).
- Frank Snowden. Before Color Prejudice: the ancient view of blacks. Cambridge,
- Menocal, María Rosa (2002). Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain.
- The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to HomelandNov 20, 2012 by Shlomo Sand and Geremy Forman
- The Invention of the Jewish PeopleJun 14, 2010 by Shlomo Sand and Yael Lotan
AFRICAN IDENTITY IN HISTORICAL AFRICA
“The viewpoint that “Africans” enslaved “Africans” is obfuscating if not troubling. The deployment of “African” in African history tends to coalesce into obscurantist constructions of identities that allow scholars, for instance, to subtly call into question the humanity of “all” Africans. Whenever Asante rulers sold non-Asantes into slavery, they did not construct it in terms of Africans selling fellow Africans. They saw the victims for what they were, for instance, as Akuapems, without categorizing them as fellow Africans. Equally, when Christian Scandinavians and Russians sold war captives to the Islamic people of the Abbasid Empire, they didn’t think that they were placing fellow Europeans into slavery. This lazy categorizing homogenizes Africans and has become a part of the methodology of African history; not surprisingly, the Western media’s cottage industry on Africa has tapped into it to frame Africans in inchoate generalities allowing the media to describe local crisis in one African state as “African” problem” – Dr. Akurang-Parry, Ending the Slavery Blame, Ghana Web
When we study the dilemma which created a supply of slaves for the Western markets we see that the primary process was warring Africans. While some historians consider these merely “Slave Raids” it can be shown that casualties would have been experienced on both sides and thus making such activities more akin to warfare.
Even if that warfare was against a “weaker” nation who served as a target group for procuring captives. The long standing temptation is to paint all these groups as African fighting Africans. However, in this historical period there was no African identity. People in 15th century Africa never heard of “Black people” as an identity. While they had knowledge of self from an internal perspective, that knowledge of self lacked a relationship to other African groups in the broader sense, especially when confronted with the arrival of Europeans. And that is key because being proud to be Zulu, for example, but seeing a Xhosa as different is a narrow understanding of self. And this failure made it easy for identities whether ethnic or national to be used as a tool to be exploited. And this is not unique to Africa, the same thing happened every where the European went in his expansion where he meet different ethnic groups.
POLITICS OF IDENTITY
New York Times | The term African-American has crept steadily into the nation’s vocabulary since 1988, when the Rev. Jesse Jackson held a news conference to urge Americans to use it to refer to blacks. ”It puts us in our proper historical context,” Mr. Jackson said then, adding in a recent interview that he still favored the term. ”Every ethnic group in this country has a reference to some land base, some historical cultural base. African-Americans have hit that level of cultural maturity.” Since 1989, the number of blacks using the term has steadily increased, polls show. In a survey that year conducted by ABC and The Washington Post, 66 percent said they preferred the term black, 22 preferred African-American, 10 percent liked both terms and 2 percent had no opinion. In 2000, the Census Bureau for the first time allowed respondents to check a box that carried the heading African-American next to the term black. In 2003, a poll by the same news organizations found that 48 percent of blacks preferred the term African-American, 35 percent favored black and 17 percent liked both terms. (ref)
Only Tribes held together by a group feeling can survive in a desert–Ibn Khaldun
A brother is someone who shares a common reality (mother, father, struggle, etc). This term gained popularity in usage among African-Americans in the 60’s due to the shared race. This brotherhood went beyond biology, it extended to describe a shared history, a shared ancestry, a shared oppression, and naturally a shared oppressor. The priority in this African-American identity boiled down to one thing – we have the same problems and therefore can watch each other’s back. South Africa has a gross agenda of nationalism before racial kinship with the rest of the African world, and this nationalism has acquiesced with unresolved relationships with the former and current apex oppressor, who shares nothing with the African except being the bearer of oppression. The relationship is therefore slave and master. How is it possible for this relationship to ascend the more pressing matter of race and race-based Pan-Africanism. What are the features of that relationship that bonds these two groups? How can a colonially created country be a definitive bond?
Africans must be intelligent and live in a world where they are politically astute to broader interest. Outside interest for a long time realized that the first and most sophisticated line of attack is to challenge the concepts which unify African people. i.e. African identity.
