Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Not Black Enough: Tut, Tut

with 19 comments

A few weeks ago I was watching this show on television where they found a skeleton and the forensic anthropologist did a facial reconstruction.  In examining the skull they were able to tell that it was from a white female and I wondered how they could be so sure that the female was Caucasian and not another race or maybe even bi or multiracial.  In the recreated face they gave the woman blue eyes and light hair, hoping someone would recognize the facial features but acknowledging that these things could be completely different.

Which is probably what a lot of the protesters are thinking as they stand outside of the King Tut exhibit.  Although Tut has been dead for a few thousand years he’s making his second tour of the U.S., this time with a reconstructed bust that looks eerily real.


African American’s aren’t buying it.  They don’t like the way that Egypt is considered an Arab country although it takes up a huge hunk of northeastern Africa.  For a long time African Americans have complained they perceived mostly white historians/anthropologists/ have tried to carve Egypt away from the rest of the continent.  It’s apparent to them that Egypt is an African country and that Egyptians are Africans not Arabs.  So, in following this reasoning, they expect that King Tutankhamun had more color to his skin.

“Whenever our ancient writers, Hebrew or Greek, make any reference to the ancient Egyptians’ color, it’s always black,”  Dr. Charles Finch, Director, International Health at Morehouse School of Medicine  told NPR.  “There was no discussion. There was no debate. It only became a debate in the last 200 years.”

Anthropologist Nina Jablonski sees it differently.  “Our best guess is that he was neither lily white nor ebony black, that he was probably somewhere in between,” she said in the same NPR interview.  “Modern Egyptians are a very heterogeneous group. Some of them have very Arabic features. Others have very African features. This is because the Nile River was a tremendous byway for the movement of people in the past and in the present.”

Some outside of the black community may be wondering what difference does it make that an Egyptian King who barely made it out of his teens and whose only claim to fame is that he was so innocuous and partially hidden that his grave wasn’t robbed would mean so much to 21st century African Americans.  In one word: history.  Our history and heritage was taken away from us in slavery, we were taught that Africa had nothing and that it was a mercy for them to take us out of the heathenistic hot land and make us servants to Christ and whites.  Many people don’t know of the African civilizations that existed pre-slavery, but the one that garners the most respect in European eyes is Egypt.  It stands to reason that if the descendants of slaves can be similar to those who helped build the Sphinx then how could we be inferior?

So we reach into the past for repudation of bound ancestors and for validation of ourselves.  But perhaps we don’t need to go looking any further than our own backyard for the greatness of black.  It may not rival the Sphinx but the White House was built by African American slaves.  With all the things that we have done here in the US (which are too numerous to mention now but is often listed during the month of February) do we really need to make a boy king browner, whether he was or not?

Written by rentec

29 August, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Posted in culture, news

19 Responses

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  1. One time when I was in America visiting friends, I logged into AOL’s “African” chat room. I was shocked. The “black” people there kept making rude comments about their being a “honkey” in the room. When I explained that as a TRUE African, I have more right to be there than THEY did the conversation REALLY deteriorated.

    I discovered during this conversation (in 1999) that a lot of black Americans think that ALL of Africa is black, or “belongs to the black man.” This is completely incorrect. Black Africa is basically sub-Saharan Africa. ALL the peoples of North Africa (Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania , much of Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt were ALL peopled by CAUCASIANS. The coffee-color of North Africa comes from the SLAVE trade to North Africa (which incidentally, was not even outlawed in Mauritania until the 1980’s, but is found to be continuing there even to this day, in some areas), from some intermixing. However, there are relatively few black people in North Africa (maybe 1 – 2%, without making an official study). There are many more COMPLETELY-CAUCASIAN-looking North Africans than there are black North Africans. Some coffee-colored people have Negroid features, but relatively white skins, whereas the majority do not have Negroid features. Anyone who is interested in looking up the genetics could start by reading Bryan Sykes’ “The Seven Daughters of Eve.” Most of North Africa (north of the Sahara) was populated by Caucasians who moved across the northern Mediterranean, and crossed over into Africa from the Straits of Gibraltar, during prehistoric times. I think many African-Americans are EXTREMELY misinformed about this. (The Moroccans also trace their WHITE ancestry to the Phonecians, as well.)

    Regarding facial reconstruction techniques, the color of the photo given in this post (of Tut reconstructed) looks very much like the coffee-color of most of North Africa. Look at the facial FEATURES–the NOSE, the MOUTH–it looks more like a Caucasian face–this is why they chose the color skin they did in this reconstruction. It could have been darker, but it could have been lighter as well. They are probably basing the color on looking at people of the same facial construction today, and looking at what color they are, then just extrapolating.

