Democracy Fanboy wrote:
I may agree with Big Triece that most ancient Egyptians were dark-skinned Africans related to people whom we call "black", but I get the impression that he (she?) insists on labeling the Egyptians "black" because he wants to feel a personal connection to Egypt. Many African Diaspora people see the Egyptians and their achievements as the ultimate proof of black people's potential and a symbolic refutation of anti-black racist claims about their inferiority. If they perceive you as somehow dissociating them from Egypt, they think you're doubting black people's capacity for civilization.
This is the part that strikes me as odd.
No one doubts northern Europeans' capacity for civilization, even though until about a thousand years ago northern European ethnic stock was much
more likely to be trying to take a given civilization apart than to be putting it back together.
Why should anyone doubt sub-Saharan Africans' capacity for civilization? And why should anyone expect me
to doubt that? Sub-Saharan Africans have at least as good a set of credentials when it comes to 'ability to be civilized' as Scandinavians do, probably better.
Granted, Africa is a mess right now, but so was most of Europe at a time not all that long ago (the Thirty Years' War managed to be about as ugly as many of the ongoing conflicts in Africa, just to name one), and Africa has plenty of reasons to be messed up that have nothing to do with any presumed 'racial characteristics' of Africans.
And no one disputes that Europeans were capable of being 'civilized' in the 1600s and on, even while they were butchering each other on an ever-growing scale and depopulating whole countries with internecine religious and political disputes- and exporting this behavior to other continents to boot.
Why would anyone sane apply a different standard to Africa? It makes my brain hurt imagining someone thinking of Sudanese dervishes as 'uncivilized' while thinking of Bomber Harris's planning staff as 'civilized,' or thinking of the 'civilized' conqueror Napoleon while calling his contemporary Shaka Zulu 'uncivilized.' I have a hard time even holding that kind of double-think in my head long enough to grasp what is being thought at all.
I'm aware that a few score years ago, my ancestors were damn-fool enough to think this, and jackasses enough to oppress and brutalize people because they believed it. But I don't understand why I
should have to be deferential to whatever other people dream up in an attempt to pound more nails into the coffin of that brand of collective stupidity.
Triece's attitude towards ancient Egypt reminds me disturbingly of what happens when white supremacists try to come up with quasi-mythical Aryan homelands to somehow "prove" that northern Europeans have been civilized for much longer than the conventional history admits. They don't need to do that in order to prove that their lineage is equal to that of other cultures. They only need that if they want to prove that their own lineage is somehow superior, because it is tied into some special ancient glory that no one else can match.
Also important is a certain irony in the idea of black people influencing the development of the very Western civilization that would enslave and subjugate them.
Well, the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Persians, Indians, and Chinese all certainly wound up doing that
, to varying degrees of directness.