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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Castoffs and leftovers: The mixed benefits of working for a white family

When my mom became a nanny for white children, I learned what proximity to privilege gives, and what it takes away By Olivia Olivia

Reblogged from: http://www.salon.com/2013/10/08/castoffs_and_leftovers_the_mixed_benefits_of_working_for_a_white_family/

(Credit: Bara22 via Shutterstock)
(Credit: Bara22 via Shutterstock)

Throughout my life, I’ve experienced white privilege by proxy. By surrounding myself with rich white people I have gained access to a lot of relief, food, education, clothes, you name it — just because I was near them.  This isn’t new by any means.  The house slave was often treated better than the field slave, and so the domestic servant is treated better than the migrant worker in the fields, and so it has passed on through the Latino and Afro-Caribbean diasporas in the United States.  I didn’t understand as a child why my father was so relieved to hear my mother had found work in a wealthy white woman’s home.  My mother had a degree – she was a certified accountant in El Salvador.  But here she was, grateful to have a job working closely with a white family that would treat her a lot like the nanny-dog in Disney’s “Peter Pan.”   It took a while for me to understand.

My mother used to take me to work with her in the summer, so I would play with the white children.  I learned English this way at a young age.  The white children passed on their castoffs to me.  If a rich child didn’t like his or her toy, it was mine.  If a rich child grew out of clothes, it probably wouldn’t fit me, but my mom knew someone with a baby would appreciate it.  If the rich family couldn’t finish all their food, we ate it.  Always rich people leftovers, which to be honest were always better than our first-overs.

It drew attention in our little Salvadoran community that my mother was working for generous and careless white families. Other immigrants, who were not so lucky, would ask us to keep an eye out for certain goods. I remember a very pregnant women coming to my mother and asking her to see if one of the families would soon be throwing out some baby clothes or a car seat. My mother could look into it. The pregnant woman, who worked in a meat factory, would have no way of having such goods just fall into her hands otherwise. The trickle-down economy of whiteness was extremely difficult to come by and everyone knew where the current drips were concentrated.

I also learned that my abusive mother would not hit me in front of white children, and that white children got “timeouts,” and that white children did not have to finish their dinner if they wanted dessert. I learned that white children had activities, commitments, expectations. White children were told “when you grow up.”



My mother never in her life referred to “when I grow up.” I didn’t know what college was. I didn’t know that I would really have options. I didn’t know about the future. My parents never asked me about my hopes or predicted a life for me, because as far as they knew the future didn’t include me. One day, we too would be cast away, like so many meals, toys and leftovers. “Mommy, I don’t like them anymore,” the white child might say, and who knows where we’d end up then.

The trickle of white surplus we had run into was tenuous and never guaranteed. We frequently moved and never looked back. White motherhood, and the white feminist dream of “having it all” – having a career and having a family – often depends on the subjugation of women of color. These women have to sell not only their time, but their love, and indeed their own children. My mother could not raise us. I could not afford my mother’s care. I was competing with a handful of extremely wealthy women from Palo Alto, Atherton, Mountain View and Menlo Park, for what could have been my mother. When she came home she was controlling, abusive, vindictive.  Cheeky white children had tried her patience for hours on end and she had none left for me. I would not be attending any extracurriculars or having a home-cooked meal. I had been pushed out of the market for my own mother so that a white woman somewhere could raise her well-rounded children. I got the sour ends, leftovers once again, of someone else’s memory of a great nanny.

I remember fantasizing that one day my mother would be very old and estranged from me. I would have escaped her clutches like a rabbit running into the woods. She would be driving alone in her minivan to yet another family’s house in the California foothills. She’d be looking for a woman who called her recently looking for help. She wouldn’t know exactly how many kids or how much cleaning, but she’d know the pay would be good. She’d pull into the driveway and see no traces of children from the yard. No slides or tricycles. She’d knock on the door and there I’d be, a full-grown woman. “Go on,” I’d say in Spanish. “Raise me right. I’m paying you this time.”

* * *

I did escape them, just like I fantasized. I went to a good white college, and white children continued to cast away their goods to me.  At the end of the semester, white children left the dorm fridges full, furniture strewn across the laundry room. Go have your pickings, I’d think to myself, the white children have left this for you. 

The worst was when there was too much, and I no longer knew anyone to give it to. It wasn’t like when I still talked to my parents and mingled with the diaspora. Now I was isolated from those people who used to come to my mother hoping for castoff goods. I had a feeling of utter helplessness staring at the mountains of microwaves, water heaters and ergonomic chairs. Privilege by proximity to white wealth meant I could get the chairs and electronics if I needed them. But it increasingly meant I wasn’t near the people who needed the castoffs the most anymore. The chasm widened as I got older. As one approaches whiteness, whiteness surrounds and attempts to erase whatever else existed in its place.  Languages, families and countries are destroyed in its wake.

The effects of what my father would call white American terrorism destroyed El Salvador during the late ’80s and early ’90s. But the victims weren’t limited to the dead. My father also talked about the problem of the “undead” – those who were dead inside but were forced to live on long after their passions and dignity had been taken from them. This existence rendered one inevitably the servant of the conquerors. You had no choice but to belong to them in one way or another, to approach them, to assume proximity to them.

The proximity we find in white houses as women of color, as domestic servants and household help, follows much the same rules of erasure my father explained to me when I was a child. My father, a vocal Marxist and critic of the United States, used to scream at the television after having spent hours at work or looking for work. I asked him, “Why did we move here if it’s such a horrible place, if the Americans did such horrible things to your country?” (I didn’t see it as my country – I barely even had a memory of it.)

He said something that applies to both working in your oppressor’s house and moving to your oppressor’s country: “Better to be in the belly of the beast than at its jaws.”

This piece is the latest in a series by feminists of color, curated by Roxane Gay. To submit to the series, email rgay@salon.com.


      Olivia is a Salvadoran American writer living in Portland, Oregon.  You can find her writing on Jezebel, Salon, and the Rumpus.                             More Olivia Olivia.

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/08/castoffs_and_leftovers_the_mixed_benefits_of_working_for_a_white_family/