Talk:Ancient Egyptian race controversy

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6-lines-of-evidence-proving-that-the-ancient-egyptians-were-black-africans debunked[edit]

"6 lines of evidence proving that the Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans", these 6 bogus claims are what most Afrocentrist and black supremacist loons spam across the web, such as at Egyptsearch.

Let me deal with them briefly, also see main page (I'll probably add a section later)-

1. Craniofacial analysis of Ancient Egyptian skulls groups them with modern East African populations such as the Somali.

No study actually clusters ancient Egyptians with Somalis. Rather, Upper Egyptians plot closet in multivariate craniometric space to (ancient, modern) Nubians, and Somalis which is not surprising because they are geographical neighbors. Lower Egyptians however plot closest to (ancient, modern) Maghreb and circum-Mediterranean populations, again, simple geography. If you look though at Egypt overall, without breaking Egypt into Lower and Upper Egypt: Egyptians appear equidistant and intermediate between tropical African populations to their south e.g. Nubians, Somalis, and circum-Mediterranean populations to their north, e.g. Levantines, Maghreb, and southern Europeans (Froment, 1992, 1994).

2. Skeletal analysis of the Ancient Egyptian limb proportions reveal that they have tropical body plans indicating an evolutionary adaptation to a tropical environment of Ancient Egyptian ancestors.

Following the craniometric data, the limb metrics shows the same intermediate clinal/gradient pattern, with Egyptians overall plotting between tropical Africans and southern Europeans. The idea the ancient Egyptians were 'tropically adapted' makes little sense given the vast majority of Egypt is outside of the tropics by latitude. What the limb metric data actually shows is only Upper Egyptians have tropically adapted limbs (not surprising since a small portion of Upper Egypt is in the tropics), most similar to Nubians, and other tropical African populations; Lower Egyptians are not tropically adapted and are closer to southern Europeans (Raxter, 2011).

3. DNA studies reveal that Ancient Egyptian remains have African genetic lineages.

There have been very few (if any) DNA studies on ancient Egyptian remains, because of poor preservation. Note this person doesn't reference any sources for this claim.

4. Histological analysis of Ancient Egyptian skin indicates that the Ancient Egyptians were dark-skinned people.

No one denies the Egyptians were dark skinned. However (with the possible exclusion of Upper Egyptians) they were not "black" i.e. dark brown. There was a skin color cline in ancient Egypt - as it observable today. Lower Egyptians are mostly a light brown shade, which while dark, is not dark brown/black.

5. Ancient Egyptians artwork depicts them as brown-skinned with Afros and African style braids. Ethnographic murals show Ancient Egyptians to be much darker than light-skinned neighbors from Libya and Palestine (only jet-black Nubians are darker).

Most artwork shows the Egyptians to be curly - wavy haired, not woolly or spiraled. Artwork also indeed contrasts Egyptians to their southern neighbours who were actually dark brown/black. So the Egyptians were not "black" in complexion, but lighter brown skin shades.

6. The Ancient Egyptian language has an Afroasiatic origin. Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken in the Horn of Africa region and disseminated before the formation of the Ancient Egyptian state. The architects of Ancient Egyptian civilization must have come from the South. This is supported by archeological evidence.

Like Proto-Indo-European, the homeland of Proto-Afroasiatic is still disputed.Krom (talk) 13:42, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

