“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Brother Malcolm X (Omawele El Hajj Malik El Shabazz), the Black nationalist freedom fighter and human rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s, said that the oppression of Black people and people of color are due to a world-wide conspiracy of White supremacy. I have spent almost a year preparing to go back to college to finish my masters and PhD graduate studies in history. Because of Malcolm X’s lucid critiques of the world’s movement to dominate and subjugate Black people, and people of color, I want to compete my studies and research on the ideological creation of White supremacy in America and in the world. I will also centered my studies and research on Black people’s reaction to White supremacy in America and in the world to fight against White hegemony. White supremacy is the idea that White people, and their culture, religion, language, philosophy, mores, norms,values, names, economic systems, and history; are inherently superior to all Black people and all people of color. This concept of White supremacy develops as White people began to establish capitalism, exploit cheap labor in Afrika, and acquire indigenous people’s land in the Western Hemisphere of the world. Consequently, the system of racism, a falsified concept of Whiteness, colorism, Europeanization of the Black mind, destabilization of Afrikan countries, the capitalist exploitation of Afrika and Black people, mass incarceration, the oppression of people of color, biological warfare, the neutralization of Black leaders, the disaccreditation of Black nationalism, and Black self- hatred have its foundations rooted in White supremacy. The philosophy of White supremacy was used to justify the European Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the holocaust of the enslavement of Black people (Maafa), the Arab Slave Trade, European colonialism in Afrika, US Cointelpro (the United States Counter intelligence program), racial violence toward Black people, police violence in the Black community, institutional racism, apartheid, the sexual exploitation of Black Women, the emasculation of Blackmen, the creation of the n-word, White cultural domination of Black people, and segregation. Over the centuries, White supremacy has targeted Black people, and Afrika, to point of creating the conditions for us to be the victims of social and economic disparities for generations. The authors of White supremacy come from from all walks of life in Europe and America, particularly from professional fields, such as intellectuals, political leaders, judges, lawyers, scientists, Professors, educators, historians, theologians, and philosophers.
Let me give you some example of Whites supremacist books and authors I have collected in my research.
One of the White intellectuals that contributed to the ideology of White supremacy is named Dr. George Botsford. He was a Oxford trained Professor at Columbia University. He wrote a book called-A History of the Ancient World. His book was published in 1914 by the McMillan Publishing Company. By the way, the McMillan Publishing Company is still in existence today. The McMillan Publishing Company has produced millions of books used in public schools across the United States of America for the decades.
Dr. Botsford writes, “From the point of view of color three groups may be distinguished. The FIRST is the Black or Negro race of Central and Southern Africa. THEY ARE THE LOWEST IN INTELLIGENCE, AND HAVE CONTRIBUTED PRACTICALLY NOTHING TO THE PROGRESS OF THE WORLD. THE SECOND IS THE YELLOW OR MONGOLIAN RACE OF ASIA. THEY INCLUDE THE CHINESE AND JAPANESE, WHO HAVE LONG BEEN CIVILIZED, AND THE NOMADS, OR WANDERING PEOPLE, OF CENTRAL ASIA. SOME EUROPEANS, AS THE TURKS, HUNGARIANS, AND FINNS, BELONG TO THE SAME RACE. THE AMERICAN INDIANS ARE GROUPED WITH THEM BY SOME SCHOLARS; BY OTHERS THEY ARE REGARDED AS A DISTINCT RACE. THE THIRD AND HISTORICALLY MOST IMPORTANT GROUP IS THE WHITE OR CAUCASIAN RACE. TO THE WHITE RACE ARE DUE PRACTICALLY ALL IMPROVEMENTS OF THE PAST SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS. THE WHITE RACE IS TERMED CAUCASIAN BECAUSE SCHOLARS ONCE BELIEVED THAT ITS HIGHEST PHYSICAL PERFECTION COULD BE FOUND AMONG THE MOUNTAINEERS OF CAUCAS. THEY COMPRISED OF THE EGYPTIANS AND LIBYANS. THEY WERE THE CREATORS OF THE FIRST CIVILIZATION.”
However, on the same page of his book, he argues that Kemet (Egypt) was once the greatest and the most important civilization in the world. But he only sees Kemet primarily and totally as a White civilization. He does not accept the fact that Kemet was a Black autochthonous civilization in Afrika. Dr. Botsford writes, “so far as our knowledge goes the Egyptians were the first civilized people. They invented a system of writing as early as the fifth millennium (5000-4000 BC). We may say then, that the history of the world begins at this time.”
