I am not African-American. I am Indian-American. I was born in India but I lived most of my life here in the United States and I am a proud citizen of this great country.
I am also a Christian. I converted from Hinduism when I was fourteen. As a Christian, therefore, I am deeply troubled that there are still quite a number of people who believe that there was a biblical justification for enslaving the black people of Africa. Those who hold to this view say that Noah, in the Book of Genesis, cursed Ham and that the black people of Africa being descendants of Ham were justifiably enslaved and treated with contempt. This belief is far from being extinct in our society so it is important that this belief is examined in the light of what the Bible actually teaches.
The particular passage in Genesis 9:25 has been grossly misinterpreted. First of all, Noah never cursed his son Ham. The actual curse was on Canaan the oldest son of Ham. Ham also had other sons but they were not cursed by Noah. The servitude (or subjugation)of the Canaanites occurred at various times in history under various rulers. Their ultimate subjugation came under the Romans (who were descendants from the line of Japeth) when the Romans destroyed their final stronghold which was the ancient city of Carthage (a Phoenician or Canaanite colony) in North Africa, thus fulfilling Noah's prophecy in Genesis 9:27 that Canaan would serve Japheth. The Canaanites were also once slaves of the Hebrew people (descendants from the line of Shem) who themselves were once slaves of the Egyptians and, thus, fulfilling the Biblical prophecy that Canaan's descendants would be a "servant of servants." The Canaanites were also at one time ruled by their brothers the Egyptians. Thus, the Biblical prophecy concerning the curse of the Canaanites had been completely fulfilled long ago.
The Bible teaches that the Black (or Negro) people are descendants of Ham (who was one of the three sons of Noah). Obviously, Noah and his three sons Ham, Shem, and Japeth each carried the genes for producing several races since ultimately all the races of mankind had descended from them. Genetically, it was possible for Noah and his three sons to carry the genes for producing different races just as it is genetically possible today, for example, for a person of European origin to carry genes for producing children with different color hair. The principle is the same. Although you and I today may not possess genes for producing different races of people, Noah and his three sons Ham, Shem, and Japeth did possess such genes.
According to the Bible the ancient Egyptians were descended from Ham through the line of Mizraim. Ham had four sons: Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan (Genesis 10:6). The name "Mizraim" is the original name given for Egypt in the Hebrew Old Testament. Many Bibles will have a footnote next to the name "Mizraim" explaining that it means "Egypt." The name "Egypt" itself actually comes to us from the Greeks who gave the Land that name (i.e. "Aegyptos" from the Greek). In addition to the name "Mizraim," the ancient Egyptians also referred to their land as "Kemet" which means "Land of the Blacks." Western historians, however, say that the word "Kemet" refers to the color of the soil of the land rather than its people. But, the word "Kemet" is actually an ethnic term being a derivative of the word "Khem" (Cham or Ham) which means "burnt" or "black." Ham, who was one of the three sons of Noah and the direct ancestor of the Egyptians, was black. The Bible, in the Old Testament, repeatedly refers to Egypt as the "Land of Ham" (i.e., Psalm 105:23, 27; 106:22). Regarding the ancient Egyptians, there is also considerable historical evidence, aside from the Holy Bible, that they were of Black or Negro origin. Even today the true Egyptian is not to be found in the cities but in the country sides and farmlands of Egypt. Most of the Egyptians in the cities carry a mixed ancestry of European and Asian, but mostly Asian from the immigration and invasions of various people into Egypt throughout the centuries. Very few people realize that Cleopatra was of Greek origin because the Greeks once ruled Egypt and she was descended from one of those Greek rulers. The true Egyptian found in the countryside, however, has dark brown to black skin and very pronounced Negro features. This is particularly true the further south one travels in Egypt. It was from the south that the original pharaohs and the people of Egypt settled the land. The original rulers and builders of Egyptian civilization were of completely Black or Negro origin.
However, it must also be understood that the Negro or Black race is not monolithic. I realize that there are many scholars who make a distinction between being Negro and having black skin complexion because they take into consideration physical features (i.e. shape of nose, texture of hair, etc.) into their criteria for determining race and not just the criterion of skin color or skin complexion. However, these are all quite artifical criteria. In fact, the very classification of human races is in itself artificial since there really is only one race - the human race within which there are variations and permutations. Even the Bible has no terminology for race. Instead, the Bible refers to the divisions found in mankind in terms of tribe, language, or nation - but never race. However, since in our modern times the word "race" is so popular in designating divisions of mankind we are going to use the term. But, it should be kept in mind that there are wide varieties of characteristics even within a single race. Even among white Europeans, for example, you have varying shades of skin tone, hair color, and other physical traits or characteristics. The same is true of the Black race, but to a much wider degree.