The cases for alternative Indo-European homelands rest on poor arguments, though – the early contacts with (Proto-)Finno-Ugric/Uralic rule out Asian homelands (but also Northern Europe, because Indo-Iranian was never spoken there) and make Eastern Europe the only realistic option, as argued by Jaakko Häkkinen.
Similarly, besides East Africa, the main contender for the Afroasiatic homeland is the Levant, and while the Levant is generally where the immediate Semitic homeland is thought to have been (although Lipinski places the ultimate place of origin in North Africa), only Militarev still seems to support an Afroasiatic homeland in Asia. Everyone else basically accepts Africa, mainly because that's where all branches except Semitic are located.
Of course, even if we accept that the Egyptian language, or an early precursor, was imported from East Africa at some point, that doesn't tell us anything about its speakers – I mean, if the speakers of Proto-Afroasiatic were black Africans, and the speakers of Semitic were not (at least by the Bronze Age), why should the contemporary speakers of Egyptian be? Basically, that argument requires you to claim that both Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Semites were black as recently as in Caesar's day, or you've got to abandon the thought of a relationship between Egyptian and Semitic, which renders the whole point obsolete.
That said, I have recently learnt that there is evidence that as recently as the Chalcolithic, Southern Europeans were dark-skinned, making their significantly more fair-skinned modern appearance either a consequence of spontaneous mutation o a result of an influx of and admixture with (Indo-European-speaking) Eastern (and Northern) Europeans. If Chalcolithic Southern Europeans were dark-skinned, one would not expect contemporary Ancient Egyptians to be lighter-skinned, rather darker.
However, that does not necessarily mean that they were as dark-skinned as, say, typical Nigerians, let alone Dinka, nor that they resembled them closely. Maybe they were typically more like light to medium brown, not much darker than the Copts depicted in the article, indeed. Anyway, in Southern India, some parts of South East Asia, New Guinea and Australia, the natives are very dark-skinned too, but regardless of their skin colour do not look like typical black Africans, not even like typical black Americans, so I find it somewhat misleading to call them black and lump them together with Sub-Saharan Africans. Many more traits than skin colour contribute to the phenotype or typical "look" of an ethnic group, just talking about physical traits such as hair structure, face, head shape and build. There are many different regionally dominant phenotypes and subtypes, including in Africa itself. The simplistic reduction to "black vs. white vs. Asian" does not do justice to this huge diversity of phenotypes.
So ultimately, it really depends on what one means by "black". I wouldn't describe Copts as "black" in the sense of "black African", but perhaps Afrocentrists do. They seem to describe the inhabitants of Europe millennia ago as "black", too, even when they had blue eyes (see w:Light skin). Personally, I don't think a category of ethnic classification that's so broad that only a few millennia ago, it encompassed all humans, is particularly helpful. But then, the whole racial classification matter, and the system of oppression based on it, is an invention and preoccupation of modern "white people", Europeans and their descendants abroad; Afrocentrism comes from buying into it and reversing it instead of deconstructing it. There's a difference between acknowledging the constructed category of race, and race-based oppression (which doesn't make people of colour "racist"), and taking it over uncritically (which does, even if not in a "institutional/systemic racism" sense). I don't think it is necessary to perpetuate scientifically naive (folk-taxonomic to pseudoscientific) categories of race to make the point that 1) Ancient Egypt is an African culture and 2) Egyptians are and were not really "white", but people of colour, and Coptic immigrants were and are certainly greeted with racist prejudice by white people in certain parts of the world; saying "But hey, we're not actually black, we're white just like you! We are descendants of Ancient Egyptians, for Ra's sake!" wouldn't help them – it doesn't help other Middle Eastern emigrants either ("We're not 'filthy Arabs', we're not even Muslim! Or are you saying that our glorious Phoenician/Assyrian/Sumerian/Persian forebears were not white?!"), because the definition of "white" is just as arbitrary and dictated by political convenience in practice as that of "black" (the same was true for "Aryan" in Nazi Germany, as the "Honorary Aryan" phenomenon shows, and Neo-Nazis are not much more consistent). -- (talk) 02:52, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
By the way, if the "tropical" traits found in Ancient Egyptians are simply retentions from the last common ancestors of all humans, which is a very real possibility, these traits prove exactly nothing. That's also why the "negroid" traits of Papuans such as their hair structure do not prove any particular relationship to Africa – they're just as Eurasian as white Europeans or Chinese, they just retain ancestral traits (such as dark skin or woolly hair) that all Eurasians used to have. Ancient DNA evidence has certainly delivered surprises, shaken up things and shown how untenable simplistic traditional ideas of human races and their histories are.
Fun fact, if you look around on the web, you'll find talk of evidence that Cleopatra – who was of Hellenic and probably not even partly native Egyptian descent – was not only "white" but even blond. Not completely implausible in view of the above-mentioned – apparently there were fair Indo-European-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe who encountered relatively dark-skinned natives (such as the Minoans) in the Mediterranean basin and colonised the area, so you'd expect the upper/ruling classes of the ancient Mediterranean to partly look fair, and ancient descriptions support that. -- (talk) 03:09, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi BoN, what exactly is the point of your wall of text answer? You only make two enumerated claims, to wit:
"1) Ancient Egypt is an African culture" Huh? What does it mean to be an African culture and which traits of ancient Egypt placed it within this category?
"2) Egyptians are and were not really "white", but people of colour" No one here is arguing that ancient Egyptians were "white"; that's simply not the point of debunking afrocentrist/black supremacy claims about ancient Egyptians being "black". ScepticWombat (talk) 04:32, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Applying "race" selectively.[edit]