By posing challenges to African identify they undermine the foundation of concepts such as African unity, African culture, African history and African empowerment to name a few. If ‘African’ as a concept is swallowed into the colonial linguistic definition of Europeans then ultimately the attachment to the word “African” floats around and thus serves no constructive process in liberation. Europeans have long realized that language is a tool of oppression and warfare, unfortunately, most Africans are passive to this attack. Others have also realized that ownership and controlling the academic process is another good investment in the war against African growth. So it is no surprise that scholars and academics come out of the woodwork in defense of the most ridiculous Eurocentric assertions.
Some people have issues with putting boxes around people; however, the politics of agency demand that people with common interest respond to a world that does groups people into boxes for easy oppression. Moreover, human behavior fundamental, for ease and function, has a natural habit of defining and naming creation. Who is a Muslim, who is a male, who is a female, where is Africa; all of these have definitions, which are critical in language and human behavior. If the color red is blue to some people and green to another, then red as a color has no meaning.
And God taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, “Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful– Qur’an
Terms such as African have a deep social and historical meaning in our modern history as well as the contemporary moment. Being African 200 years ago was the difference between being human or chattel. Thus vague open-ended terms further serve in the muddy of this historical narrative of a specific group of people whose primary commonality in oppression was based on their place of origin; native Africa. Hence in the battle for linguistic real estate terms have always been controlled by the strongest, open-ended is no place for a people who have been the greatest victims of white supremacy. In defining an object and its properties, it is possible to call that thing into its correct historical location. And like a name specifically is used to separate and speak to certain individuals in a group, so to race has this function in a society deeply influenced by racial origin.
The crisis of identity sits hand in hand with all the other crises that African people are faced with. Cultural ownership and historical placement all contribute to the dilemma of the Global African. As a weak self-identifying group, compared to others, Africans are susceptible to being knocked off course by non-Africans, like leaves in the wind blowing to everything that has the power to blow. African cannot be a term to hug everything that comes its way for then it has no concrete meaning. It is an integrative term but not for Europeans, Indians, ethnic Arabs, and other non-Africans.
African diversity is a child of time (Nehusi) and within Africa’s indigenous people, we find all textures of hair, colors of skin, types of eyes and noses. So beyond the European defined boxes of what a “real African” looks like we find a continent representing most of the features found throughout the world. The straight nose is a feature of Africa; light skin is a feature of Africa; even Chinese eyes are found among African people. The old theory of the darker, you were the more African you were is now buried as a plantation tale to create the self-hating slave. We now know that the oldest people on the planet in terms of genes are the “yellow skin” San of Southern Africa. And one of the blessings witnessed in the Americas is how quickly African-Diasporian people have moved beyond “what massa wants us to think.” And why would it be a surprise to find the aquiline features of the Tutsis, Amhara, the Fulani and Somali in Africa.
When we venture back into history, or what is known as pre-history, it is a fact that people left Africa in numerous waves over thousands of years to populate the world. Thus, African people have the greatest genetic diversity. Which is inclusive of every single race on the planet, but the reverse is not true. As people left Africa, some unique features came about due to mutation and adaptation via Darwin’s favorite word, Natural Selection. However, the physical features seen in India and the Middle East originally came from an African genetic pool. Thus within the African is the ability to produce every race on the planet. Within the skin hues, texture of hair found on the continent it is possible to make Europeans, Arabs, Chinese, Indians, etc. Interestingly studies now show that 80% of Europe has “Middle Eastern” genetic stock 
TRANS-HISTORICAL AFRICAN IDENTITY (REVISITED)
There is a mythological notion of going back in a time machine to find a Real African! Whatdoes that mean? A place where Africa, and its people, was 100% authentic, 100% perfect, 100% self-identifying and happy. First things first, no such place in the history of any group of humans exist. No developed state has ever come into existence without degrees of influence, diffusion, sharing from other “different” communities. Where different can only be judged by the specific politics of a specific time. (not in hindsight) This planet is a circle with 50,000 years of people movement, and if by pure we mean isolated then what value does that have in any analysis? Second thing race, as real as it is for us today, can only be defined for us today. We cannot transport or teleport our modern race constructions into ancient society and start saying “These people were real Africans.” They are defined by how they saw themselves, not by how we chose to see them today. Because none of them identified with any group larger than their own terms of self-identity.
