The Origins Of Color Prejudice

“The ORIGINS of COLOR PREJUDICE”

The view of the 18-century Scottish philosopher David Hume was that Africa has no history, art or science. This myth implanted in religion and exploited, formed the foundation of color prejudice today. If not for Africa we human beings wouldn’t exist today.  According to anthropologists, the evidence is overwhelming that Africans inhabited much of our
the present-day continents.

We were Kemet, the original name for Egypt, and Nubia, which predated Egypt and is now Sudan. The earliest city of Ta Seti, which by historical accounts was a diverse community, was advanced politically and democratically.

Tacitus, a historian and senator from the first century Roman Empire, described western Britons that included Scotland as dark-skinned, swarthy and with curly hair. As late as 1773, David MacRitchie described the Moors of Scotland and confirmed Africans occupied every corner of the globe including Britain. The original Celtic priesthood were
Blacks.

Coins depicting Iberian Negroes found throughout Spain provide evidence of the Moors influence after ruling Spain for over seven hundred years. The Moors captured parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It’s said one reason that little is known about the Dark Ages is it was a time when dark-skinned Africans dominated the world. The Dark Ages, also called the Early Middle Ages or Migration period, referred to a period in European history between AD 500-1000 (the time of the Moors and much warfare).

Today we have mapped the human genome and have not yet discovered racial genes. In other words, there is no known African-American gene, Asian gene, Latino gene, Arab gene or Jewish gene. Proximity to the sun can explain the phenotypes or physiognomy. As Africans moved farther away from the sun, their complexion and features changed to adapt to the surrounding environment. In ancient times, color prejudice was not toxic as it is today. It did not give other people the right to enslave or to deny access permanently. There was much mixing of the different physiognomies to form the spectrum of colors and features we see today.

In ancient times, ‘white supremacy’ was none existent. Aristotle did say, “Too black a hue marks the coward as witness Egyptians and Ethiopians: so also, does too white a complexion as you may see from women. So the hue that makes for courage must be intermediate between these extremes. A tawny color indicates a bold spirit as in lions, but too ruddy a hue makes a rogue.” The ancient Greeks felt the most desirable color was a dark brunette or mulatto. (1) The Greeks thought physicalstrength and muscles showed better in a dark skin than a fair one. In ancient India, the Brahmins agreed with the Greeks that neither a very fair skin nor a very dark one was desirable. Recorded in the
Karma Sutra love precepts is the belief that very white and black women were not to be enjoyed.

The so-called science of Physiognomy that used physical traits to rank individuals, became very strong among Whites and charlatans, that in 1743 the British Parliament outlawed it. While these laws reduced the impact of this pseudo-science in Europe, it did not affect American colonies.

During this time it was considered almost a sin not to be a Christian. The Bible served as the authority for the colonists where the story of Ham that came from Jewish legends was used to justify colonist slavery as an order from God to enslave and punish Blacks. It was around that time we had a doctrine of Negro inferiority that was widely supported by the greats such as Voltaire. He believed only a blind man would think such nonsense as White men being descendants of Africans. African features dissected under the jaded auspices of inferiority beliefs.

In 1520, a Swiss physician Paracelsus (full name Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim), boldly declared that Africans could not have descended from Adam. In 1591, Giordano Bruno proclaimed that no intelligent person could believe that Negroes and Jews had a common origin.

These ideologies formed the theory of plural origin that became the basis of ‘The Pre-Adamite’ theory by Isaac de la Peyrere in 1655. Peyrere used the Bible to show there were two creations of man. The Pre-Adamites were given dominion over the earth and every living thing. Man did not come into existence until God created Adam from the dust of the earth and later his companion Eve. According to Peyrere, Cain married a pre-Adamite (offsprings of Cain) which in Anglo-Saxon colonies were African or Black people.

Peyrere went as far as to say that the descendants of Adam and Eve were God’s chosen people, the Jews. His Pre-Adamite theory was felt to be heresy by Pope Alexander VIII; Peyrere imprisoned in the dungeon, solemnly renounced his belief the following year.

How did color prejudice begin? Why did David Hume and others of his day speak so ill of Africa? Why did they strip Africa of its great history?

Interestingly, before prejudice became focused on dark skin, there was much prejudice among Whites for different shades of white. That set in motion the pseudo-science of Physiognomy. Over time the pseudo-science was applied to the Black skin.