Unfortunately, America’s premier Egyptologist James Breasted in 1944 would continue a White supremacist argument that that Kemetic (Egyptian) people, and the inhabitants of the Nile Valley, were White people, not Black people. He writes in his book called, Ancient Times, on page 12, that they “were dark-skinned, but nevertheless physically they belong to the great White race.”
Years later, during the movements for Black liberation around the world, White supremacists were still fighting to maintain White hegemony on the earth. In 1965, Oxford University history professor and scholar, Hugh Trevor- Roper, wrote in his book, The Rise of Christian Europe in page 9, “undergraduates demand that they should be taught the history of black Africa. Perhaps in the future, there will prove to be some African history to teach. But, at present there is none, or very little; there is only the history of Europeans in Africa.”
But before Dr. George Botsford and James Breasted entered the picture to discredit the Black origins of Kemet and Nile Valley civilizations, White supremacists were already working to remove Black people from the annals of history, particularly Afrikan History. In their book, Types of Mankind: Ethnological Research, social scientists J. C Nott and George R. Giddon present a White supremacist argument that Kemet and the Nile Valley were products of White people. In 1971 on page 77, they write, “both in Egypt and in Nubia, was originally populated by a branch of the Caucasian race.”
Some of my research has brought me to some of the world’s most famous leaders and thinkers of European descent. Unfortunately, they helped to create White supremacist ideology that will work to prevent the world from seeing and treating Black people as human beings.
For instance, during his famous debates with incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas for the US Senator seat in Illinois. Candidate Abraham Lincoln, by 1860 he will become the sixteenth US President, explained to the crowd: “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
Legally, Black people had no protections of constitutional freedoms or rights in the courts of America. Roger B. Taney, a Chief Justice in the US Supreme Court ruled on the famous Dred Scott case of March 1857, saying “They [Black people] had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the White race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics.” Since Dred Scott was taken to two freed states (e.g. Wisconsin and Illinois), he sued for his freedom in the US Supreme Court. Unfortunately, he lost his case. The US Supreme Court ruled against him. Powerful White people on the benches of the US Supreme Court did see Black people as human beings. The case was dismissed and Dred Scott was returned to enslavement. Later in that same year, Scott’s previous owners bought him and set him free.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the founding fathers of America and US democracy, wrote that “all men are created equal,” and yet enslaved more than six-hundred Black people over the course of his life. Although he made some legislative attempts against American slavery, and at times bemoaned its existence. He also profited greatly and directly from the institution of slavery. In fact, he helped to write the language of the US constitution that protected slavery until 1865. Reading his writings, Thomas Jefferson did not view Black people as equals. He wrote that Black people are inferior to white people in his book called-Notes on the State of Virginia. He writes, “Comparing them [Black people] by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid: and that in imagination they [Black people] are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.”
George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), German European philosopher and political theorist, wrote in his book called, Philosophy of History, “Africans have no conception of God or of a higher level of consciousness other than mere flesh.”
Reverend Buchner H. Payne, an American theologian, said in the 1867, “God is light, and in him was no darkness at all…. And if God could not be the father of the Blacks, because he was White, how could our Savior, being the express image of God’s person….carry such a demand of color into heaven, where all are White, much less to the throne.” As quoted by John G. Jackson in his book called-Ages of Gold and Silver page 218.
Reverend Dr. Henri Junod, a Swiss Protestant missionary, wrote in 1931 that Black people, “are an inferior race, a race made to serve.” As quoted by J.C. DeGraft-Johnson, in his book called-African Glory page 51-52.
Arnold Toynbee, Oxford trained historian, wrote in his book, A Study of History in 1947, “the Black races alone have not contributed positively to any civilization.”
Cecil Rhodes, British imperialist, creator of the Rhodes Scholarship, and founder of the De Beers diamond company, believed that Black people were inferior to White people. His White supremacist movements led to the colonization of South Afrika by Europeans. Whites took the lands and resources of Black people. Europeans began renaming parts of Southern Afrika Rhodesia. But Black people fought back European hegemony in Afrika. Black liberation movements rose up on the continent to free Black people from European colonialism. When Black people came to political power, they began renaming Rhodesia to Zimbabwe and Zambia. But before the liberation of Southern Afrika, Cecil Rhodes was the dominating force in that area of the world. He once said, “the native [Black people] is to be treated as a child and denied franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism, such as works in India, in our relations with the barbarism of South Africa.” (Magubane Bernard M. The Making of a Racist State: British Imperialism and the Union of South Africa, 1875–1910. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press.)
Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. He served in the White House from 1913 to 1921. But before becoming the President of the United States, he was once the 34th Governor of New Jersey and the former President of Princeton University. President Wilson was a politician, lawyer, and an academic. He once said, “[Reconstruction government was detested] not because the Republican Party was dreaded but because the dominance of an ignorant and inferior race was justly dreaded.”
I must stop there folks. Unfortunately, there is more on the history of White supremacy. I plan to write and lecture extensively about this subject.
However, I must state as a side bar note, there are many White intellectuals and scientists that presented the real facts on Black people, Afrikan History, Afrikan culture, and Afrikan spirituality, European History, world history, and American History. White scholars such as Herodotus, JeanFrancois Champollion, Basil Davidson, Count C.F. Volney, Charles Darwin, Dr. Louis S. B. Leaky, Dr. Donald Johanson, E. A. Wallis-Budge, Gerald Massey, and Leo Frobenius, to name a few. Unfortunately, their works are not presented in the main stream.
For example, Count C.F. Volney went to Kemet (Egypt) with Napoleon Bonaparte’s team of European scholarly professionals in 1798. At this this time Napoleon was the Empire of France, but he had an interest in the ancient world. They discovered that Kemet was a great Black civilization in Afrika and that she influenced the world. Volney writes in his book, Voyages on Syrie Et En Egypt on pages 74-77, “all have a bloated face, puffed up eyes, flat nose, thick lips; in word, the true face of the mulatto. I was tempted to attributed it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remember the remarkable passages where Herodotus says: “as for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are Black with wooly hair……” In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans. That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Romans and Greeks must have lost the intensity of its original colour, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mould. We can even state as a general principle that the face is a kind monument able, in many cases, to attest or shed light on historical evidence on the origins of peoples…..But returning to Egypt, the lesson she teaches history contains many reflections for philosophy. What a subject for meditation, to see the present barbarism and ignorance of the Copts, descendants of the alliance between the profound genius of the Egyptians and the brilliant minds of Greeks! Just think that the race of Black men, today our slaves and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, and even the use of speech. Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of peoples who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery and questions whether Blackmen have the same kind of intelligence as Whites!”
But in conclusion, White supremacy did not come out of osmosis. White supremacist ideology was create by “credible” White intellectuals and leaders. White supremacy laid the foundation for today’s system of racism, a falsified concept of Whiteness, colorism, the Europeanization of the Black mind, the destabilization of Afrikan countries, the neutralization of Afrikan centered Black leaders, the capitalist exploitation of Afrika and Black people, mass incarceration, the oppression of people of color, biological warfare the disaccreditation of Black nationalism, and Black self-hatred in entire countries, in human beings, in Universities, in Colleges, in Egyptologists, in anthropology, in public schools, in private schools, in theology, in philosophy, in history, in literature, in western religions, in politics, in the Democratic Party, in the Republican Party, in slavery, in US reconstruction, in segregation, in government, in medicine, in European colonialism, and in science. White supremacy has created social and economic disparities within the Black community, and within the world Afrikan community, for generations past and present. This is why in Afrikan History, Black people began to justifiable fight back through Afrikan centric scholarship, Afrikan centered organizations (i.e. the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Moorish Science Temples of America, the Nation of Islam, the Organization of Afrikan Unity, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the Us Organization, the Original Black Panther Party, the Republic of New Afrika, Congress of Afrikan People, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, the New Black Panther Party, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, Black Lives Matter, etc) Pan-Afrikanism, Black nationalism, Civil Rights, and Black Power. White supremacy is why we as Black people are still locked into a struggle for freedom, justice, equality, reparations, and a Black agenda in America and in the world.
-Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a History Teacher, Black Studies Teacher, Community Actvist, Chairperson of Weequahic High School’s Black History Month Committee in Newark, NJ, commentary writer, and Co-Producer and Co-Host of the All Politics Are Local, the number #1 political Hip Hip radio show in America.
Note: Spelling Afrika with a k is not a typo. Using the k in Afrika is the Kiswahili way of writing Africa. Kiswahili is a Pan -Afrikan language. It is spoken in many countries in Afrika. Kiswahili is the language used in Kwanzaa. The holiday of Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January