We’re All Africans
There’s no point describing a person as being of African descent — that’s describing the entire human race.
Y Chromosome Migration map of the last 70,000 years. © 2008; Scientific American
Every time I hear people refer to black folk as “people of African descent”, I chuckle a little bit inside. What’s even more amusing is the common practice of referring to white folk as people of North Eastern European descent. Both expressions are largely incorrect. The research of the Human Genome project over the last 20 years has proven in fact that we are all Africans.
What I’m talking about is the now widely accepted “Out of Africa” model which describes how humans migrated out of Africa over the last 4 million years or so, creating the many genetic mutations over time that we understand as phenotypes. These phenotypes are what older German scientists first classified as “race”. The process creating these races is fascinating.
DNA molecules as we understand them are the building blocks of life. What most people don’t know is that DNA is incredibly fluid. In fact, the adage “nature always finds a way” is the likely the perfect description of what DNA actually is. So long as the proteins that create DNA are able to bond and replicate, then life is possible, irrespective of the environment it is found.
In fact, the humanoid shape is a direct function of the unique parameters that make up our environment. We have long thought that life in extreme environments with temperatures at either of the far ends of the scale would be impossible — and yet life was discovered in these environments. DNA adapted shapes that thrived brilliantly in these extreme environments.
This means that technically, if we can find life in the molten heart of a volcano, or at 5,000 feet beneath the ocean in pitch darkness where the oceanic pressures would crush a human being, or in the frozen tundras of the poles, then life could be found anywhere. This is why scientists have since revised their expectations of where life could be and how it would look.
DNA not only works this way between species, but within species as well. While the Human Genome project traced remains from Y Chromosome carriers over the face of the earth, they quickly noticed that a pattern emerged. As the Y chromosome mutated with each migratory group, they noticed a simple cause and effect that if traced backwards, led to one continent:
Not only did this confirm what many Afro-centrists had long known, but it says a great deal about what the original human phenotype likely looked like. Further research has now also confirmed that much of our traditional understanding of human phenotypes was incorrect. While we know that most of the existing phenotypes didn’t exist then, we were all dark folk.
Virtually every film about ancient African kingdoms featuring Caucasian actors is not only wildly inaccurate, but it propagates a common misconception that German scientists helped to propagate in the early days of World War II. Not only were they wrong about Caucasians being the master race, but they could not have known that they were also the youngest race.
Recently, gene scientists have discovered that all Caucasians and Asians share about 4% of their DNA with Neanderthals (before they were replaced by modern humans). This might explain some of the many mutations that appeared in this group, perhaps most notable of which appear to be physiological and behavioural (affecting even their brain development).
While the Caucasian race was likely among the last human phenotypes to appear on the face of the earth (roughly 20,000 years ago), they have also featured the most genetic mutations of all the others. This is probably a major contributing factor to why most of today’s advanced civilizations are largely dominated by Caucasians — but it speaks to a much larger curiosity.
Gene scientists have also noted that the vast number of genetic mutations among Eurasians indicates that each member of this broad phenotype is more different from each other than than they were from the original Africans. This means that there is far more genetic diversity among Africans than there is among Eurasians, who are still descendants of original Africans.
This discovery is consistent with evolutionary theory where simpler life becomes more and more complex. The evolution also means that as life becomes more complex, it becomes more specialized. As it became more specialized, the number of mutations increased. Therefore, as humans moved further and further away from Africa, these mutations only increased greatly.
This not only explains the many differences between Eurasians and Africans, but also why it is possible that Eurasians evolved out of Africans. In fact, it’s commonly said in jest among these biological circles that two white men who are brothers are far more genetically different from each other than they are from a black man. While this isn’t true, there is truth to the joke.
In reality, because of their universal genetic diversity, black people are far more genetically identical to virtually every other human being of any other phenotype, than members of any given phenotype are from each other. This means that about 100,000 years ago, we were all mostly black people until we became genetically distilled through generations of migration.