So when we look at people, there is the identity we place on them, in hindsight; and then there is the identity they had for themselves. If this is the case the historical lens is not authentic, but corrupted. So we see Tewdros as a great African warrior (and he was in our modern terms) but Tewdros would have been seen in his time period as a Abyssinian Christian. It is no different from Jews, Christians, Romans, etc. We cannot say Moses was a Jew, because Moses did not self-identify as a Jew, no more than Jesus self-identified as a Christian or Ancient Egyptian as an African civilization. What happened (respectively); the religion of Moses over thousands of years became Judaism, over hundreds of years the icon of Jesus became a deity of Christianity, and in our political modern time the definition of “African” hugs the people of Ancient Egypt.
AFRICANS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The African in a pure sense is a biological human adaptation to the environmental parameters of Africa. The African is a product of a specific range of biospheres. The pigment and the general texture of hair are all necessary adaptations to living on the continent in a natural way. In the absence of artificial mechanisms, the European cannot survive on the continent comfortably. Europeans have a physiological adaptation which makes them ideal for Europe, hence one reason they are called Europeans; people of Europe. Technology, and technology alone, allows the European to escape the African environment.
It has become critical to clarify African identity because commercialization and integration is forcing African Diasporian into the cultural orphanages of White-America. Hence the African-Diasporian culture is nothing more than a veneer and mirror of mainstream America – but painted Black. The challenge must be placed because if the only difference is skin complexion and being at the bottom of every social-economic indicator, then what kind of identity is that? The cultural fabric of African lives must speak to something unique and distinctive that has merit and meaning in how African-Diasporian live and dream; that uniqueness only enriches humanity. But a close look at BET, Ebony and Jet shows only a blackened White culture in every materialistic way. At this rate the future of a distinctive African-Diasporian is under threat of extinction.
To be culturally African is to possess a distinctive culture, which has its values and orientation in the indigenous cultures of Africa. To therefore speak a native African language, have an African worldview, wear African dress, as distinctive from the dress code of other groups, can be seen as cultural identifiers. It is however more than a shopping list of items to tick “yes” or “no” to. The following question is posed: what about Europeans who embrace African culture and are even capable of speaking African languages? It is undeniable that they are practitioners of African culture but it does not make them African but merely Europeans who have embraced African culture.
Just like the millions of Africans across the globe who speak European languages, eat European food, behave like Europeans, engage in Eurocentric understandings of religion are no closer to actually being European.
They still are physically Africans who are European in mentality and attitudes. The placement of these people in the African world is debatable. The current and most progressive theory is to re-educate these people to give them an understanding of themselves. For it is unnatural to act in the image of those who oppressed you.
Just as climate played a role in physical traits such as dark skin, it can be argued that culture evolved to a specific reality. However, the cultures of African people extend beyond their physical geography and are informed not only by geography but also by physical ethnic traits.
RACE IS REAL | coincidence of race
In 1867( two years after Africans were free from Slavery in America) 98% of African-American worked for Whites. In 2011 (with an African-American President) 98% of African-Americans people still work for white people, with another thirty three percent of Males being unemployed or incarcerated.–USA Race Relationship
The race dynamic of this world always seems to cast Africans as the servant when White is around. The so-called coincidence of race domination is that it always seems to be White first. Everytime Europe get to throw the dice of chance it some how always returns a white result.
If 1% own 95% of the world’s wealth, know that 99% of that 1% look nothing like you
David Rowe states that : “A racial concept, although sometimes in the guise of another name, will remain in use in biology and in other fields because scientists, as well as lay persons, are fascinated by human diversity, some of which is captured by race.” So the very scientist telling us “there is no race” will alter the terms of the study and still make “racial observations and claims” one good example of this is so-called Sub-Saharan African gene studies. Clearly this study is ultimately discussing 90% of the African/Black world, while academically looking free from race.
Where dice are “fairly” thrown yet the result always, by some amazing chance, comes back White. In Israel, in America, in Africa (Kenya, South Africa, etc). Now it may be called Jewish or Western but the reality is the same, it is majority White. It is therefore not good enough for those accused to say the game is not rigged. It may mask itself within capitalism and produce some exceptions to the White only club, but these are minorities. And while wealth does dictate a lot of human politics, make no mistake, race has had a equally important legacy in how humans interact in an inequitable way. Most of the world is racially inaccessible or uncomfortable to African people, just try walking around China with Black skin or some far flung town in Russia.
