IF IT WAS GREAT, IT MUST HAVE BEEN WHITE by Max Dashu

A 19th century French engraving imagines the conquest of Algeria as a showering of the benefits of superior civilization on abject, genuflecting North Africans.

Continued from:  “Racism History and Lies “

IF IT WAS GREAT, IT MUST HAVE BEEN WHITE: If advanced science, art, or architecture is found in Africa or South America, then Phoenecians, Greeks, Celts, Vikings (or, in the extreme case, space aliens) must be invoked to explain their presence. (Here, whiteness often functions as a relative concept, as “lighter than.”) This bias gives rise to a pronounced tendency to date American or African cultures later than warranted, and as a result dating for these regions is constantly having to be revised further back into the past as evidence of greater antiquity piles up.

Corollary: IF IT WAS WHITE, IT MUST HAVE BEEN GREAT. Thus, the conqueror Charlemagne was a great man, in spite of his genocidal campaign against the Saxons, but the Asian conquerors Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan were simply evil. Stereotypes of head-hunters picture Africans (in the absence of any evidence for such a practice there) but never Celtic head-hunters in France and Britain — much less Lord Kitchener making off with the Mahdi’s skull in Sudan, or U.S. settlers taking scalps and body parts of Indian people. This doctrine also underlies the common assumption that European conquest must have improved life for subject peoples.

 IF IT WAS NOT WHITE, AND ITS GREATNESS IS UNDENIABLE, THEN IT MUST BE DEPRECATED IN SOME WAY:  Example:The Epic of Man, published in the ’60s by Time/Life Books, says of the advanced civilization of ancient Pakistan: “It is known that a static and sterile quality pervaded Indus society.” It used to be the academic fashion to call ancient Egypt a “moribund” civilization which “stifled creativity.” Similar writings dismissed the “Incas” (Quechua) as “totalitarian,” or the Chinese as “isolated” and “resistant to change,” ignoring their interchange with steppe societies as well as Southeast Asian cultures.

Original post at Suppressed Histories

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