The group of Africans that migrated to the north west, interbred with Neanderthals who had migrated out of Africa eons earlier for roughly 10,000 years. This likely started off a vast chain reaction that may have produced many of the physiological and perhaps even psychological differences separating modern Europeans and Asians from today’s direct African descendants.
The Origin of Races
With that said, it would be useful to examine exactly how each human phenotype was born. The Human Genome Project published the entirety of their findings, showing exactly how each human phenotype was formed as migration continued out of Africa. The results are absolutely intriguing — although they had to be very tacit in how they handled the results. For people have a natural talent for using scientific discovery to forward rather pernicious social agendas.
Before we continue, I invite you to examine the diagram at the outset of this post showing the migration patterns of modern humans over the last 70,000 years. Scientists examined the genetic remains of these early modern humans and mapped the Y Chromosome variations over the various routes that were taken out of Africa, then subsequently around the world.
I’ll be examining the Out of Africa model in three parts, showing how each human phenotype eventually came to be. You can see the same diagram in its full unified form by clicking here.
It is important to note that migrations were a repetitive process, with several groups taking the same routes repeatedly. This meant that each migratory group may have been replaced by newer ones. This is how the earlier versions of man (such as Neanderthals and Sapiens) were replaced by modern humans. It is also important to note that the scope of this post is limited to the migration of modern humans. All older phenotypes have long since gone extinct.
Finally, it is important to note that human migration didn’t occur until after the last ice age began some 80,000 years ago. It was not until 10,000 years ago after the ice age ended, that most of record human civilization began to emerge. In fact, it was only during the last 20,000 years that the current revision of modern human phenotypes finally started to evolve.
The African Race
The original Africans are considered the root of all other phenotypes. The earliest remains of modern humans were discovered in south western Ethiopia. They have been carbon dated to some 195,000 years ago. They first migrated out of this region some 70,000 years ago into the regions we now know as the Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and the southern states of Africa.
During these early migrations, vast phenotypic changes occurred in early sub-Saharan Africa. These differences can be observed in the various tribes of the continent. From the old Khoisan bushmen with their distinctive facial features to the west African Yoruba tribes which became the modern day African American and Caribbean nationals, Africa packed quite a vast variety.
As some groups migrated north west through Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt, long before these areas became desert epitomes, softer phenotypes began to emerge in the skin and hair. Some of the changes that occurred produced fairer skinned folk that more closely resembled today’s Arabs as they migrated across the Saharan plains into the fertile lands of Egypt, Libya and Algeria. The milder environments produced softer phenotypes in this area, culminating in:
The Middle Eastern (Caucasian) Races
While this north western migration occurred, an even earlier migratory group became the first to exit Africa by the narrow water channel we now know as the Red Sea, crossing into what is now Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Israel. This migration north west continued to produce softer, fairer phenotypic patterns over time that created today’s Arabs.
While the north eastern African migrants eventually established the great Kingdoms of Egypt, the settlers across the Red Sea are the ones that first produced great kingdoms such as the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires respectively. The Sumerians were the first to articulate the modern systems of law, governance, legislature and agriculture. As they were the first to lay seeds of civilisation, this laid the foundation for subsequent kingdoms.
More importantly, as these kingdoms (now modern day Iraq) become the the first to establish the roots for cultural and intellectual development, the rise and fall of subsequent kingdoms in this region saw a progressive migration to the north east. The northern migration continued to produce even fairer phenotypes as man ventured into the colder regions farther north.
Even so, as they moved northeast, migratory groups broke apart, with some of them heading northwest into what is now Europe. The remainder continued their trek deeper into the east. There were already neanderthal tribes inhabiting these areas. The last ice age was still in full swing. Some interbreeding occurred between modern humans and neanderthals at this point.
