Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2003
by Cheikh Anta Diop
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A racial classification is given to a group of individuals who share a certain number of anthropological traits, which is necessary so that they not be confused with others. There are two aspects which must be distinguished, the phenotypical and genotypical. I have frequently elaborated on these two aspects.
If we speak only of the genotype, I can find a black who, at the level of his chromosomes, is closer to a Swede than Peter Botha is. But what counts in reality is the phenotype. It is the physical appearance which counts. This black, even if on the level of his cells he is closer than Peter Botha, when he is in South Africa he will live in Soweto. Throughout history, it has always been the phenotype which has been at issue; we mustn't lose sight of this fact. The phenotype is a reality, physical appearance is a reality.
Now, every time these relationships are not favorable to the Western cultures, an effort is made to undermine the cultural consciousness of Africans by telling them, `We don't even know what a race is.' What that means is, they do know what a yellow man is, they do know what a white man is. Despite the fact that the white race and the yellow race are derivatives of the black which, itself, was the first to exist as a human race, now we do not want know what it is. If Africans fall into that trap, they'll be going around in circles. They must understand the trap, understand the stakes.
It is the phenotype which as given us so much difficulty throughout history, so it is this which must be considered in these relations. It exists, is a reality and cannot be repudiated.
African Origin of Civilization by Cheikh Anta Diop
Civilization or Barbarism by Cheikh Anta Diop
This is a serious point worth developing.
There are light skinned people who are also Africans but they do not admit that they benefit from white privileges, however, when it is not given to them they usually demand it.
Anyone can claim to be African (genetically, culturally or spiritually) but if they are not dark-skinned Black, then they do not really experience the depths of racism and the heights of their ability to discern.
One can read, get some understanding and associate with Africans but still never experience the depths of racism as it affects dark-skinned Blacks. As a dark-skinned Black man, I had to see that it was not dark-skinned Black men who experience the worst forms of racism, but it is dark-skinned Black women who it affects the most. When a dark-skinned Black woman is armed with her history she gets a whole different view on life based on real day-to-day experiences. I developed a very close association with a really informed dark-skinned Black woman and I saw that the real receptors of racism were informed dark-skinned Black women more so than the men. (There are other levels to this reasoning which I don't mind expanding on later)
Uninformed Black people do not challenge the white supremist status quo; they are simply slaves and digits in the system although they suffer greatly. The system tries to put pressure on informed Black men, but the most pressures are placed on informed dark-skinned Black African women who live in the west.
In my view all courtesies and support should first go to those most affected by the Racist system. We should not only deal with being African in a general context as this often takes precedence over dark-skinned Black Africans who are affected the most in the system.
This entire corrupt world revolves around white privilege, which plays down through the many shades of skin tones to mostly affect dark-skinned Blacks on the 'bottom'.
I will not associate with anyone of a lighter shade who tries to deface, devalue or slander, the works of a dark-skinned Black person and especially dark-skinned Black Women who in the face of all obstacles walk that fine line of truth and integrity.
All others who think they know what racism is should really get a view from the most informed dark-skinned Black woman they can find, as the truths that pour from that perspective shows the shallowness of many that play down the importance of understanding white privilege and racism.
Everyone can make the claim to being African today especially because it is an indisputable fact that we all share a common African heritage, but it is dark-skinned Black Africans who have to deal with the worst effects of racism on a day-to-day basis even if many are ignorant of this fact.
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