    Margot in Marrakesh, Morocco


    3 September, 2007 at 7:59 pm

  2. Hello Margot,

    I think most African Americans (AfAms) are greatly misinformed about the continent of Africa. Many think of Africa not as a continent with varied and diverse peoples and cultures but as one big country that was plundered for the benefit of slavery. A lot of AfAms (and white Americans for that matter) think that Africa is reflected in the faces of Minute Bol, Alex Wek, and Iman but not necessarily Quaddafi.

    Sykes’ book “Seven Daughters of Eve” was an excellent book. For those who are a bit lazier and don’t want to mudddle through the reading might want to peep the video “The Journey of Man”. It explains how the human race evolved, leaving middle Africa and then moving northward through Egypt into what is now India and then upwards into Asia then Europe and then across the Bering Strait.

    What I understand from the World History class I took in college some eons ago was that Northern Africa was more of a melange of people, especially in Egypt because it was a gateway to the Middle East and Europe –do you not find that to be true?

    I think one of the confusing things to Americans (and in this context African Americans) is the use of the word Caucasian or Caucasoids. Here in the U.S. the world Caucasian usually denotes someone of European ancestry –like German or English. We rarely associate being white with being Persian (Iranian) or Lebanese or Arabic although these people are considered Caucasian.


    4 September, 2007 at 9:00 pm

  3. Wow, thank you for your great reply.

    Without looking it up to verify, my understanding is that Caucasians originated somewhere around the Cacasus (sp.?) mountain range somewhere around southern Russia? Their descendants spread out all over the Middle East, and from there, on into Europe by various routes. The Bantu peoples (black Africans) spread across central Africa, and down into southern Africa.

    A black American friend I have explained to me that in America, most blacks are forced by other blacks to “choose” between black culture (which is mostly anti-white), and “white” culture (meaning “establishment” values, and not being anti-white). Sometimes this issue even divides the children in one family, with some brothers/sisters choosing the “black” culture, and others choosing the “white.”

    There is another interesting thing I wanted to mention. People in America who are more than first- or second-generation, do not notice, or remark on people’s facial/racial characteristics as they do in other parts of the world. I have some American friends who had to live here almost fifteen years before they began to look at these characteristics like people here do. But there is a reason for this. It’s that in America, due to immigration from all parts of the world, PEOPLE ARE ALL MIXED UP. Some people have mixed genetic heritage, but that is not what I am talking about. I’m speaking that if you walk into an office, or a school classroom, or down the street in any major city in America, you will see a real variety of facial sizes, shapes, body types, ear, nose, mouth, or other variation. So, Americans don’t pay any special attention to these differences because they are so used to seeing so many different kinds of people.

    In most parts of the world, especially the “Old World”, nearly everyone in a given region looks the SAME. For example, I recently visited a mountain village in the Middle Atlas of Morocco, and I noticed that nearly everyone in this village had a very distinctive head shape. So, if I were in another part of Morocco, or even in America, and saw someone with a head shape like that, I would immediately ask them if they were from this village in Morocco, or if their ancestors were from there. After the second generation, Americans don’t know about this kind of information any more (unless they have lived overseas).

    Another example is the black people we see here in Morocco. Most people will be able to look at them immediately and know if they are from around here or not just by their facial shapes and characteristics. Among the blacks not from here, sometimes American blacks visiting will never be mistaken for Ethiopian blacks, for example, who look completely different in their facial characteristics. American blacks, to Moroccans, generally look much more like West African blacks (where indeed, most of their ancestors came from).

    I just thought you might find that interesting.



    6 September, 2007 at 9:20 pm

  4. Ancient Egyptian is neither black nor white but cosmopolitan of colors in different shades in black,brown and near white but not white.

    So these people who want to be part of this great civilization need to know reality and admit racial mixing that occurred in ancient Egypt. You could see two brothers in same family with different skin colors that would put them in the west different racial categories.