After many generations and about 30,000 years, Neanderthals went extinct before the last ice age was out. Before modern man moved deeper into Iran, Afghanistan and India, he had spent much of his time in the valley region between modern Russia and Iran between the Black and Caspian Seas. This area is now modern day Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
This region between Russia and Iran (called the Caucasus Region) had humans settling there that eventually became separated from the rest of humanity by the mountains surrounding the valley. Generations of interbreeding within this closed off area eventually started to produce a relatively rapid sequence of mutations within this group. This eventually produced:
The White Caucasian Race
Through a process now known as Natural Selection by Genetic innovation, the humans which first mutated with the genetic markers that produced white skin, brown hair and green or blue eyes eventually replaced all other human phenotypes in the Caucasus region. They looked a lot more like their Syrian brethren to the southeast before the mutations occurred.
This group eventually split into two general directions migrating northeast into what is now Russia and northwest, into what is now the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Romania. Those who migrated north into Finland, Norway and Sweden developed even more phenotypic mutations, carrying some of the genetic markers of their Neanderthal forefathers producing taller humans, with even fairer skin and blonde hair.
Now there was already a group of slightly darker skinned Caucasians migrating into what is now Turkey and Syria into what is now Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. Generations of warfare between the slightly more advanced Caucasians coming in from the north, tamed the earlier Cro-Magnon tribes, eventually transforming all of Europe into a White Caucasian continent.
While Europe transformed, the groups that continued to migrate southeast of Caucasus never stayed around for the mutations to take hold. They continued to take with them smaller and smaller subsets of the Caucasian markers, becoming more and more specialized along the way. As they moved south into the Indian subcontinent, they produced a new phenotype:
The East Indian / Indonesian Races
From the Migration map, it becomes clear that the same Caucasian DNA that produced the Mesopotamian ethnicities of the middle east was passed along to the south east during group migration. This eventually culminated in the Dravidian tribes that gave us the modern groups inhabiting this region, namely the Indians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis.
This is also why in India, you will find a broad range of distinct phenotypes from fairer skinned northern ethnic groups that look more like white Caucasians to the darker skinned groups that occupy much of the rest of the Indian sub continent. These populations were also fed by some groups migrating east across the Indian Ocean from what is now Yemen and Oman.
Their DNA passed south into Indonesia and Northern Australia, eventually becoming the seed for primitive Australian groups like the Aborigines. This is why the peoples of this region are typically classed together anthropologically, as they share many of the same genetic markers. The rest continued east, creating a derivative phenotype of the Han-Chinese genetic markers of the north, populating what is now modern day Myanmar, Cambodia and The Philippines.
The easterly migration from Caucasus was three pronged. Those who went south evolved into today’s modern Sanskrit peoples. Those who crossed the Indian ocean populated Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and the remaining Oceania archipelagos. However, most of the Caucasus migratory group continued northeast along the continent, becoming:
The Eurasian Races
The groups that left Georgia developed a number of Slavic languages as they continued to migrate northwest into the coniferous forests of Germany and east into the Siberian tundras. These Slavic Caucasians are what produced today’s Czechs, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Russians and Montenegrin citizens. They are distinct from West European Caucasians, in that they carry more of the robust Neanderthal DNA markers, producing a rather tall and fair people.
South of Russia, there was little or no mixing of the DNA markers. Several thousand years of separation from the rest of humanity created a phenotype that was excellently suited for the higher, colder more mountainous regions of the orient. This phenotype evolved into a people that lost much of the Caucasian DNA markers, becoming stripped down to the essentials that produced more fat around the eyes and straighter more refined hair to suit the cold environs:
The Oriental People
While there are many derivatives of the Han Chinese DNA marker (namely the Mongolians, Koreans, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese descendants) these groups only differed from the Han Chinese marker insubstantially. The key determinant to how these markers were spread had more to do with political upheaval than natural migration. Eventually, this marker became a strong determinant in this region, spreading northeast across the Bering Strait ice bridge.
