Trevor McArthur

Race is too much of a sloppy concept to assist us in answering the coloured question

The “coloured question” revived itself, again. This time, not by politicians hoping to gain sympathy votes from the coloured majority in the Western and Northern Cape provinces. Jamie Petersen, a 22-year-old Cape Town resident, writing about her experiences of “being coloured in a black and white South Africa” sparked this latest wave of the debate. Gushwell Brooks responding to Petersen’s piece suggests that instead of holding onto one’s racial identity — that of being coloured [or not] — we should instead champion a national identity — that of being a South African. Like an older brother, Brooks informs of the internal contradictions and complexities he battles with. To me, it seems, based on his experience, it is a fruitless exercise to invest too much of who (and what?) we are on the colour of our skin (read: race). It seems, to me at least, that Brook’s advice to Jamie comes from a good place and was indeed sincere. Our next respondent, Danielle Bowler, begins to unpack the danger of assuming that a national identity will translate into equality or, better yet, lead to the eradication of racial tension and racism (I assume?). After all, it was in that vein that the “coloured question” resurfaced.

Bowler, in her column titled “Coloured identity and nationalism: no easy answers”, makes important declarations that deserves restating here. She notes, “the entire project of race is built on ignoring, compressing and abandoning difference, to make neat categories of identification. To make everyone the same, even when they are not. Race requires simple boxes to house people’s experiences, and does not easily accommodate the differences within communities that are only natural and inevitable.” I fully agree, and shall proceed from this point in my response to the “coloured question”.

To Brooks, I’m am sure you appreciate that in South Africa our spaces continue to be racialised, and our social ills (such as those you mention) continue to be disproportionally more prevalent among black and coloured communities when compared to Indian and white communities. This reality is a product of colonisation, slavery and apartheid — a fact we concur with. Even though the black majority are no longer enslaved by a minority elite race — though some may argue that 1994 simply replaced a white ruling elite with a black one; that is a debate for another day — the structural ramifications of apartheid remain intact. In light of these realities, I, too, like Danielle Bowler, would caution the prescription of a national identity as the panacea for racism and racial inequality persistent in present day South Africa. It is well argued — and there are many examples elsewhere in the world, but we do not have to travel that far, just look in our very own backyard — the rainbow nation was a dismal disappointment of the liberation. What you fail to engage with is how a national identity (whatever that is) will practically, materially and substantively counter the value and significance we continue to place on race in our individual and/or group identity construction/formation?

To Bowler, I can relate to you when you talk about your “personal rebellion of self classifying as both coloured and black”. I know the feeling all to well and, like you, and I think Jamie too, and possibly even Gushwell, the question “what it means to be coloured” continues to (re)surface in (re)discovering who and what I am. This is a deeply sensitive and personal journey, and at times to talk and write about it triggers emotions — as it does writing this response. It is precisely due to the personal nature of my journey, and, I am sure, that of others who may engage with our discussion, that I am penning my thoughts. I do, however, first want to deal with the concept of race — that seems to central to the idea or the notion of coloured identity in post-apartheid South Africa.

I note with great discomfort the continued reliance on race as a lens through which to view the coloured identit(y/ies). It is even more frustrating to note the convolution of race with culture. For example, almost all commentators writing on this subject mention (but fail to unpack) how many “shades of coloured” there are, and yet each shade has the audacity to lay equal claim to such an identity (irrespective of their shade). Furthermore, authors continue referring to the “things associated with a particular race”, i.e. stereotypical habits and traditions associated with coloured folks, whether it be singing with Judy Boucher after we long passed the legal drinking limits with tears in our eyes (I confess: I do this very often), partaking in die Kaapse Klopsedie Rieldans, or eating Koesiestus (not koeksusters) as part of Sunday morning traditions (before going to church or curing the hangover from singing with Judy Boucher the previous night). I have to confess that these traditions are what I grew up (in Lenteguer, Mitchells Plain) and, even though I have moved up the social ladder, I continue to actively embrace and reject many of these traditions.

Race was never intended to account for the nuances and differences people experience. Race is too much of a nonsensical concept to provide for such tools of analysis. Furthermore, studies on blackness and whiteness (particularly in sociology and anthology) have long since disposed of race (as the primary tool of analysis), and have adopted other theoretical tools to better understand society. Yet, particularly in the South African context, we continue to insist that colouredness (as an example) should be understood through the lens of race. Before I continue, let me state: this does not mean that race is no longer a source of oppression. Even in the so-called “post-racial” America the wheels are falling off. So, I am not suggesting that we ignore race. I am, however, suggesting that we go beyond it.

