Breaking the Back of White Racism: The Curious Case of Egypt
It’s that month, again, and God-willing, I will do some posts (and maybe some videos) about race and identity coming from a Muslim’s perspective. For many Immigrant Muslims (IMs) discussions about race and identity are very uncomfortable–and often there are attempts to suppress discussions about race with what are almost platitudes about being Muslim and the alleged absence of racism among the Believers. For many African-American Muslims, race/color were the very core of their identities prior to Islam, and many still struggle with race and identity after embracing Islam–and the denial of the prevalent racism among Immigrant Muslims only frustrates the convert.
With that said, I want to focus on “race” as it is understood in America (i.e., the USA). In brief, my position is that “race” is largely a social construction–that is not to say that we don’t immediately recognize the difference between a native of China and a native of Australia, but that for large parts of the world, there has been extensive racial mixing, and that such people can’t (rightfully) fall into a particular “racial category.” Nonetheless, if we apply American notions of race, it becomes very easy to show the absurdity and hypocrisy of racial categories as invented by white racists.
Egypt and the race of the Ancient Egyptians (AEs) provides a particularly curious case for the white supremacists. They posit that the AEs are of a “white” or Caucasian race (and the white racists will play games with labeling people who clearly are not “white” as “Caucasian” especially, when those people are associated with advanced civilizations). I even saw a comment last night from a white racist that said: “The Ancient Egyptians could not have been black because blacks have never contributed to civilization.” That’s kinda putting the cart in front of the horse. (You don’t start with an assumption about a matter and then disregard evidence to the contrary because it doesn’t concur with your assumption.)
Another racist said that although there were some blacks in Egypt, that does not mean that they mixed with the native Egyptians–just as blacks and whites live in America have not mixed (by blood) that frequently. I guess he missed the lessons in school about centuries of racial apartheid in the US–and I guess that he doesn’t know about all the racial mixing between blacks and whites that has happened in places, like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. The natural thing is that when peoples live in proximity–especially, for millennia (like in Egypt)–they tend to intermarry.
As for the “race” of the Ancient Egyptians, I will take a safe position and say that for a very long time the people of that region have been intermarrying–and this is evident when we take a look at the Egyptians today. Until today, there is still a substantial portion of the Egyptian population that is clearly “black” or “Negroid” in features. And the majority of the population–certainly outside of the northern coastal cities (which have attracted people from all over the “Middle East” and Mediterranean for eons)–would be classified as (in the old American system) as “mulatto”–i.e., of a mixed “black” and “Caucasian” ancestry. Here are some random examples of today’s Egyptians:
Now according to the white racists, these kids are “Caucasians” who happen to have “Negro features.” But… if someone in America looks like this:
…then they are regarded as “black” (these are biracial kids (i.e., children of black and white ancestry)).
One of the things the white racists will say is that the Ancient Egyptians did not portray themselves in their statuary and hieroglyphics as “black sub-Saharan Africans,” but typically as a brownish-red color. Again, the problem for the white racists is that they only regard people who look like this in Africa:
…as being “black…” but in Africa, if you look like this…
…then you are white… but in America, if you look like this…
…then you are “black.” However, ALL of these people (with the exception of the Egyptian girl with the red hijab… maybe) would be on the back of the bus in Alabama or drinking from the “white fountain” in Mississippi circa 1955.
The point is to show how inconsistent this idea of “race” is. The white racists innovated the idea of the “one-drop rule”–that is… for America, but then turn around and fail to apply that same principle to the people of Africa. And this is done intentionally so that they can say “black” people have never had advanced civilization–and since blacks are backwards and inferior (allegedly), then they can be killed and enslaved as subhumans and without compunction. This is the twisted mentality that goes along with white supremacy.
In reality, MOST people on earth do not follow American ideas about race and identity. More often than not, one’s identity is based upon tribe, nationality, language, culture, and religion. And even in America, notions of race and identity are not fixed, but rather they are fluid–and they are all the more likely to change in this era of global mass communication and travel.
As for African-American Muslims, it is time for us to step out of the American Race Matrix and look at things objectively and critically–and to stop clinging on to an identity that was NEVER intended to empower “black” people, but rather was intended to reinforce black subordination to white supremacy. We have the opportunity to transcend American notions of race and demonstrate that the ultimate merit of the human being is not in skin complexion or “race”–but rather in having the proper belief in and sincere obedience to the Creator of the Universe.