After crossing into North America, this single Asian marker changed very little. In fact, if you were to travel through the sub arctic communities of the North West Passage, you will find a set of indigenous tribes living there that have a remarkable resemblance to Han Chinese. Once called Eskimos, they have since resigned that pejorative name and are now known as:
The first of these Paleo-Eskimo cultures, commonly referred to as the Thule culture were the ancestors of a breed of Han-Chinese descendants known as today’s Inuit. While they have since settled the arctic territories in Russian Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland, they are more well known on Baffin Island in towns like Iglulik and on Victoria Island in a remote town called Ikaluktutiak. These days, they have exchanged their igloos for more modern comforts.
The Inuit are more genetically similar to Mongolians than Han Chinese, even though the larger portion of their DNA is no different from their Han Chinese ancestors. However, it is these people who will become the ancestors of every native tribe that continued to migrate further south through Canada, producing the Mississauga Indians, and other North American tribes.
Indians of the Americas
As modern man migrated further south, the Han Chinese Y chromosome marker became more distilled, evolving into what is now known as the Amerindian gene stock. During the southern migration, hundreds of distinct cultures were spawned along the way that largely shared the same appearance. These included (among others) the Apache, Navaho and Cheyenne tribes of North America, and the Toltec, Aztec and Mayan civilizations dominating Central America.
Migration continued deep into South America, with some groups migrating east across the Caribbean islands, producing indigenous tribes such as the Carib and Arawaks. Others formed South American tribes such as the Inca. Many of these indigenous tribes still exist today, with Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Ecuador sharing the lion’s share of their populations.
Long after the Europeans crossed the Atlantic and plundered these ancient civilizations, they began to interbreed with these indigenous tribes eventually producing the newest of all major phenotypes. They are a people that have had much of their Amerindian DNA replaced by markers from the European invaders. Over several generations of breeding, this created:
The Latin / Hispanic Race
While the word “Hispanic” actually refers to a collective of cultures that largely share similar idiosyncrasies, contextually, we also understand the meaning of the word to refer to the brown skinned folk of Central and South America. Latin refers to the root of the Spanish language imposed upon these people, although most South Americans are not Latin in origin.
There is still a significant number of White Caucasians among these people. They are the direct descendants of their Spanish forefathers who crossed the Atlantic. However, the large majority of their countrymen are products of a marriage between distant descendants of the many indigenous tribes carrying the now European modified Amerindian genetic markers.
The Community Delusion
If you poll the elders of any group that has migrated and settled in their respective corners around the world, you will find that most of them subscribe to a religious myth that suggests their gods placed them there and that their world began in that location. The pioneers of each migratory group would have died long before, losing the history of how they even got there.
The generations that followed would then, as is human instinct to do, created a religious myth that explains their causality and their home in curious detail. It’s curious, because all of these flavours of man are related to each other through a sequence of migratory cause and effect. They’ve just been traveling the world for so long that they’ve forgotten where they’re from.
I call this the Community Delusion and it is a recurring theme across the world. In fact, if you examine the religious myth of each great city that has ever come to be, you will find that their causality myths all have the same theme. It only appears to be an delusion now, because we can trace the Y chromosome remains across the world linking us back to our African home.
The Monogenist Fallacy
With that said, being entrenched in the same community for thousands of years will take its toll on our capacity to trace our roots. In fact, modern people of the Negro phenotype that live in the west are only cognizant of their African heritage because of the many clear biological similarities they overwhelmingly share with the current inhabitants of the cradle of mankind.
Every other human phenotype, from Caucasians to Asians and every genetic permutation in between is suffering from the effects of the Community Delusion for the very opposite reason: They look absolutely nothing like original Africans. In fact, this blindness is what originally caused early German anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach to famously remark that:
[The] Caucasian variety …produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (birth place) of mankind.