Going beyond the simplicity that race offers, i.e. that we fit neatly into this or that racial category, allows us to better interrogate the ramifications of colonisation in contexts such as South Africa. I want to propose that we utilise culture as an analytical tool, since it provides us with much more possibilities. Through that lens, answering the “coloured question” makes it possible for me to dare say that colouredness is no different to Zulus or Xhosas. That Xhoi and San, just like Sotho and Xhosa, women were raped by settlers (some may argue to different extents — but that, for now, is irrelevant), and today (many moons later) nobody questions the “legitimacy” of (what we now refer to as) “yellow bones” — that is, light of complexion Xhosa and Sotho chicks or dudes!

Culture accounts for how we are socialised, the values and social norms we hold dear, and which may define us. Culture allows us to consider the teaching and the learning of behaviour, beliefs, traditions, etc. Culture affords us the opportunity to explore the contradictions, the complexities and the nuances of different groups of people in South Africa. Culture, Danielle Bowler, allows you and I to be comfortable with being both black and coloured. Like you say, Bowler, “race requires simple boxes to house people’s experiences”. Indeed, colouredness is complex and, like Gushwell reaffirms, there is no hegemony of what coloured people are. They indeed accept, reject, remake and embody the experience of being coloured in different ways, in different time and spaces, and outside of South Africa. And that is okay!

Race is too much of a sloppy concept to help us understand why South Africa (and many parts of the world) continues to oppress people on the basis of the colour of their skin. In that way, I refuse to engage the “coloured question” through the lens of race (because race essentially is limited to the colour of my skin). Ironically, I am darker than many of my friends who the apartheid government would have classed as black. So, technically, “I am not a proper coloured” — as somebody from my distant past asserted! That’s just it. There is no pure anything. All of us are share an ancestry, some more recent than others.

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    • Richard

      I wonder which “settlers” raped the Khoi or San, embryonic Xhosa and Zulu settlers from the Great Lakes area in Africa, or white settlers from Europe? The word “genocide” has been used to describe the treatment of the indigenous people of this land by Bantu-speakers moving south from further north in Africa.

    • COyZAn

      Come now Richard. I think we all know the answer to that. Here is a clue: they were not black. Sailors at sea for months on end, land with JvR, and I don’t think they had lobola on their minds.

    • MrK001

      Coloured is an artificial construct, because race is an artificial construct. Coloureds are not confused, the census takers and racists are confused, because they don’t know whether to tick off the black box or the white box. I would call that an internal contradiction inherent to the system.

      Are we all ‘coloured’?
      Max du Preez
      2011-03-09 12:40

    • Peter Win

      Indeed, Larens van der Post mentions exactly this point. But it matters not the race: there will always be evil people who prey on physically weaker.
      I do agree with Trevor that race is too simplistic a construct. I am seen as a “colonial” because my forebears came from the UK, Sweden and many other countries. Those countries see me as a South African and deny me entry. Which then is my mother country? The vast majority of my fellow South Africans who say that I am white, therefore privileged and therefore subject to BBEEE sanctions despite many of them having far more wealth than I refuse to see that this is equally racist.
      It’s time we went bak to the agreed meaning of the Constitution :one country, one people, no dividing race constructs. It’s time for South Africans to throw away racial laws segregating society like BBEEE.

      Ultimately, this is no longer an issue of black vs white. That concept is being used by a small group of rulers to maintain power and ill-gotten wealth. It is now about the haves vs the have nots.

      And both Zuma and Malema are very definitely part of the haves…

    • Hlambamanzi

      There is no such thing as Bantu speakers.
      Let us move away from colonial divisive
      policies. It helps none of us to cling to these
      discredited concepts when we are going through
      pains of nation building. We are all Africans and
      indigenous to this continent. I hope we agree that
      the great lakes and table mountain are all in Africa.

    • Pierre Aycard

      There are Bantu speakers of course, that’s even the only case in which this name applies. Originally, it is purely a linguistics term, referring to a certain language family. The name was chosen by a linguist who noticed that all the languages of this family used the same root as the Nguni -ntu, in many different forms such as -tho, -ndu, -nhu, -nthu, etc… to refer to human beings. And this (among many other shared traits) distinguishes the languages referred to from all other languages in Africa and elsewhere.

