Nobody is denying the "African origins" of Ancient Egypt. How could they? Egypt is in Africa, after all.
Such denials used to be routine in at least high school textbooks in the early half of the 20th Century (I have seen such. For all I know it showed up in college texts as well, but I'm not familiar with those so I can't speak with any authority on those). It was explained by, basically, white people invading Egypt and taking over, giving any native Africans living there (that is, black people)
culture, language, writing, etc. This sort of thing is alluded to by Keita when he says that there is no evidence of people invading from outside Egypt and/or importing a culture into Egypt. The idea arose out of racist ideas that negros were incapable
of achieving civilization on their own, and ties in with historical justifications for slavery that are now rejected.
What people are denying is that one cannot say the Egyptians as such were exclusively Africans, or viewed themselves as such, or that their accomplishments were a pure African feat (unlike those, for example, of the Bantu). Egypt was much more influenced by the Semitic cultures, the Middle Eastern cultures and the Minoan/Greeks than it was from "inner africa". The Egyptian geostrategy was much more concerned with the mediterranean than it was with the south and the Egyptians treated those to the South as non-equals.
That is certainly the counter-argument to the idea that everything about Egypt arises from the south. I'm not sure they considered those to the north or east their equals either, but it's not uncommon for a nation to believe itself superior to all others.
The more rational folks might say that while the Egyptians were mostly African there is irrefutable evidence of influences from outside Africa at play, both cultural and genetic. It seems there is room for debate on the proportions of African vs. non-African input into Egypt. Certainly by Ptolemaic times the focus seems more on the north. Earlier there might have been more contributions from interior Africa though I've always been puzzled why so few seem willing to accept the idea that Ancient Egypt had many things purely indigenous to the Nile Valley.
And, you may not encounter them, but here in the US there is a subset of people who vehemently deny ANY influence on Egypt from outside of Africa as adamantly as the 19th Century wanted to deny any influence from inside
Africa, even when the written records set down by the Egyptians themselves provide evidence to the contrary. Either extreme is a ridiculous distortion of the facts. What I find interesting is that Keita, who is often quoted in support of the "Egyptians are black Africans with no influence from anywhere else" group, does not actually hold that position. We saw that with Vastatosaurus Rex and the threads linked earlier in this thread, and I believe Edi was making reference to it in his comment as well. If you, Thanas, have not encountered these people yourself then count yourself fortunate. They are really, really annoying, on par with religious Fundies, creationists, and flat earthers.
The only way I can explain this is that when Keita talks about Saharan/sub-Saharen influences they latch onto that and go "See! SEE! This PROVES our theory!" while totally ignoring what he says about all the other
inputs into Egypt from elsewhere.So, if nothing else, this thread has informed me about Mr. Keita and what he has actually said, as opposed to what a bunch of extremists think he said.
Even more important, the accomplishments of the Egyptian culture and society were not adapted in the South, but in the North, East and West. Via the Minoans (and later the Greeks), the Phoenicians, the various Middle eastern empires etc. it was adapted and transferred to all of what we call today western civilization. It would also be false to speak of an Egyptian civilization as if it was an insular development. This is not the case, the exchange of scientists etc. was common to all cultures back then. Egypt for example was very well known as being a haven for Greek scholars (like Pythagoras) and greek architects found a lot of employment (and opportunities for study) there. Via the Minoan link, Egypt is rightfully claimed by the West and the Middle East as part of their heritage, but not by the south, for it had virtually no impact on inner africa etc. OTOH, its impact on Western civilization is immediate and still really easy to find - just go open your math textbook, for once.
I don't disagree with you. However, the "Egyptians are black Africans" crowd say this is the black man bringing civilization to the white man. Personally, I see no evidence to support this at all. If anything, civilization in the Middle East/Mediterranean/North Africa/Nile Valley regions was a group effort, with many peoples contributing bits and pieces. Again, Keita references this in speaking about domestic animals coming from the Levant - even if
most of people of Egypt came from dark-skinned Africa (which is debatable) that is a major, major component of their civilization that came from outside of Africa, and at a very early stage (8k-10k years ago, pre-dynastic, pre-literate Egypt).