My decision to destroy the authority of the blacks in Saint Dominique (Haiti) is not so much based on considerations of commerce and money, as on the need to block for ever the march of the blacks in the world–Napoleon Bonaparte
Things must run their course. And before we get to paradise we must walk through Earth. We cannot jump to a raceless world when everything is still painted white. Race is not a science; it is a social construct rooted in how humans chose to group themselves for protection and common interest; appearance, religion, location, ideology, genealogy, etc.
As much as race is biological nonsensical, it is also the reason why you didn’t get that job, it is the reason immigration took 10 minutes with your passport, it is the reason why your film didn’t make it into Sundance. And it is the reason why our children keep picking up the white doll. – Facebook comment
Anthropologists no longer regard “race” as a useful concept in understanding human evolution and variation, but people throughout history have grouped themselves in terms of common interest, common culture common religion and common appearance (in-group and out group). It is an innate trait that ultimately protects us. However difference does not mean animosity. It is neo-Darwinist to believe in this constant battle of different groups for resources. Painting humanity in those terms, justifies the unnecessary and continuous state of war. Ignoring those differences does not resolve the nature of man. Saying, “stop using race and see people as they are” is simplistic and only the most ill informed people will reason in this manner. For instance, if every single one of us was European from Milan, we would start to automatically group ourselves by region, or class or accent. The solution is to recognize the differences and use them as an exchange to celebrate this beauty. The Olympic Games has an atmosphere of healthy competition, people are grouped by nations and it celebrates the best aspects of humanity; if it is true for nations, then it is also true for race.
The primary relationship between Africans and Europeans, independent of time and geography is that of slave and slave master, colonial subject and colonizer, Employee and employer, oppressed and oppressor, respectively. This rule does not have any demographic exception regardless of if we are discussing Brazil, South Africa or Barbados, and regardless of if we are discussing 1811 or 2011. African and European represent the text book poster-boy definition of race history and race relations.
Discussing race does not make you racist. But ignoring it when it exists is ignorant. The “black doll, white doll test” is testimony to this. If unchecked, racial privileges will always be unbalanced in a society. Race existed during both the Arab and European trade in Africans. Race existed in the 60’s, as it exists today. Race will always be present. Race is there when you walk into a restaurant, when you go for a job, when you cross borders, when you go to Japan, or even Africa. So race is the first thing people see, and humans rely heavily on their eyes as a point of understanding. Now when Africans organize as a race, speak as one against the global oppression experienced, unify as an economic and cultural unit then the world will be forced to interact differently. The recent election of Obama proved how that single act could overnight change how people perceive African people.
In the post 9-11 attacks on America, looking Arab (whatever that means in America) had real social consequences. Thus, it is not possible to erase race just because it sometimes seems untidy. Although race from a scientific persuasion is a fallacy, it does not discount it as a social and historical reality. Engaging race is healthy as to ignore it is to ignore the horrid nature within men. In Post-Apartheid South Africa, many of the elite ethnic minorities debate the relevance of race in the new “Rainbow Nation.” Seeing beyond color does not change the ‘strange’ fact that all those at the top are European, those in the middle are Indian and those at the absolute bottom serving as the labor pool are the African.
AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE IS AFRICAN
African Americans, constitute the most heterogeneous group in the United States biologically, but perhaps one of the most homogeneous socially–Molefi Asante
At what stage did the distinctive elements of African-Americans stop being African? At what time did they ever forget the drum and the notion of a Motherland? Africanity in the Americas is a continuum of an African culture experience, responding to the environment of enslavement and oppression. When Africans got to the New World the culture of Africa came with them and stayed with them, adapted evolved and produced another African culture; African-American culture. The expression continued to expand in a Eurocentric environment of extreme oppression which shaped, and influenced the African culture. It forced improvisation and new ways of expression. Naturally, fusion occurred, but this was not peculiar to the Americas, the same thing happen in Africa where civilizations made contact, in Ethiopia during its occupation of Arabia, In North Africa and West Africa with Islam. The Swahili coast with the Arab and Indian traders, and even in Kemet with the invasion of the Hyksos. The debate of fusion is far more common than uncommon. Let’s start with the understanding that African-Americans are fundamentally an African people living in America.