Truth is we do not know, but we look at the past to see when color prejudice started to impact humanity by dividing us. The primary source for this information is ‘Nature Knows No Color-Line’ by J A Rogers. When Africa and Europe were joined there is evidence in prehistoric times that Africans and Caucasians were intermixed the most and for the
longest. Africans inhabited much of what is known as Europe. Since the historical period, about eight thousand years ago, there is abundant evidence of intermixing. In colonial times, miscegenation was the law of the land with racial purity the desired goal.

For more information, see this
detailed and well-illustrated website: African Holocaust

http://africanholocaust.net/african-kingdoms/

1. The first recorded instance of color prejudice according to Rogers occurred over five thousand years ago when the Aryans invaded India, (in the valley of the Indus river) and found Black people called the Dasysus or Dasyus. The writings of the Aryans speak about Indra, the national god, hating the black skin so much that it “slew the flat-nosed barbarians” and blew the black skin far away. India’s caste system based on color with the word varna (caste) meaning color: Arya varna (white skin); Krishna varna (black skin).

The Aryans of India thought themselves superior to the darker complexion people of India who the Aryans derided for their physiognomy. However, the dark-skinned “barbarians” the Aryan legends refer to now known as Dravidians were a mighty civilization. Buddhism came from them. James Bird, historical researches on the Origins of the Buddhas (1847) wrote, “Buddhas of a black complexion are common in the Fresco
paintings of Ajunta and that of the Arishtanemi, or race of Vishnu, who is the twenty-second Jain saint described as black complexion on the authority of the Hemachandras vocabulary.” (pp 8)

“Godfrey Higgins said, “The religion of Buddha of India is well known to have been very ancient. In the most ancient temples scattered throughout Asia where his worship is yet continued he is found as yet with the flat face, thick lips and curly hair of the Negro. Several statues of his may be met in the Museum of the East India Company…
The religion of the Negro God is found in the ruins of his temples and other circumstances to have been spread over an immense extent of countries, even to the remotest parts of Britain and to have been professed by devotees, inconceivably numerous… That the Buddhists were Negroes the icons of their God clearly prove.” Anacalypsis, Vol 1, pp. 52, 1866. (4)

[For additional facts on the Negro Buddhas, together with pictures and the evolution of Christianity from the black Buddhas, see Sex and Race,Vol 1, pp. 265-8. 2nd ed. 1940]

2. The second evidence of color prejudice was found in Egypt. Gerald Massey, the most significant authority on ancient Egyptian lore, said, “On the monuments, the dark people are commonly called ‘the evil race of Kus” but when the Ethiopian element dominates the dark people retort by calling the light complexions, the pale, degraded race of Arvad.”

The prejudice in Egypt was not as intense as the prejudice in India, since Whites were not present in considerable numbers in Egypt until the Ptolemaic invasion third century BC. By then intermixing had gained firm roots reducing the prevalence of color prejudice.

3. The third instance, and probably the one that had the most pervasive
effect that still exists today, was found in rabbinical writings.
The early rabbis said that black skin was the result of a “curse” on Ham by Noah. The signs of this “curse”, said these rabbis, were “a black skin, misshapen lips, and twisted hair.”

The Bible said the “curse” was placed on Canaan, Ham’s son. However, the rabbis changed it and placed the curse directly on Ham as well as inserting color in the Bible. Rabbi Huja said he came forth from the Ark “black-skinned.”

Topinard, the French anthropologist, also thinks that the rabbis of the first century were the first to stress differences of race and color. Race as we now use it was unknown in ancient times. Aristotle (the Father of Natural History), and Hippocrates (the Father of Medicine) did not mention “race” though both studied anatomy and the then known varieties of the human race including Negroes.

The King James Bible of the 17th century does not mention race. Neither does the first English dictionary by Nathaniel Bailey in 1736 nor the second dictionary by Dr. Samuel Johnson in 1750.

According to Topinard, “In the first century when Christianity was beginning to seat itself in Rome, the doctrine of a separate creation of Blacks and Whites defended by the Babylonian rabbis and later by Emperor Julian.

St Augustine declared that no true Christian would doubt that all men, no matter what form, color or height were of the same protoplasmic origin. He believed that all humans, even “monsters” or freaks of nature, came from Adam or Noah’s sons.

This dispute resulted in monogenism (a single origin) for the human race and became a Christian doctrine where doubters paid the supreme penalty for disbelief.

So why did the rabbis make the “curse” on Ham a black skin? Next, to the Aryans, the ancient Hebrews were the most color-conscious. They were slaves to both the Egyptians and the Ethiopians after they established themselves in Palestine. Interestingly, these Israelites were described as dark skinned with Negroid features. After four centuries of intermixing the main difference between Hebrew and Egyptians was not racial but religious.

