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Africa, As It Really Was

3,221 words

According to The Narrative, sub-Saharan Africa once was a thriving, peace-loving, technological society. Then, Western imperialists stole all their scientific achievements (meanwhile apparently casting a magic spell to make the Africans forget their high technology, as well as making the archeological evidence of it vanish into thin air). For their next act, they introduced slavery for the first time in human history, and soon were running through the jungle with butterfly nets to round up natives. Alas is Wakanda!

Moreover, inherited guilt and collective guilt are valid concepts. (After all, you totally can go to prison if some distant family member is suspected of pulling off a stagecoach heist in the 1850s.) Consequentially, all blacks are owed unlimited freebies forever [1].

Don’t laugh! That nonsense is pretty similar to what Afrocentric so-called historians are saying, and with a straight face. If this is what you were taught in school, my condolences. Curiously, this Narrative is more anti-white than it is pro-black. On the other hand, it suggests that only whites are capable of shaping the world’s destiny. Looking at it in a certain way, by so doing, they praise us quite immodestly.

The other side of the story

The February 1909 edition [2] of Watson’s Jeffersonian Magazine includes a long opening editorial depicting many less-than-flattering characteristics of native Africans. It was published by an American politician back when most of them were proudly pro-white. (If he were around today, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have endorsed the catch-and-release strategy [3] for dealing with rioters.) Much unlike today’s PC nonsense, here you’ll find a contrarian viewpoint about tribal Africans, informed by accounts from explorers who’d visited the place, without the considerable (ahem) whitewashing job done by politically correct “historians” lately. I’ll recap some of the highlights.

It begins as a rebuttal of a surprisingly early bit of Afrocentrism in the New York Evening Journal:

The Hearst paper, referring to the thick lip of the negro, declares that “those lips appear upon every Sphinx in Egypt”; and that “the ancestors of the negro were laying the foundations of our religion and were mapping the stars” at a time when our ancestors were “gibbering savages, living in caves, sharpening bones and eating raw meat.”

I can hear it already — “We wuz kangs!”

Much follows about what ancient Europeans were like in the state of nature, heavily recapping Tacitus, one of the earliest extensive accounts. I’ll add that although the Romans and Germanic tribes frequently were at war, the portrayal informed by reports of travelers is mainly positive. As it happens, Arminius wasn’t exactly a caveman hopping around while grunting “Ook, ook!” Then the editorial gets into Egyptian iconography, particularly how they depicted their own people (to a large degree, kindred to the Semites) as opposed to their much darker neighbors to the south. The Cushites (Nilotic Africans) generally were depicted with prominently puckered lips. Some other groups in East Africa had heavy Arab admixture.

Then the political incorrectness really goes off the charts when the further distant Bantu peoples are described. (Lately, the Somalis are starting to make the Bantus look a whole lot better.) After a century of political correctness, simply repeating what explorers found in Deepest Darkest Africa is thoughtcrime, just as honestly describing lots of other aspects of history constitutes hatefacts. Well, what about all the advanced science no doubt hatched in laboratories dotting the Congo?

To the negro in his native land, the grand march of the world’s intellect was a thing unfelt, unknown, unsuspected. Into no written sign did he ever put a thought, a sentiment, a discovery, a message. Into his savage life, no mental bugle-blast sounded. Against the bars of human limitations, the soul of the native negro never beat. If he ever had an aspiration which soared higher than the conquering of some neighboring tribe, the possession of more cows, and a plentiful supply of wives, the world does not know it.

Ouch!

Nature gave him a noble heritage in minerals, in timber, in waterpower, in precious metals — but he never showed the slightest sign of appreciation. From highest to lowest, the negro lived for the day, to gratify the appetites of the day, to revel in the lusts of the day.

For the past, he cared nothing for the future, nothing. His life was bounded by the Present tense. He had no ideals that called for labor and for sacrifice, to the end that the world might be made better.

