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Skin color, language, outward appearance, never outweighed the content of one’s character in ancient Egypt but there was national ethnic distinctions. A far cry from what prevails among the American culture. We can use Egypt as a model when it comes to race distinction.

There has been a spate of controversy of late between “Afrocentric” authors and their critics, but the truth is that Egyptologists are not involved in some massive conspiracy of lies designed to subjugate black populations, as has often been charged. Most of this kind of controversy is propaganda kept up by those who hold racist and bigoted views. Indeed, most modern Egyptologists are rather taciturn when it comes to the subject of race. Nor have the black Africans been “robbed” of their legacy.

It is apparent that the ancient Egyptians did not make racial distinctions themselves, but rather ethnic distinctions based on nationality. Tomb paintings depicting captive Nubian’s may show them as being very dark, but this is an artistic convention stereotyping a nationality, and to conclude there were therefore no very dark Egyptians would be a non sequitur. Similarly, the skin tones in art depicting the Egyptians themselves adhere to convention rather than an absolutely accurate description of reality. Tutankhamen is variously shown as being black as in the guardian statues found in his tomb, and brown or beige as in the lotus bust. We can safely conclude that the ancient Egyptians were of various skin colors, few of which were light judging by the climate. 

Civilization as it exists today is the culmination of the historical development of mankind, layer upon layer from ancient times to modern, each group contributing its share to the whole. Through human interaction, whether by trade or warfare, ideas, reform, and invention are assimilated, adapted, and again dispersed. It’s the nature of history regardless of ethnicity. To make petty and arbitrary distinctions based on human physical appearance is divisive and can only lead to wanton racist misuse. Such tactics like those, however, are used by westerners who are lovers of money and the power that money can buy. This is becoming more and more obvious in American modern day politics, as I see it. Acts such as the ones we see in the western world, especially those used by the “tea party Republicans, to destroy a black President and leave the Nations need on a back burner can not and will not come to a positive end.

No good can come of it beyond establishing immediate and limited familial ties; beyond this the discussion of race has no place in science or dare I say, in Modern Day America. We all should labor hard to get it out of our mores and cultures knowing that all men are created equal.

Image by ckeigher via Flickr