There is no evidence that ancient Hebrews were white. Legends and considerable evidence suggest they originated from Chalea where the inhabitants were Africans. The hypothesis is that the Hebrews forced to leave Africa moved north, became fairer skinned as they moved away from the sun and intermixed with fairer skinned individuals. The lighter they became, the more they felt superior to those who enslaved them, and thus to erase that history and take former captors’ land, the rabbis made up the curse of the black skin. The rabbis sought retribution and other cultures used this myth to their
political and economic advantage.

The rabbis put the “curse” on Ham and the “blessing” on Shrem by Noah. Shem and the sons of Shem were Hebrews (sons of Shem), enslaved by the Egyptians and the Ethiopians, were sons of Noah. According to the Masoretic version of the bible the curse was on Canaan, son of Ham. Canaan did not go with Ham but settled near his uncle Shem in Canaan also known as Palestine and where the Israelites settled. This was in Asia. Ham settled in Africa.

The rabbis knowing this were the first to exploit the Bible to support structural racism. In those days it was common practice to place a curse on a group to incite violence against that group. The Arabs who were ethnically related to the Hebrews, and had mostly African physiognomy also adopted their version of the Ham legend created by the rabbis.

Again, the curse was on Canaan, the son of Ham, not Ham as the rabbis wrote. This is important, because the land of Canaan was in the Middle East. Canaan settled in Canaan in the land of Shem where people were fairer in complexion. Ham settled in Africa where the people were dark-skinned. The purpose of the rabbinical myth was to curse of dark-skinned people by adding religious justification. The reason appeared to be both economic, political and historical erasure. This myth formed firm roots in colonial America.

4. “The fourth stage in the development of color prejudice” (4) occurred in
Rome in the first century AD, in the fight between Christianity and Paganism.
Pagan masters believed that humanity, regardless of color, was either Roman or Barbarian. Christianity, the new religion, believed that of one blood God made all people and men were brothers in Christ. Also, the earliest Christians pictured the Virgin Mary and Christ as black, both being an evolution of the worship of Isis and Horus which
was once familiar in Rome (pp 11)

It appears around the time of the Renaissance, racism as we know it, began to take shape in American colonialism. There was an intentional effort to rewrite history. Iconoclasm and the iconoclastic painted over many biblical and ancient images, changing the skin color and features from African to Anglo-Saxon. Fortunately, there were too many
to repaint them all. There are images where the faces are white, but the hands and fingers are black. It is said that both Russia and the Vatican house many original images that show African ancestry in leading roles in European countries.

With so much of history destroyed and intentionally altered, it is difficult to connect all the dots. However, there is enough evidence to show Africans once ruled the world. That may explain why White American slave owners supported laws that prevented Black people from learning to read or write. Slave owners separated children from their parents, husbands from wives. The goal was total brain washing of African slaves.

Today dark-skinned people are targets of discrimination and violence by all races. How did it begin? Based on my research color prejudice took root in religion, specifically the rabbinical writings.


Again, I am not a historian or an anthropologist. The above is based on literature research. Please share your thoughts, any corrections or interpretations, so we can connect the dots to know the truth. How can we evolve if our history is full of lies?

Part 1: The Ancestral History Of Black People

Source of Image: Pinterest


References:

  1. Bagley, Robert J. Apocrypha Audio Series. Narrated by Steve Cook.
  2. Buddha the African. http://essaysbyekowa.com/Black%20Buddha.htm
  3. Diop, Cheikh Anta. (1974) The African Origin Of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill
  4. Rodgers, J. A. (1952) Nature Knows No Color-Line. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press
  5. Rodgers, J. A. (1968) Sex and Race. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press

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Author: Angela Grant

I am a first generation Jamaican immigrant whose experiences and accomplishments were made possible by the courage, sacrifices and the heroic acts of many whose bodies have rotted away in unmarked graves. Those are my heroes. Their sacrifices and death paved the way for my children and I. Failure to Listen is a token of my eternal gratitude. Failure to Listen is a tribute those generations of unmarked graves occupied by people of all races whose ultimate sacrifice of life opened the door for me and others, THANK YOU. Failure to Listen https://failuretolisten.wordpress.com/ uses cultural lenses to appreciate and understand the relationships between current events and our values, beliefs and attitudes. Culture is everything without it we are nothing. Failure to Listen will take you on a journey to recognize the beauty of our differences as the seeds to creativity, innovation and resolving disparities. By sharing my personal and professional experiences, I hope to do justice to the perspectives of those who are rarely heard or listened to. This site is not to incite anger but rather to provoke thought. It is my hope that Failure to Listen will work to foster intergroup dialogues and motivate readers to step outside the box and get to know ALL PEOPLE. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, let's join hands and remember his famous speech about a dream... A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

8 thoughts on “The Origins Of Color Prejudice”

  1. Ty, I am learning quite a bit from you myself. You force me to write daily too. Lol.

    That quote is at the heart of US statistics.