Was the writer being a little harsh with this conclusion? Looking at some other aspects of Africans in their natural condition might be informative.

Two notable kangz 

Then it discusses Shaka Zulu, the Stalin of Bulawayo. There’s been plenty of thuggery everywhere in world history since Day One, of course. Still, I have to wonder how folks like him and Genghis Khan could accumulate such a sky-high body count with only swords, spears, and arrows — no WMDs or other modern armaments, not even so much as gunpowder. I suppose the answer is one corpse at a time.

Their greatest King was Chaka — a monster of ferocity and sexuality who reminds one of the brutes who ruled and ravaged Haiti [4] after the downfall of the French regime. Chaka was just a human beast, of tremendous force, whose soul seemed possessed of the devils of war, rapine, slaughter and lust. His bloody career cost the lives of probably a million human beings, of his own race: and if he was moved by anything but the passion for killing, destroying and extending the realm ill which he was feared, it is not discoverable. He founded no institutions, spoke of none, and made no efforts to lift from his country its pall of barbarism.

Others have estimated up to two million deaths after the Zulu invasion from the north, including vast numbers of native Khoisan peoples. Although The Narrative hasn’t completely buried the story about Shaka Zulu pulling a Rwanda, it’s not emphasized too much. (Wait a minute — whatever happened to black lives mattering? Perhaps “Never again the Mfecane [5]!” just isn’t catchy enough.) On the other hand, most of what is said lately about the region’s history is about how bad apartheid was under the evil British and Afrikaners, and how everyone lived happily ever after [6] when that cuddly teddy bear Nelson Mandela [7] took over.

When Chaka’s mother died (poisoned by him, it was said), he elaborately conducted a funeral in which seven thousand of the mourners slew each other in their frenzy. In the grave, Chaka put ten young women and these were buried alive, along with the corpse of the King’s mother.

Did I mention that black-on-black violence was a problem back in the day?

The jealous tyrant could not bear the thought of death for himself, and the idea of having an heir was repugnant. Therefore, whenever one of his numerous wives gave evidence of being with child, Chaka put her to death. (And this was a Nineteenth Century King!)

Turkish sultans, more sensibly, would leave one son alive to be the successor.

Another negro King, M’tesa, who reigned in the 19th century, amazed even the English by his atrocities. For any trifle that displeased him, his subjects were killed. Like Chaka, he was a monster of lust, and a succession of fresh wives was a royal necessity. To escape the encumbrance of too large a harem, it was M’tesa’s practice to have an old wife slaughtered every time a fresh one was introduced.

An English traveller tells of being present when four of the wives of M’tesa offered him their four young sisters. He accepted the four, married them by the simple ceremony of sitting in their laps, hugging them, and rubbing his neck against theirs. This being done, he picked out four wives that he was tired of and ordered them to instant execution. This was in the year 1861.

Ivan the Terrible’s reputation starts improving when compared to King Mutesa I of Buganda. I’ll have to say that Uganda has its moments sometimes, but this wasn’t one of them. At least Idi Amin was a better ruler, kinda sorta.

In the last of the exploring expeditions, — those of Grant, Speke, Baker and Stanley — we find the same frightful conditions which were revealed to the Ambassides, thirteen hundred years ago, when that division of the Arab race crossed the deserts, to escape the Ommiades of the Barbary States. And the conditions, as found by the Ambassides in the seventh century, were precisely the same that existed before Christ.

If all the above was a “Eurocentric” opinion, apparently the Abbasid Arabs were reporting pretty much the same things since early on; and little changed over the centuries.

Jungle Booty

Apparently family values weren’t a big priority back then.

At the time of the latest Stanley exploration, husbands would sell their wives, and fathers, their daughters. For a few needles, or an elephant’s tooth, or a few cows, the belle of the tribe could be bought, by any white man, or any colored man.

After some more of this, it discusses a French expedition that revealed some fairly sordid details. Regrettably, the explorers disgraced themselves, but it was hardly a scandal to the natives.

