Monday, August 19, 2019

The ancient Egyptians were Caucasians

From a NY Times essay last year:
Among the most important to Douglass was Morton’s claim that ancient Egyptians were white. To support his claim that black people were inferior, Morton needed to explain away the fact that ancient Egyptians were Africans, since if they were, it meant that people of African descent had the potential for similar greatness. As proof, Morton noted that the Bible made no mention of Egyptians’ color.

Douglass would have none of it.

He cited text after text, all written by respected European scientists, that noted that ancient Egyptians bore a striking resemblance to modern-day Africans. But more important, he argued that racial descriptors were not mentioned in the Bible because, at that historical moment, race did not exist. It was, as we now say, a social construct, something better understood as a product of history rather than of science.
The article strongly implies that Douglass was right, and the pseudoscientific slavery apologists of his day were wrong.

But he was not right. See the Wikipedia articles on DNA history of Egypt and Ancient Egyptian race controversy. The ancient Egyptians might be classified as MENA today, and more caucasian than today's Egyptians, according to DNA tests. They were not negroes.

Wikipedia does discount these findings by saying:
Since the second half of the 20th century, most anthropologists have rejected the notion of race as having any validity in the study of human biology.
This is like saying ornithologists (bird scientists) refuse to accept the division of birds into species. So what would they be studying, if they won't classify birds into groups?


MikeAdamson said...

"This is like saying ornithologists (bird scientists) refuse to accept the division of birds into species."

No, it's like saying ornithologists don't see much scientific value in classifying birds by colour or race.

Roger said...

Okay, fair analogy.