    26 September, 2007 at 6:18 pm

  5. I like Sardonic Sistah’s blog.
    As to margot’s comment about 1st and 2nd generation Americans noticing subtle differences in appearances unlike Americans who’ve been here for generations, this is true in my experience.
    I am a 2nd generation American of S.E. Asian heritage. I know African-Americans in my neighborhood who percieve recent African immigrants as “snooty”, I heard an older African-Am. lady make the comment, “Who do they think they are they’re black just like us.” This in reference to Ethiopians and Eritreans. An Eritrean neighbor of mine, who left her country due to the civil war and is in her late 50s, considers herself “black” due to her skin color( she is more darker than some of the other Eritreans,) and yet her Chinese co-worker who immigrated from Hong Kong does not consider her black at all. (Meaning not African-American, and associated stereotypes that are presented by the U.S. media worldwide.) A 12 year old Eritrean boy who only immigrated here a year ago (and speaks English well, though not fluently or with colloqial expressions. Too bad American kids aren’t required to learn a 2nd language in the primary grades, sorry I digressed.) Well, this boy distinguishes himself from the black kids or African-Americans, the white kids and Asian kids. He calls himself Eritrean or uses a native term to define his identity. He says he is not black. He also has a term to refer to other African people. The Eritrean boys born in the U.S., especially the primary school kids tend to call themselves African-American. One of the boys speaking of his mother traveling to her birth country, he doesn’t specify a country but just says Africa, the way Americans do. (When Asians or Euro-Americans talk about traveling abroad, they tend to mention specific countries, not just an entire continent.) I’ve seen people from Yemen which is on the Arab peninsula and also Eritrean and Ethiopian people and there are overlapping features and complexions amongst them.
    People in the U.S. jave a hard time distinguishing -nationality, culture and “race” or phenotypic appearance. I can tell the difference between an Asian Indian coming to the U.S. directly from India, from an Asian Indian born in Fiji, Surinam, the Carribean or even Uganda. Yet most Americans don’t pick up between the lines these differences all they see is the 1 dimensional archtypal or stereotypical Indian.


    30 September, 2007 at 6:32 am

  6. in reference to eritreans
    i dont consider myself black and i believe i am a diff race from other black africans and african americans
    well its been proven that we arent black. we’re more closer to yemeni cuz in ancent times thats where most of our ancestors came from.

    hence why we look more like north african and middle easterners
    i am a african who is habesha eritrean semite and a middle easterner also.


    21 February, 2008 at 6:18 am

  7. the photo of him is really scary but interesting how people csn discover what he looks like


    28 March, 2008 at 9:26 am

  8. tut is black. kemet means land of black people and if egyptians were white they will never build these pyramids in a hot place like africa but in europe and if they were arabs they will never build it in africa and they will write arabic and also arabs dont worship gods but rather allah it was only africans who worship gods before the europeans came and all the africans were living at the north before the sahara became a desert. so sorry let history belong to where it belongs first they said egypt was not part of africa and they said columbus discovered the americas. africans went to asia too. you can check it on youtube( africans in asia) there are also alot of lost civilizations in africa that is not yet discovered.


    21 April, 2008 at 3:03 am

  9. “and also arabs dont worship gods but rather allah”

    I hate to be picky, but you have your dates and mess all wrong. Arabs didn’t buy into Islam until about 600A.D., thousands of years after the construction of the pyramids. One more, then I’m done nit-picking.

    The Arabic language was not invented at the time of the pyramids either.


    3 July, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  10. kwadwo
    Whew! Good lord that was one misinformed and jumbled up diatribe.

    As far as ancient Egypt, we can see from what they left behind that they were a mixture of races. It is amazing American blacks would latch onto Egypt, as they had slaves. They also made efforts to limit Nubians migrating down the Nile from what is now Sudan. Not everything is either black or white.


    9 August, 2008 at 12:09 pm

  11. I sure appreciate reading everyone’s comments here. This has been one of the most interesting discussions I’ve found in the entire past year!

    Margot, the Marrakesh Mystic


    17 August, 2008 at 10:14 pm

  12. Kwadwo doesn’t know that 2300 years ago, 900 years before Islam was born, the rulers of Egypt were indeed “white”. Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s generals and became ruler of Egypt. He was a Greek. As Pharaoh, he established a dynasty that lasted hundreds of years. Generations later, Ptolemy VII fathered Cleopatra, who became the first woman Pharaoh to rule Egypt. She was a descendant of Macedonian Greeks, she spoke Greek, Latin, and who knows what else, consorted with Romans and had four children by Mark Antony and Julius Caesar.

    Long before Christ appeared, Alexandria was the capital of Egypt and a Greek/Roman/International center of learning. It was the repository of a great library.

    Before Ptolemy’s rule, Egypt was continually visited by Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and many other peoples of the region. It was truly a cosmopolitan area with much racial mixing. Ancient Semites passed through regularly as they migrated north to Europe, or west towards Morocco. Many were Jews who eventually settled as far away as Spain, others were the Berbers, etc.