The AU sees the Diaspora as part of Africa. America is the new world and in that process, Africans via the most brutal practice lost some elements of their African identity. However in Jazz, in the Blues, in Soca, in Hip Hop all the core African traditions are there. In Dance, in body language, in expression, in inflection and linguistic articulation. The US flag seduces some African-Americans into an illusion of a new homeland, which continues to fail to place them in any positive space. Preferring to be as Kimani Nehusi puts “it cultural orphans and step-children of their slave masters.” Now all over America Africans are changing their dress, changing their holidays (Kwanzaa), celebrating God just like continental Africans, seeking things which are far removed from White America. This is the natural yearning of a people who are spiritually out of tune with an environment of Whiteness that speaks neither to their physical condition or their spiritual determination. Why Should an African-American look to Europe for names for their children? Why should an African-American look to the version of Christianity practiced by Rome for God? The spirit of the African-American is in Africa and this is even truer today than it was before. The urban reality does not alter the natural spiritual behavior of a people or their cultural uniqueness.
RACIAL DIFFERENCE DEBATE
Some of these differences, such as penis size, may be true but most of these studies are victims of sampling error in most cases. These studies usually contrast European Americans against African Americans, and ignore social and hereditary factors. Hereditary and race are very easy to confuse. An example would be Sickle cell anemia, which is hereditary, and since people of a certain region share genes, they naturally would have a higher disposition to this disease. If one wanted to, one could find the same “differences” between European Jews and other Europeans and prove a “different” race. You could do the same thing with Norwegian and Spanish, and prove a different race.
Many of the race advocates who lean on biological difference, as opposed to historical, social and cultural difference (as this article does) cherry pick every example of difference and synthesizes it into one big conclusion. The research will generalize Africans by looking at traits in African Americans versus European Americans. Or San people versus people of European stock. You could in one simple test, deconstruct this type of work by starting to contrast Africans against other Africans; Ethiopians against Nigerians, Fulani against Zulu, Igbo against Sanhaja, Moor against Ndebele. What we will find is that many of the arguments are seen to not be “race”, but more ethnic. For example, while the African American (who is generally of West African stock) has certain “racial” traits, those traits are ethnic because they are unique to say Mandika and other West African people, by travelling a few miles south to Namibia, all of those traits disappear. The Herero and the Mandinka are both Africans, but do not necessarily display the identical traits. In some cases the generalizations are statistically valid, but statistics are deceptive, because if in Ethiopia and Kenya the statics can prove difference, then how is it racial? If women of the Bakongo ethnicity mature at 10 years old, and the women of the Amhara ethnicity mature at 14 years old, then the entire notion of early maturity in “Black” women has to be thrown out, a more accurate statement would be African American women have a higher maturity rate than their white American counterparts, it cannot be generalized as a racial difference as it is not factually across the entire African group. This is just a hypothetical example to prove why the research that suggest sharp biological and physical difference is flawed because of its definitions of race and its lack of study inside of the so-called race. To conclude these “proof” of physical races arguments mix true differences with social differences and hereditary trends, and cite every difference which favors their argument.
Khoi and San people were the first people to populate Southern Africa by 1000’s of years. They were classified as “colored” (mix race, Negritos) by the White supremacist apartheid regime. And still terms like Negritos still exist as valid anthropological terminologies in so-called progressive societies. Many Khoisan still are suffering under this colonial identity, which their leaders are rejecting as offensive.
In a pure just world, a person of multi-racial lineage would have the right to claim both origins; however, the primary reality is dictated by physical appearance and social perceptions. There is no merit in posing hypothetical questions at a world that does not exist—save in dreams.
South Africa is unique in the world for creating super-identities for pure political reasons. It thus allows a unique window on a great social experiment in identity. Only in South Africa is there an “ethnic” group known as “colored”; one of the most confusing groups who compose of anyone who is not “blatantly” European, Indian or African by virtue of the ease at which a pencil passes through someone’s hair.