DNA analysis of blacks in Africa confirms that African blacks possess a greater margin of genetic variability. It seems that black Africans carry a greater number of alleles - genetic variations of the same gene(s) in their DNA as compared to Europeans and others. Thus, it is not surprising that there are much wider physical varieties among blacks. For example, in Sudan, Somalia, and South India (where I am originally from) the blacks have more fine features. In fact, even blacks of ancient Nubia (also known as Kush) comprised individuals who had both straight hair as well as wooly hair. Just as whites have varying hair color (i.e. brown, red, blond, and brunette), so too blacks have varying hair texture (i.e. wooly, straight, wavy, and curly). The black aboriginals of Australia, for example, have curly/wavy hair. Many of the aboriginals even have blond hair. Such is the wide diversity within the Black race. Ancient Egyptian statues and paintings depict a wide variety of these Black types. Also, in certain characteristics of language and culture ancient Egypt is uniquely linked to other Black cultures of Africa and this reinforces the Black identity of ancient Egyptian civilization since these unique linguistic and cultural characteristics are not found among Indo-European peoples. For example, the ancient Egyptians like their African brethren were matriarchal whereas Indo-Europeans were and are patriarchal. An exception to this were the ancient Etruscans of Italy. Although the ancient Etruscans, who were Indo-European, were matriarchal, their matriarchal culture and budding civilization was actually due to the influence of trade with the ancient Phoenicians (Canaanities) who were Hamitic and matriarchal. The ancestors of the ancient Egyptians, therefore, were not the patriarchal Indo-Europeans from the North as white supremicists would have us believe but rather the matriarchal black Africans from the South (Upper Egypt). Geographically speaking, the southern regions of ancient Egypt are referred to as "Upper Egypt." The reason for this is explained below in another paragraph.
It should be understood that the people of North India and Europe share a common linguistic and racial heritage and that is why they are referred to on the whole as being "Indo-European." The people of South India (comprising four states and making up roughly twenty-five percent of India's total population) are linguistically and racially known as Dravidians. The Dravidians of India are generally shorter, broader-nosed, with dark brown to black skin complexion and straight or wavy hair. Both archaeological and linguistic evidence shows that it was the ancient Dravidians who built the Indus Valley civilization (also known as the Harappan Civilization which was one of the world's four oldest civilizations after Mesopotamia and Egypt). The ancient Harappan civilization existed in what is now Pakistan. The Dravidians of the Indus Valley were conquered, killed in great mass, and enslaved by white nomadic barbarian invaders called Aryans who came from the north. The Dravidians who escaped Aryan enslavement or slaughter fled to the south and were able to hold their own against any further Aryan encroachment and advancement, and that is why the linguistic and racial make up of South India is different from that of North India. Of course, over the centuries there has been so much crossbreeding between the two peoples that neither the north now is purely Aryan nor the south purely Dravidian anymore. Historian, anthropologist, and educational psychologist Dr.Clyde A. Winters has provided much painstaking research and numerous resources and references showing the ultimate cultural and phonetic/linguistic links between the peoples of South India and Black Africa. It is worth visting his site C.A. Winter's Homepage.
Another excellent, scholarly, well-documented, and highly acclaimed book for study on this subject is The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality by well-known West African scientist, scholar, and Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop. The book is generally available at bookstores or may be ordered through any bookstore. The book may also be purchased over the internet (i.e. amazon.com). Although I agree with most of what Dr. Diop says in his book, I do strongly disagree with his support of Darwinian evolutionary theory concerning human origins and his belief that Judaism and its offspring Christianity is a by-product of Egyptian civilization. There is no doubt that some Judeo-Christian themes, principles, and truths existed in civilizations and cultures much older than that of the Hebrews (the Jews). The concept of one God, for example, was also believed and promoted in ancient Egypt by a certain pharaoh before there ever were Hebrews or Jews who possessed this truth. Elements of God's original truth have been scattered in all cultures of the world including that of ancient Egypt, but I believe (and with good reason) that God uniquely revealed Himself to the Jews in such a way that He gave them His truths unmixed with any errors. The Christian Scriptures teach that the Jews were not selected by God because they were deserving or because they were a great people, but precisely because of the opposite. God delights in using the lowly, undeserving, and insignificant to accomplish His great purposes, and it was God's marvelous plan and purpose to use the lowly, undeserving, and insignificant Jews as His instrument to bring all mankind unto Himself so that both Jews and Gentiles in Christ become equally His children with eternal promises and blessings.
To be continued
The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, is an experienced Christian writer. He has his B.A. with academic concentrations in Bible and Biology. As a religion and science writer he has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East.
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