Or, as I said in a prior thread - Egypt has always
been a crossroads and engaged in commerce. It has always
adopted things from other peoples. It has always
had a biologically diverse population. It is as wrong to shoehorn Egypt into a box labeled "black African" as it is to attempt to shoehorn them into some other box. But, apparently some people have an agenda.
A note - it would be wrong to think of ancient kingdoms in terms of ethnicity. Egypt itself was a cesspool of various tribes and ethnicities.
Well, I'm not sure I'd use the word cesspool
due to the negative connotations, but yes, it was and is a melting pot/tossed salad/very diverse/whatever term is fashionable these days.
Again, as I pointed out in a prior thread, Egyptian mummies run the gamut from red haired, pale-skinned "Caucasians" to dark skinned people with sub-Saharan features. Pick any neighbor to Egypt you want, you'll find some Egyptians that look just like them. I don't know why this ever surprised anyone. I don't know why people who live in a world where a man of Japanese descent has been president of Peru and a black man president of the US and most nations have sizable minorities of people with ancestry from far away find it impossible to consider that ancient societies might have also been multi-ethnic. Clearly
ancient peoples did move around, if they didn't we'd all still be in Africa instead of all over the globe.
What counted in those times was political association, not skin color. Thus, there had been instances of arabs becoming Roman Emperors or North African noblemen becoming the same, or a Greek being the Egyptian chief scientist. The focus on race is a modern invention borne out of nationalism and colonialism, not an ancient way of thinking.
Absolutely. Unfortunately, many modern people just don't know or just don't comprehend that.
I'm hoping the world is moving back to that. Sure, someone might know their ancestors came from a distant continent but their current national/regional/local affiliation is much more important than where their grandfather was born.
I think the meme "Egyptians were invaded by white people with civilization" was part and parcel of a world view that had a great deal of stake in justifying slavery, colonialism, and keeping one group on top and the rest on the bottom. The "Egyptians were all black Africans" is an extreme reaction to that. The latter viewpoint may be more common in areas like the US where race-based slavery persisted for quite awhile, as opposed to other areas where black slavery was less common and/or slavery was not so strongly based on skin color.
Thus, what people are disputing is not that Egypt is of african origin, what they are disputing is that Egypt can be claimed exclusively to be of African Origin, that the accomplishments of Egpyt belong to some "Greater African heritage" and that Egypt can serve as some poster child for the success of a "black state". What people dispute is the embellishment of Egypt as some sort of attempt on behalf of some zealous afrocentrists to go and say "Hahahah, you white people would never have had anything had it not been for black people, like Egypt", thereby missing the point that the Egyptians themselves did not think of themselves as Africans.
This reminds me of the black Afrocentrist argument that it was black Africa that invented iron-working and no one would have steel if not for them. Well, yes, some sub-Saharan groups did invent a crude form of iron refining and the ability to work iron, but these techniques never spread beyond those groups. Everyone else came up with iron working independently, or got it from somehow outside of sub-Saharan Africa, as I'm sure you're aware of. Egypt is currently believed to have acquired iron working from diffusion from the Anatolia point of origin - again, another bit of proof that Egypt was never entirely African and quite happy to adopt technology from elsewhere.
It's this funny idea that a good idea somehow only shows up once in history. It's not true. Iron working is just one example. Writing is another - it seems writing arose at least four times: China, the Middle East, Egypt, and Central America. It's hilarious to read 19th Century attempts to explain how writing only arose once
(usually in Europe, but sometimes China) and then spread elsewhere despite the chronology of the evidence making that impossible. For centuries no one attempted to read Mayan writing because everyone "knew" that writing had only arisen in the Old World, and that after the American Natives had already moved to the western hemisphere. Bizarre, because the invading Spanish knew darn well that the Mayans were writing and deliberately destroyed all their books that they could find. Or, some others in the 19th Century did think those carvings on all those ruins were writing but they were convinced it was somehow related to the Egyptian writing system and even made up stories about Egyptians somehow washing up in Central America to "carry" writing to the ignorant New World savages - again, pernicious ideas about how the New World natives weren't as clever as Old World people played into this.
EDIT: Note 2: Keita himself uses the word afroasiatic when describing Egypt, which is a much more fitting term than any other for the population of Egypt.
Yes. But I suspect you and I are on the same side in this - I'm just wondering when the OP is going to show up again.