So, years of this social set-up have created a new community of people identified as “colored”. Being identified as “colored” created a peculiar situation as it granted privileges greater than that of the African populations. Thus, people were desperate to not be identified as African. The complex surrounding being African lingers despite the dismantlement of apartheid. In some cases, members of the same family would be split apart due to being classified in different race groups despite being 100% related. The UK tinkered to different degrees of success with the “half-caste”, “mix-race” classification which in the new era of serious inter-racial activity between predominately African-Caribbean males and White-British women has created a new “race.” With this new generation is a further distancing of themselves from identifying with being African. The politics of divide and rule are clearly at play, as it worked for Europeans during the centuries of enslavement on the plantations.
While the one-drop rule was an American instituted principle for lumping all non-Europeans into one basket. The concept of African ancestry domination in most authentic (excluding South Africa due to apartheid engineering) African societies, having one African parent makes you African. In every African society, African blood means African claim. This is outside of European influence and is part of the tradition of African inclusiveness. Thus African identity as a generality absorbs identities; this can be witnessed from Ethiopia to Ghana, Chad to Zululand. It is not different from Jewishness which can be passed on via any parent in authentic Jewish theology. And it makes political sense because it enhances the number of members in your community. On a genetic phenotypical level African “features” or characteristic are genetically dominate. This is the reason why it is sometimes unclear if someone is of mix heritage or not. The mere fact that it is not always clear or at least carries a shadow of doubt testifies to the argument that Africans are genetically dominant.
Miscegenation in Arab culture favors the Arab father regardless of the mother’s race.. So in stark contrast to European enslavement those children born to enslaved African women became Arab and not African. Despite their physical appearance, they were generally culturally Arab. (e.g. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Anwar Sadat , and Tibbu Tip)
The question regarding people of mix-race heritage is difficult because although they are accepted by other Africans as being African, it is possible that they do not view themselves as African, as in parts of Brazil and South Africa. It is sometimes hard to believe Bob Marley had a European father, as he is so deeply associated with being African. Thus, the final thought is that being African must have a dual condition: Being of African heritage and identifying with that heritage.
* Ethnogenesis (from the Greek ethnos “group of people” or “nation”, and genesis, “origin, birth”, pl. ethnogeneses) refers to the process of formation or emergence of ethnic groups. Using this term in “quotes” because it usually specifically refer to an ethnicity rather than a race. So the Ethnogenesis of the Zulu people starts with the emergence of a distinctive Zulu people and their culture(s)
* Today is a critical word in this article because ethnic definitions are subject to change over time, both within and outside the communities. Post-Islam, and Post 9/11 have altered the “Arab” make up of the word, causally merging non-Arab people into an Arab identity. Another example from 19th-century was how Europeans classified Jews and Arabs as one ‘ethnic’ group; the Semites or Hamites. Later the term Hamites came to be associated with Sub-Saharan Africans instead.
CRITICAL | Some people have this notion of going back in a time machine to find a Real African! What the does that mean? Does it mean African in the 5th Century B.C.E? A place where Africa was 100% authentic, Where everyone was beating drum and pouring libation to tree gods and ancestors? 100% perfect, 100% self-identifying as African and happy. First things first, no such place in the history of any group of human exist. No developed state has ever come into existence without degrees of influence, diffusion, sharing from other “different” communities. Where different can only be judged by the specific politics of a specific time. (not in hindsight)
This planet is a circle with 50,000 years of people movement, and if by pure we mean isolated then what value does that have in any analysis? Second thing race, as real as it is for us today, can only be defined for us today. We cannot transport or teleport our modern race constructions into ancient society and start saying “These people were real Africans.” They are defined by how they saw themselves, not by how we chose to see them today. Because none of them identified with any group larger than their own terms of self-identity.
Prior to the colonial era or the Triangle trade there was nothing in Africa called Pan-Africanism. And this understanding means we must alter how we study/discuss history. There was Nubia, and there was Axum. There were Islamic polities in West Africa, Serer polities, Christians in Ethiopia, Muslims in another part of Ethiopia and East Africa that had states. There were Zulu and Shona people in Southern Africa, etc. People in Ethiopia not only did not know about people in South Africa, they would not have been part of the same history/identity/culture until after colonialism. Ethiopia, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia, the Swahili coast, Sudan were part of one block, just as the Sahel countries were a block, with a distinctive culture/identity from the Sub-equatorial states of Kongo.