It was Blumenbach’s research that later led German scientists of the mid 20th Century to then believe that the original race of man was White Caucasian. It created a school of thought now known as “Monogenism”, which asserts that God created man in its purest form and that as he spread throughout the world, his biology gradually dwindled in quality and aesthetic value.
If you’re black and you’re reading this, try not to let you blood boil. The early Germans had no clue whatsoever that human cells were made up of even smaller, microscopic proteins we now call DNA. They also had no idea that within groups, repeated interbreeding tends to also repeat the most common genetic markers within the group until the markers define the group.
But Black people are not exempt from the Community Delusion. When I encountered black folks in Europe and most recently in Asia, I discovered that they had the same propensity. While this is a primal function hard wired into the DNA of all animals (stick with your kind to increase the probability of survival) it has created a flawed school of thought among blacks.
The Afrocentric Fallacy
Kudos are certainly in order for the Afrocentric philosophies that strive to give black people a greater sense of self appreciation and awareness. However, I must state quite emphatically that Afrocentrism is a form of Historical Revisionism. In other words, it strives to propagate myth in the form of historical scholarship, accentuating tenets that unjustly exalt black folk.
It was through Afrocentrism that I first heard that Africa was the root of mankind. This was long before the Human Genome Project had published their findings certifying the authenticity of the Out of Africa theory. I could just imagine their overwhelming sense of vindication at the news of the Human Genome Project’s publication. Finally the white man has justified them.
However, Afrocentric ideology also suggests that black people are really the master race, were the race of the historical Jews and Egyptians and were also the authors of many of the greatest innovations of human history, that were somehow stolen by marauding Europeans.
Even though it’s obvious that Afrocentric philosophy did not account for either climate change or the vast genetic history of black Africans in their postulation, it appears that their guess about Africa being the root of humanity had less to do with scientific fact and more to do with a political agenda for elevating black people above others by virtue of their African legacy. Being black doesn’t give blacks any right to Africa anymore than being white does to Europe.
This is not unlike the Nazi’s similar attempt to place Aryan Caucasians (essentially Nordic Caucasians) as being the master race. They failed because they assumed that mankind had originated in Europe. While it’s easier to dispel Nazi propaganda, Afrocentrism requires a little more thought because they’re quite right about Africa. Therefore, I have some questions:
- If Black people are indeed the master race, why did they give up that position?
- If Black African tribes were superior, why did Caucasian and Asian societies evolve faster?
- If Europeans held Africa back, why weren’t Africans advanced enough to mitigate against that?
- How could Europeans have ”stolen” ideas that Africans failed to document / implement on a social level?
- If Black people were supposedly so advanced, why weren’t there any permanent Black African migrations from the continent until after the European invasion?
- Why is there no history of Black Africans enslaving Europeans? The only record of European enslavement by African nations was during the Arab Slave Trade along Africa’s Barbary Coast — which doesn’t count since the slavers were Arabs, not blacks.
- Why do the ancient wall painted reliefs in Egypt show a mixed race of people (see image above)? Did the Europeans repaint them?
- Isn’t suggesting that Europeans took away African privilege, also implicitly saying something even more profound about how black people perceive themselves?
- If white people are the devil, and African DNA effectively contains the mutative potential for producing white Caucasians, what does that say about black people?
- Even if one could wipe out Caucasians, wouldn’t the presumption that black people are the master race mean that white people would re-emerge after several thousand years just as they did several thousand years earlier? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of wiping them out?
- I don’t see many black people pioneering gene therapy, designing computers, studying quantum physics, putting men in space, designing sophisticated cities or devising complex global financial systems. So wouldn’t wiping out Caucasians instantly implode much of modern civilization? Who will run the banks? Who will manage your cable TV? Who will man the data centers around the world that keep the internet clicking? Who would have invented Facebook, Google and the Automobile?
- If Caucasians are a race of albinos, then how do we explain albinos within the Caucasian race? Better yet, where would Asian albinos fit into this model?