    Back when AIDS was prevalent, researchers noted an unusually high number of blacks died from AIDS. The explanation for this finding was rooted in racial stereotypes. Later, it became a scandal when researchers discovered for the study race was determined by post mortem appearance. In other words, the medical examiner looked at the dead AIDS patient and decided the race was black.

    Like

  2. That was an informative article. Some of the stuff you mentioned were things I just recently discovered this year when I learned about pre-colonial Africa (I would highly recommend the books of Chiekh Anta Diop). Good call on the infamous Hamite myth. It had been so inconsistent because there was a time when the Brits gave that description to the Irish hundreds of years ago. They also avoided the Caanan issue since his people would be the Phoenicians. Since those were one of the more prominent Proto-European groups given their contributions to art, civilization, and frequent contact with Greece, those people wanted to latch on to them while switching the curse to Ham. This was mind-blowing as I never realized all the ways racism had been around while directly and indirectly affecting modern forms of discrimination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I am trying to make my posts informative in as few words as possible. A friend recommended The African Origin Of Civilization by Cheikh Anta Diop. Just started, it’s fascinating.

      We need more knowledge about the Moors and the Dark Ages. As you wrote about the Canaanites I thought about the Moors and how were they related. The Moors were nomadic and a mix of different African groups and religions. Their influence in Europe was undeniable. The Moroccan Treaty was designed to protect them from slavery.

      In ancient times most wars were religious or tribal, racism did not exist in the form it does today. Racism was fierce among whites. Most don’t realize how racist whites were to each other before they weaponized racism to divide and conquer other races.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. I just started reading that book, too. I’m glad I discovered the work of that historian.

        Sure thing, Angela. That’s one group I should research about more often. I do know that the flag of Corsica has a depiction of a Moor on it. You’re right with how influential they were to the Europeans as they taught them so many things. I had never heard of The Moroccan Treaty.

        You’re certainly right about the aspects if religious and tribal conflicts. For centuries (and still going on depending on some parts of the continent), you had several conflicts with different Europeans. Like how England had issues with Ireland, the Yugoslav conflicts, etc. The concept of a “white” race was a total construct. Not because of the skin tones of Europeans, but because it was a unifying construct to redirect energies on slavery and colonization. Even when you had massive waves of immigration during the 19th and 20th centuries, the rapper Immortal Technique said it best: “These immigrants didn’t just apply for citizenship, they applied for whiteness.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you google the Moroccan Treaty or read about it on Wikipedia, you don’t get the sense that the treaty was to protect the Moors from slavery in the US. The Treaty made them free citizens in America. Ofc the Treaty was not strictly enforced, and enslaved Moors were common in America.

          Race is a social construct. No racial genes discovered thus far. We know that environment plays an often more significant role than genetics in affecting behavior and appearance.

          Creating toxic environments is the foundation of the US domestic policy of mass incarceration of people of color.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Gotcha. I’ve been learning a lot from you and I appreciate that.

            Exactly! It’s one thing talking about nationality or ethnicity, but people confuse race with either of them.

            Of course. Something seriously doesn’t add up in this prison-industrial complex. There’s one quote about this situation that I heard: “It doesn’t matter who’s crimes count. It’s about who counts the crimes.”

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting, Angela, something I will use as a reference when I read/watch history set in the times and places named above.

    Recent DNA analysis has shown the presence of very dark haired and skinned people being in Scotland before any record of definitely White persons there. So it seems your account is correct.

    I think colour bias must come from tribalism, where each tribe would differentiate themselves from the tribe next to them. In a way understandable. As for nationalism, that is increasingly pointless as countries across the globe absorb more migrants who eventually have the sane nationality.

    We can forgive our ancestors, who were of their time, but nowadays this needs to stop and we all work as one human race to save this planet from extinction of all life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tribalism seems to predate color prejudice. From my readings, I gather throughout history religious was always a point of contention that often led to war. There were references to stories where religious differences prevented marriages, not color prejudice. I gather there was a time when people of all shades of black, brown and white traded and married each other.

      It’s important to have some understanding of how it happened to address it today. Correct the inaccurate religious references and history to tackle color prejudice. Can’t move forward if whites believe they are superior and Jews think they were chosen. Can’t move forward if you have a system build around such beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

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