The primary purpose of identity is security. The rationale is we share something in common and have greater group interest and will be more likely to look out for each other because of that shared relationship. Identity may exist along religious lines, ideological, geographical, ethnic, or national. In every case the bond between people sharing identity has in a security factor. ‘I know you because we have this common thing, i can more trust you because of these shared features.’
Race refers to the different geographic populations of humanity that share a common ancestry and can be distinguished from each other by an inherited combination of morphological traits, i.e., by genetically determined physical appearance or phenotype. Race thus refers both to populations and to the phenotypes that are associated with these populations and by which they are identified. These populations and phenotypes existed for many thousands of years before the word race became the common term to refer to them.
It is funny how many people are comfortable using these terms like “African”, and how many books are published on Africa people, by Africans, without every pausing to define “What does it mean to be African” , “what are the essentialistic qualities embedded in that identity?” Yet so much hinges on its qualification. And you cannot define a complex term like African with another more nebulous term like “black”. i.e. “Africans are black people.”
The racial cut-off has to be no earlier than 10,000 years ago when the modern races of the world would have been established. We cannot take race from the 40,000 year period which is for one historically unknown as well as when Arab people and other groups would have left Africa.
Habesha is super-ethnic term for a Semitic speaking Ethiopian (Amhara, Gurage, Tigray, Tigre). But in popular usage it can also refer to Oromo people and others, due to urbanization and the Ethiopian Diaspora who become ethnically blurred. However, the term Habesha has never been used to describe Gambella Ethiopians or the Mursi, Hamer, Surma, etc. In the Arab world the term Habesha historically speaks to a distinction between the Ethiopian (Abyssinian African) “type” from the “other” African type (so-called Black African).
Studies have reported that most Irish and Britons are descendants of farmers who left modern day Iraq and Syria 10,000 years ago. Genetic researchers say they have found compelling evidence that four out of five (80% of) white Europeans can trace their roots to the Near East. In another study, scientists analysed DNA from the 8,000 year-old remains of early farmers found at an ancient graveyard in Germany. They compared the genetic signatures to those of modern populations and found similarities with the DNA of people living in today’s Turkey and Iraq.
If one were to spatially visualize the first column of the above scale, with a German standing at a distance of 20 feet from an Englishman, a Finn would stand at a distance of 50 feet, an Italian at 70 feet, a northern Indian at 200 feet, a Japanese at 610 feet, a North American Amerindian at 760 feet, a Nigerian at 1,330 feet, and a Chimpanzee at 16,000 feet. The greatest percentage of genetic difference is .176% between Nigerians and Australian Aborigines. ( Masatoshi Nei and Arun K. Roychoudhury (1993) )
Only in South African do people have epicanthal folds, (Chinese eyes) so why not say South Africans are different from everyone else in Africa, since they are the only ones that have that? The choices we make in determining difference are subjective.
Audrey Smedley shows that “race” is a cultural invention that began to appear around the turn of the eighteenth century. In its origin, race was not a product of science but a folk ideology reflecting a new form of social stratification and a rationalization for inequality among the peoples of North America. Race in North America: Origin And Evolution of a Worldview
n 2000 reported more specifically that a substantial number of Lemba men carry a particular haplotype of the Y-chromosome known as the Cohen modal haplotype (CMH), as well as, a haplogrup of Y-DNA Haplogroup J found amongst some Jews and in other populations across the Middle East. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1288118/?tool=pmcentrez
Mitochondrial DNA variation of populations from the Near East and Africa found a very high frequency of African lineages present in the Yemen Hadramawt: more than a third were of clear African origin. Other Arab populations carried ∼10% lineages of African origin, whereas non-Arab Near Eastern populations, by contrast, carried few or no such lineages, suggesting that gene flow has been preferentially into Arab populations. Several lines of evidence suggest that most of this gene flow probably occurred within the past ∼2,500 years. In contrast, there is little evidence for male-mediated gene flow from African Africa in Y-chromosome haplotypes in Arab populations, including the Hadramawt. Taken together, these results are consistent with substantial migration from eastern Africa into Arabia, at least in part as a result of the Arab slave trade, and mainly female assimilation into the Arabian population as a result of miscegenation and manumission. [Chicago Journal – Fiona Gratrix] .