- If slavery is the cause of the inhibited development of black communities, then how do we explain the slavery that existed within the African kingdoms before the Europeans got there?
- Slavery was atrocious — I agree. Caucasians have done some bad things — I also agree. But where did we get the notion that this behaviour is in any way unique to Caucasians? How did you think China became one nation? By petitioning the other 6 kingdoms nicely? If you thought the Caucasians were bad, take a gander into Oriental history.
- If Caucasians really wanted to take away the credit from Black People, why does Afrocentric philosophy seem to suggest that they were mostly successful with black people and not with any other race? Doesn’t that strike you as a bit presumptuous?
The first people who shared Afrocentric philosophies with me were actually highly educated Jamaican Rastafarians with Ph.D.s. The more they spoke, the more ludicrous their claims got. Apparently they were inspired by the writings of an early black philosopher, named Marcus Garvey (who is incidentally, considered one of Jamaica’s national heroes). But alas, I digress.
Apparently being educated doesn’t really change your attitude — especially when your Ph.D. is from a black university in New Orleans. More importantly, Afrocentrism is just as inherently flawed as White Supremacy. They are both extreme forms of the Community Delusion, where its instigators have lost track of the fact that we are all Africans modified by our environment.
That is why racism in either direction is inherently stupid. It is the greatest form of implicit self hatred that exists. It is bad enough that white people would not ever forgive themselves for slavery (hence their development of the Politically Correct ideologies) and black people won’t let them forget it. Neither philosophies can possibly get us anywhere as a single human race.
So again, consider the Barreleye fish. If nature can make something as innocuous as a Goldfish for example, but is equally capable of creating another genetic permutation of fish that could survive in such extreme environments, then how much more could man have evolved in equally spectacular fashion as he slowly migrated across the continents over time?
Do you realize the sheer implications of this?
Consider that there were many other species of man. Of the lot, we were the only ones that had survived — all of us that is; including Negros, Caucasians, Asians and every permutation that lies in between. The human phenotypes that exist today are merely a tiny subset of the total genetic capacity of our DNA, by virtue of the fact that older human species once existed.
Consider how many species of fish there are in the ocean. If human beings had a playing field the size of the ocean relative to the size of fish, then one’s imagination can run wild with what other permutations of human are possible. It makes you wonder if the premise behind Stan Lee’s X-Men is really the stuff of fiction, as we are only limited by the size of our playing field!
That’s why when I use words like Caucasian, Asian, Dravidian, Amerindian, Inuit, Negro or any of the other derivatives, I can’t help but feel like I am trapped by the limitations of the historical fallacies inextricably woven into my mother tongue. I use these words only to make the many references that we would otherwise not have to the sheer richness of our diversity.
With that said, the point that deserves reiteration is that we are not Caucasians, Asians, Dravidians, Amerindians, Inuit, Negro or of any of the other names we’ve invented. There’s no point in describing a person as being of African descent — that’s describing the entire human race. Saying that white folk are of European descent or that a Korean or Japanese national is of Asian descent fails for the same reason. Such is the vacuous nature of our folly.
No matter how weird a deep ocean fish may look, you will always know that it is a fish — even if it has a transparent head. Similarly, we always know that we are looking at people, even if their faces are painted, they walk around naked and live in the middle of the Amazon jungle. It’s the same DNA. In roughly 600 years, it won’t matter when we all look more or less alike.
That’s why I believe that we humans at our current level of intellectual maturity are still a little primitive. We are still easily distracted by tiny insignificant things like the colour of our many biological extremities, the differences between our cultures and the function of our languages. Before we can become a space faring race, we first have to learn how to become one race.
Interestingly enough, it was a black man, Dr. Martin Luther King, who once said:
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
For without such a level of enlightenment, we will never be able to truly appreciate the true spectral capacity of nature’s kaleidoscope and thereby the beautiful mosaic that is mankind.
■ E-mail: accordingtoxen[at]gmail[dot]com