While I think the overall write up by this specific page is great as far as covering the Egyptians indigeneity, I'm bothered by the selective use of race. If race isn't a valid indicator for classifying the Egyptians, why does this wiki(and several academics such as Kemp whose writings I typically respect) still use it to classify their southern neighbors? Not all Africans south of the Sahara are dark brown (and for the record I've never seen a use of the word black to only refer to very dark skinned people, I personally am considered black even though I'm lighter skinned than many people from Upper Egypt). If race isn't valid for the Egyptians than it shouldn't be used *at all*. I personally call the AE indigenous Africans who fell into the range of variation for indigenous African peoples, that pretty much covers what the consensus of the field while avoiding all the baggage associated with racial terms. I don't care if this wiki labels me an Afrocentrist or Black Supermacist, either use the labels consistently or not at all. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 18:57, 4 March 2016‎

The ancient Egyptians only closely resemble northern African populations in morphometric cranial studies. So its a fallacy to extend this to the whole African continent. To point out the obvious, AE's did not closely resemble the San people from South Africa. Those people who want to cluster all Africans together are politically motivated pan-Africanists/Afrocentrists, which has no basis in biology.OldSword (talk) 01:09, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

Not bad but there are some slight oversights[edit]

This is a pretty good, well-researched article. But there is one MAJOR oversight here that I think needs to be addressed. For all its well-argued points, this article fails to account for the fact that WE WAZ KANGZ N'SHIEET NIGGAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Funny enough, brown men in the Middle East were the first to establish anything less anarchic than the state of nature. Non-MidEasters are clearly just copycats -- especially those laggard whites, waiting 'til 500BC to get anything like Egypt or the Indus or China. Mʀ. Wʜɪsᴋᴇʀs, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 03:17, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

new ancient DNA, article inaccurate in places[edit]

Ancient DNA shows 1st millennium BC Egyptians show closest genetic similarity to Neolithic/Bronze Age and modern Levant populations. Dr. Witt (talk) 18:08, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

Interesting article that suggests further studies could give more information, but note the caveat: "all our genetic data were obtained from a single site in Middle Egypt and may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt". --Gospatric (talk) 12:04, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

A whole page on ancient egyptian race controversy...[edit]

...and no mention of cleopatra. i am impressed AMassiveGay (talk) 12:47, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

Evidence If the ancient Egyptians were not black then, what do make on DNA Tribes and DNA Consultants results on the 18th dynasty mummies? DNA Tribes: (Rameses iii DNA samples): DNA Consultants: Biological anthropologist Dr. SOY keita explaining ancient Egyptians racial makeup: Video 1: Video 2: — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs


Hasn't this viewpoint now been thoroughly validated in light of recent genetic studies? For example: — Unsigned, by: 2604:2d80:e79f:ab00:30a7:8c36:b11:f8a6 / talk / contribs