The young white men of one of the French expeditions pleased one of the negro chiefs very much by frankly admiring his numerous wives. After these white men and these negro women had almost publicly broken a certain Commandment, the Chief and husband openly expressed his gratification! He took the white men’s act as a tribute to his good taste in the selection of his wives.

My sword-swinging heathen ancestors wouldn’t have cottoned to that [8]. What was the matter with those French guys, though? Visiting the jungle is no excuse for jungle fever. In another episode, Sir Samuel Baker’s expedition brought some musicians with them, but they found themselves frequently surrounded by an open-air strip club.

Whenever this band would start up their music, troops of negro women, stark naked, would surround them, dancing in ecstasy, and with no sense of feminine shame.

So maybe that’s just what their culture was, but in Victorian times, that seemed a little much. I’m tempted to write some rap lyrics to commemorate this, peppered with the word “booty,” but the inspiration just isn’t flowing. Besides, others have done far better than I could [9] even on a good day. In any case, this passage ends sourly with the following:

Different from the white race in physical and mental structure, the negro differs even more radically in the matter of morals. The typical negro has no conception of chastity, — none whatever. The men do not have it, and the women are without it. Of principles, of virtue, they are wholly devoid. They think no more of the congress of the sexes than they do of the breeding of the beasts. To yield to a natural appetite of that kind is, to them, no more of a vice than to eat when hungry and to drink when dry. (See appendix A.)

This lack of the sense of personal morality is one of the chief characteristics of the negro now! A HIDEOUS, OMINOUS, NATIONAL MENACE!

Don’t hold back; say it like you really mean it!

But wait! There’s more!

You can buy It’s Okay to Be White: The Best of Greg Johnson here. [10]

After that, it gets into more ooga-booga stuff. This includes cannibalism, lack of native religion advanced beyond “evil spirits, malignant demons, haunts, sorcery, and devils little and big,” despotism, and human sacrifice.

No wonder that Darwin and Haeckel pronounce this the lowest of races, different radically in body, brain and spirit from the Caucasian, inferior to it, and “incapable of a true inner culture and of a higher mental development, even under the favorable conditions in the United States of North America. No woolly-haired nation has ever “had an important history.”

This was, of course, before Franz Boas and his followers [11] politicized anthropology, ultimately making race denialism part of The Narrative. After that, the essay speaks dismissively of egalitarianism. Maintaining racial purity is a necessity.

As was forcefully said by the Right Honorable James Bryce (more to be honored because of his books than because he is Ambassador of Great Britain to the United States) this question of a hybrid race concerns the whole of mankind. Says Mr. Bryce:

“The matter ought to be regarded from the side neither of the white nor of the black, but of the future of mankind at large. Now for the future of mankind nothing is more vital than that some races should be maintained at the highest level of efficiency, because the work they can do for thought and art and letters, for scientific discovery, and for raising the standard of conduct, WILL DETERMINE THE GENERAL PROGRESS OF HUMANITY. If therefore we were to suppose the blood of the races which are now most advanced to be diluted, so to speak, by that of the most backward, not only would more be lost to the former than would be gained to the latter, but there would be a loss, POSSIBLY AN IRREPARABLE LOSS, TO THE WORLD AT LARGE.”

Whew! After Enoch Powell [12] left the scene, British statesmen just haven’t been the same.

Then the author states that old archeological finds in Africa aren’t proof that Negroes built them. He doesn’t name specifics, but this would include Arab, Jewish, and Berber settlements and outposts in the past. The famous ruins of Great Zimbabwe are a prime example. Although Afrocentrists point to this ancient fortification as proof of a thriving past, the truth is a bit different. It actually was a distant Jewish colony. Their descendants heavily mixed with the locals, living on as the Lemba tribe. For some reason, they’re not building stone baileys with Middle Eastern architecture these days, much less anything that looks like Tel Aviv. Sad to say, there’s not even a decent delicatessen to be found — oy vey! It’s rather fitting that after the Bush War in Rhodesia [13] ended with the Communist thug Robert Mugabe winning the last fair election, the country now is named after dilapidated ruins.