    If you study the migrations of mankind, you find genetic adaptations and mutations along every step of the way, and skin color is a pretty small player in this larger scheme. While in Africa I saw great variation of color and features within the same isolated tribe in many cases. The past president of Kenya, Moi, is a member of the Kalenjin tribe, and he has blue eyes and black skin.

    In Rwanda I saw native people whose skin was very white, they were leucistic or albinistic. The Maasai and Tutsi, who are Nilotic people with ancestry from the north, are generally lighter-skinned than the Hutu or Twa, the Bantu and forest peoples. The San (Bushmen) are much lighter than the Bantu Xhosa or Zulu they live with.

    The Lemba tribe of South Africa has a significant portion of its members who look very Bantu and have very dark skin, but they trace their genetic ancestry back to the Cohanim Hebrews and practice that religion. Ancient Hebrews apparently returned to Africa and a few generations later they look like their neighbors who never left. Yet their DNA shows an entirely different history.

    There are 2000 different languages spoken in Africa, and Nigeria alone has 250 languages. To think of Africa as one homogenous place where people look alike or even have similar cultures or heritages is being very near-sighted.

    Kwadwo shows a rather simplistic black and white view of history, no doubt learned from his source of knowledge, The actual history of humans is very complex, with many shades of color and features that continually morph and adapt. We’re still learning this story and will be for a long time.

    I dearly hope that we can someday get past this use of racial differences for the purposes of feeling superior, inferior, or just plain different. Most African-Americans have considerable European blood, and most European-Americans have African blood. The DNA will show this. Africans whose ancestors stayed in Africa will show mtDNA that is distinct from those who migrated out of Africa, even if you think they look the same.

    The way we look is not always a great indicator of where we came from or who we are. If you’re black, you may have a white cousin and vice versa, particularly in the U.S. where miscegenation has been practiced since the early days of the slave trade.

    As for who built the Pyramids, remember that many people believe the Pharoahs used slaves, and 6000 years ago it was the ancient Hebrews who were enslaved in Egypt. (If you consider the Bible as historically accurate.)

    In any case, through all of history, the African continent was inhabited by humans of different colors and races, and the stories we carry in our DNA show that this goes back even farther, deep into pre-historic times. It was where humans first appeared, and is thus is where they’ve lived and mixed the most.

    Veronica, I have a Eurasian niece who is always mistaken for polynesian, an African friend who is always mistaken for a caucasian, a Chinese friend who is always mistaken for Japanese, and an Irish friend who is always mistaken for an Indian. If you can consistently make the subtle distinctions you claim to then you are unique in this world. True, there are many stereotypes, and isolated groups tend to look similar, but the exceptions outnumber the rules, and we scientists have to use population averages when studying human phenomes.

    When your friend says his mother is “going back to Africa” he’s saying that because he’s African-American and talking to you. If he were born in Africa and were talking to an African, he’d be very specific, maybe even to identify his tribal lands if he thinks the listener would know them.

    We are one single species and can breed with any other member of the species to produce offspring. We do it, and have been doing it for a long, long time. Perhaps if we can keep this in mind and consider ourselves a member of humankind rather than a sub-category we can stop differentiating and hating each other so much.

    Watu Moja
    (One People)

    Watu Moja

    18 August, 2008 at 11:46 pm

  13. I feel that someone has said this already…but from all the discussions I’ve participated in with classmates of mine Blacks in America latch on so tightly to the idea that Egyptians were black and their ancestors because much of our family histories are steeped in stories of being disenfranchised and any historic event we try to take pride in is discredited accordingly. Even when trying to take pride in ourselves as black Americans, the gentleman in a previous post pointed out the negative stereotypes perpetuated by our own country (contrary to popular opinion many of America’s Black people are working just as hard if not harder than anyone else so that they can make a meaningful mark on this world, and leave a legacy behind).

    One of the very few African achievements/ success stories taught in American classrooms is the story of Egyptian civilization. Speaking from my own personal experience and trying to do some real research into my own roots leaves me at a road block about 6 generations back with a distant matriarch who cant be found in birth records, property records, or the like.

    undercover passion

    26 October, 2008 at 4:46 am

  14. Skin color does not always give you an accurate depiction of where you’ve been generationally. Sure Whites were born there, but most likely not anything beyond 8 generations. Many groups there historically are close to looking White, but you have to pay attention to the tones…they are not that pale European White.

    Now if your comparing knowledge of culture, we may have a bit of a debate. But its a fact…genetically and generationally African-Americans have been in Africa longer than Europeans White, Which Im sure most of you are, if broken down generationally. Even though most Blacks in America havent been there in 400 years, Quantitatively we’ve been there longer.