Historically, European self-interest is the overriding factor in race definitions, regardless of if it is “race whitening” in Brazil or “coloreds” in South Africa or the “one-drop rule” of America. In every instance “race” theories have been constructed to services the interest of White people. Never has a race based theory been mainstreamed which assist Pan-Africanism, or a stronger African position. In the UK race is used to fragment African populations “Somali” v “Black other” v “Black African.” In America the “one-drop world” (which is now working against American White interest) was initially intended to keep White pure. Colored in South Africa was to create a buffer between Africans and those of mix heritage. Privilege was conferred upon those with mix heritage creating tension and distrust between African and so-called colored populations.
In 1867 (two years after Africans were free from Slavery in America) 98% of African-American worked for Whites. In 2011 (with an African-American President) 98% of African-Americans people still work for white people, with another thirty three percent of Males being unemployed or incarcerated.
Epicanthic fold, epicanthal fold, or epicanthus is a skin fold of the upper eyelid, covering the inner corner (medial canthus) of the eye. This lower fold of the upper eyelid gives the eyes of certain East Asians an appearance which seems relatively narrower and almond-like compared to those without such folds. People of Southern Africa have similar epicanthal folds but have no direct genetic relationship with East Asian communities. The DNA to create these folds must be within the African gene pool sense the Khoisan etc are far older groups than East Asian communities.
Following the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948 by the super-colonial powers. the Law of Return was enacted to give any Jew the right to immigrate to Israel and become a citizen. Law of Return 5710-1950. Law of Return, the racist building block of Israeli Apartheid
The name is usually connected with Phoenician afar, “dust”, but a 1981 theory has asserted that it stems from a Berber word ifri or Ifran meaning “cave”, in reference to cave dwellers. Africa or Ifri or Afer is name of Banu Ifran from Algeria and Tripolitania Berber Tribe of Yafran. Itineraria Phoenicia, Edward Lipinski, Peeters Publishers, p200, 2004
Dame Jane Goodall, DBE (born Valerie Jane Morris Goodall on 3 April 1934) is an English UN Messenger of Peace, primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist. She is well-known for her 45-year study of chimpanzee social and family interactions in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, and for founding the Jane Goodall Institute.
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|1.||↑||See section on Africa as the original name of the Motherland|
|2.||↑||He is everything but African, even conveniently Jewish|
|3.||↑||Race is important to us– and if we think we have a right to a race-first ideology, then know for sure people have a right to any identity set up they want. It is our job to prove race is the most important one or one of the most important ones. Let us be fair, race is relevant not because God/Allah/Jesus/ Ngai said so. Race is relevant because we argue it is so. Some people say religion is more relevant. Some think being Kenyan rises above all other identities. 80% of the barriers facing us today are race based not because someone is from Kenya. That does not mean other identities are to be ignored or belittled. And there are many instances where religion or nationality might come to the fore making banding by these identities necessary. Like being a foreigner in a xenophobic state. I am pretty sure being a Muslim in the UK or USA is a very important identity, just like being Jewish in Germany, or Christian in Lebanon. There is no sin in anyone creating an identity around what is central to their self-interest. Race for one fails to deal with ethical issues and as such race will fail to unite us because it is so open. So no identity set-up it perfect, and no identity is timeless or exclusive. African women know this all to well. And being invested in one, does not mean neglect of the other.|
|4.||↑||Black has no place in our African future. Absolutely not even a tiny spot. b/c no people on Earth can take an epic journey of discovery and land on Blackness as the foremost thing that defines them|
|5.||↑||When you ask us about philosophy we remember the Greek, Not Ptahotep”– Maulana Karenga. Ask about Black history it starts in slavery, and for some only with Obama or “I had a dream”. You ask us about Ancient African civilizations and the kids will tell you WAKANDA.|
|6.||↑||This is where Negroids come from per Eurocentric scholarship. You see the green area that is the Caucasian–it hugs 80% of Ancient civilizations. You will do well to notice that the definition successfully excludes Ethiopia and its civilizations, Egypt and its civilizations, Sudan and its civilizations. If Negroids do exist can they speak, or write, can they create civilization.|