Leave the negro to himself, and cycles sweep by, empires rise and fall, races appear and disappear, — the negro undergoing no change, making no advance, and dreaming of none. Incapable of creative thought, cherishing no ideals, having no morals and no principles, having no hope of heaven and no fear of hell, he remains, century after century, the neighbor of the gorilla and the chimpanzee, making no more effort at civilization than they make.

Ouch once again! He goes on to say that Orientals, Indians, and Arabs progressed and made something of themselves, but Africans remain backward.

Will Liberia never teach the negro-petters anything? Will Haiti never be classed with the “Horrible Examples?”

They’ve been called shithole countries [14] lately, not to put too fine a point on it. After that, the author mentions that syphilis was rampant and frequently spread to race mixers (though the VD problem wasn’t as bad as after Africans started the AIDS epidemic), cocaine was popular and especially with black preachers (at least they didn’t have crack yet), and other social ills.

The author begins a tirade about egalitarianism. After that:

The well-meaning but mistaken negro-petter who bemoans the condition of the negro, and laments the fact that he was brought away from Africa and put into slavery, is a most absurd creature. His talk is idiotic twaddle.

Had not the African kings sold off the surplus of their subjects, the negroes who were brought to Europe and America might have been cooked and eaten by hungry friends, offered up as a sacrifice to placate offended “spirits,” killed in battle by neighboring savages, or buried alive to keep company in the grave with some member of a royal family, or starved miserably in some season of famine.

Much more of the same follows, including lots of effrontery by blacks and coddling by whites. Here’s a representative sample:

Had he been left in his home in Africa, the negro of this land of the free and the freaks would never have known the delicious flavor of federal pap, philanthropic donations, Carnegie dinners. White House receptions and Presidential luncheons: never would have known how good it felt to send a white girl to prison because of her refusal to wait on him in a restaurant, or to see his children educated at the expense of white men whose own children are in the cotton field and the cotton mill, or to read an editorial in a Hearst newspaper reminding him that his ancestors laid the foundations of modern civilization at a time when ours were “gibbering savages.”

All this was written during the time considered to be the nadir of race relations. Well, now you’ve heard the other side of the story. Gibsmedats, virtue signaling, lawfare, the media’s near-worshipful fabrications, and all the rest of it were all present a century ago; the difference between then and now regarding these is just a matter of degree. The rant continues, then wrapping up with the following:

A final word and I am done: the natural repugnance of our race to equality of social relations with the negroes is THE INSTINCT OF RACIAL SELF-PRESERVATION. It is God-given, and its purpose is the high and holy one of keeping pure the blood of our superior race. To do this is best for us, best for the negro, best for our country, BEST FOR MANKIND.

What an epic tirade! Two appendices follow, anecdotes doing a deep dive on some of the ooga-booga stuff.

The present significance

Sure, the author had his biases. Maybe he isn’t giving voodoo enough credit as a valid pagan tradition. Perhaps he missed some of the better aspects of their culture. One might even argue that Bantu tribes had the best “long pork” recipes until Hannibal Lecter’s fava beans and chianti. Still, I have some news for the Afrocentrists — they’re biased too. They’ll dismiss every unflattering detail in accounts by explorers, missionaries, traders, and so forth — whether by Europeans or Arabs. This means they claim to know more about conditions on the Dark Continent than people who actually were there and described what they found. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide which was closer to the truth.

The point of recapping this isn’t about picking on 19th century Africans who apparently were a little slow to take up the torch of civilization. Instead, some obvious questions come to mind. Were blacks in America really that bad off during the “Jim Crow” era, particularly compared to conditions in their native homeland? Was segregation about oppression, or was it a sensible containment measure to prevent violence as best as possible short of returning them to their ancestral homeland? For that matter, what the hell are those ingrates complaining about now?

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