    It takes 1000 years for your skin to cease from producing Melanin. Which means Whites are definitely not from any of the Mid or South African countries, meanwhile this also mean we havent be gone very long, historically speaking.

    Blacks only make up 13% of the US population, and Whites are like 2% of the African population.

    As it gets to Iran, most of the people there still Brown as hell. Sure you have your lighter skins there, but they are not WHITE by no means, not by Americanized standards at least. These people are not European or anything..LOL. There still are several Albinos, or other genetic mutations (skin abnormalities, etc.)

    African-Americans without a doubt would either be solely from there, or spit between South America and Africa or Austrailia, (many African American are mostly mixed with American Indian).

    Many history buffs know that all these European countries have been doing “business” in various parts of Africa. Pumping religion, setting up government, and “other” businesses. Just because some Whites have come out of their mothers on African soil doesn’t mean a damn thing. It isnt like they slept with another Black person, or else you most likely wouldnt be White…LOL


    2 October, 2009 at 9:28 pm

  15. Egypt was of many colors, but that was because of mass trading. Rome was the same way full of color, full of mass trading.

    We forget that Egypt had several 2000 to 3000 year dynasties. Why do we seem to mention the King Tut years. That was just a drop in the bucket historically.

    The Egypt that most are familiar with is the one closest to the Mediterranean, but that WAS NOT THE HEART OF EGYPT. The true heart of Egypt was much further south. People quit treating the History Channel and PBS like some kind of Gospel, all them drunk White men are too full of themselves to uncover the truth of worried about Awards.


    2 October, 2009 at 9:45 pm

  16. Let us remember that it was originally European or Caucasian scholars who needed to racialize the history of mankind and all archeological research to further establish the so-called greatness of the so-called Caucasian race, this is evident when you look at the academic literature over the years. When whites were the only ones allowed to define all of mankind no one questioned their summations, but when those they studied started to give their own scientific and academic perspectives different than their former overseers and oppressors all that they put forth as possibilities quickly became in question and dismissed.

    Over the years racist European scholars did such a shabby job at being impartial and objective they have discredited the way they interpret their findings, but even today European scholars still err or hypothesize in favor of European greatness and against any possibility of an functional and ruling African presence wherever a great society once stood regardless of the evidence. If skeletal remains are found in a royal grave or within a great empire, findings that even hint at a sub-Saharan type cranium there is a scramble to create a new sub-category of race to explain what is evident or the assumption is put forth “these people must’ve been slaves”

    A good example is the Great Sphinx; the Sphinx profile and facial features are more than evidentially a depiction of a so-called sub-Saharan Black African, but even this more than obvious facial profile has been dismissed and also deemed questionable. Let’s not mention the obvious African features depicted on the Olmec stone heads of Mesoamerica.

    “American geologist Robert M. Schoch has written that the “Sphinx has a distinctive ‘African,’ ‘Nubian,’ or ‘Negroid’ aspect which is lacking in the face of Khafre.” An American orthodontist named Sheldon Peck once wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, in which he noted that the Sphinx has “an anatomical condition of forward development in both jaws, more frequently found in people of African ancestry than in those of Asian or Indo-European stock.””

    As far as King Tut, let us not forget that there was originally an African depiction of him presented several years ago, which is almost impossible to find on the web now. Also, remember that regardless of the forensic science, skin color and lip thickness cannot be determined and aquiline noses can be found on the faces of the darkest of Africans below the Sahara, especially in East Africa.

    “Forensic artists and physical anthropologists from Egypt, France, and the United States independently created busts of Tutankhamun, using a CT-scan of the skull. Biological anthropologist Susan Anton, the leader of the American team, said that the race of the skull was “hard to call”. She stated that the shape of the cranial cavity indicated an African, while the nose opening suggested narrow nostrils, which is usually considered to be a European characteristic.”


    10 January, 2010 at 10:21 pm

  17. Mel, Current DNA studies of African Americans living in the US are of European decent not of American Indian decent. If you have an Indian American Ancestry, you have a very low percentage chance of being an Indian American. The Indian Americans during slavery were either bribed or prosecuted for aiding fugitive slaves. The prime example of this is the court case Ableman vs Booth case. The return of slaves was often big money for many which includes the Indian Americans.


    10 April, 2012 at 12:13 pm

  18. This is a bunch of fucking garbage. Egyptians have always been Middle Easterners. They are neither black nor white, but they’re a hell of a lot closer to white than black.

    Spanky Boy

    31 July, 2013 at 12:37 am

  19. this was 10 years ago, and people are still getting offended by things like this.


    30 October, 2017 at 5:58 am

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