      The problem is that for 150 years, poor science in anthropology and ethnology, close to racist ideologies, used the term to support a racist discourse. The name has no value at all to describe any cultural link, and hardly any to describe historical links. For instance, there are today some Xhoi tribes speaking Bantu languages, and some people who relate to Bantu tribes from the historical and genetic perspective, but who speak Xhoi languages (they’re not very large groups of people though, but their history and the history of the language they speak today is not the same). But as a concept of linguistics, especially to relate the origin of languages, It is quite accurate, and perfectly neutral. It is equivalent to terms such as germanic, semitic, turkic, or sino-tibetan. And like bantu, those names are only strictly relevant to linguistics. They may be used also by historians, but only for analyses that span on very long periods of time. For more recent history, they are quite useless.

      As for “we are all Africans”, that translates your ideology. It can never diminish the scientific facts of long history, and of the history of languages. Not all Africans are historically, linguistically or genetically as related as you seem to believe.

      So in a word, use these words as you wish, or don’t use them if you prefer. But there is no legitimate reason to blame people if they use those terms accurately for what they mean.

    • Pierre Aycard

      All races are artificial constructs. Somehow, coloureds are more lucky than others, because this fact is obvious to them…

    • Richard

      If you are northern European and you need an organ transplant, you need to seek a donor who is of the same ethnic origin. If you are sub-Saharan African, the same applies. If a skeleton is found, it can be sexed and its ethnicity determined. If you are in hospital, and certain blood tests are performed, your ethnicity will tell the doctors whether you fall within normal parameters. If you are sub-Saharan African, and are living in Europe, your vitamin D levels will likely be too low, and you are much more likely to get diabetes. If you are a sub-Saharan African male, you are much more likely to get prostate cancer because your testosterone counts are higher than other ethnicities, and medical staff need to be more on the alert. If you are sub-Saharan African, your immunology is different from other people because you do not have a Neanderthal admixture, which means you may react differently to antigens. If you are a sub-Saharan African baby, you will develop more quickly physically, than other ethnicities’ babies.

      These are all known, measurable, indicators of ethnicity, and cannot simply be wished away. There are also many others. How are they artificial constructs?

    • Hlambamanzi

      There is no language spoken by Africans called Bantu.
      Just because a linguist chose the term Bantu to facilitate
      his/her research, does not mean that a whole nation or
      communities must be stuck with a label imposed externally.
      It may be a linguistic term and let it stay in the study of
      languages and not to perpetuate an ideology that has brought
      so much mayhem in our continent.
      Muntu/Motho/Nit/ etc. means people. in singular form is umuntu
      and plural form is abantu. All human beings irrespective of where
      they come from are called abantu. The term is derived from an
      ancient African term, Neteru which was a description for Angels.
      My comment is directed to an individual who is peddling an ideology
      that is not helpful to us in rebuilding our country. How are we going
      to move forward if we are stuck to a science that was specifically used
      for diviseness by colonial companies?

    • Pierre Aycard

      Ethnicity is not race. It is the result of concrete history, exactly the same as linguistic diversity. It is totally unrelated to the concept of race, except in wide generalisation practiced in the times when race was presented as natural truth. What you describe for Africa applies for all regions of the world. Even in a small and homogenous population, say the Dutch (even before any foreign migrations in recent times), you will find exactly the variations you point out. Furthermore, from the genetic perspective, you may find less divergence between one particular Frenchman and one particular Zulu man, than between two Frenchmen or between two Zulu men, for instance. SO you would classify it as ethnically different, no problem, but if you classify them as races, you are just letting your eye sensations dictate your understanding, without even getting close to the genetic issue, which, you will agree, would be far more accurate to determine whether races exist, huh? In addition, genetic diversity among human groups works in such a way, that an old group like one Khoikhoi tribe could be seen a pot containing the diversity of almost everybody else on the planet. SO they would racially relate to everybody else, when their ethnic particularity is clear.

      The differentiation you describe on the basis of environment occur in time spans that are much shorter than what would be necessary to speak of races. Neanderthal was a different Homo race, and the time that separates it from Sapiens is 50 times longer than the time separating Sapiens groups from one another.
      Plus, when you name this phenomenon ‘race’, you are just implying that there is a kind of natural or god-given part in it. There isn’t. There are only historical factors, that are still changing today, as history moves forward. If you think of yourself as being defined by what your hypothetical ancestors did 50.000 years ago, you are just denying yourself (and anybody else) the right to be a human being of your own, and you apply to yourself predestination on the basis of… nothing really serious. So do as you wish, but please don’t try to demonstrate your point. It is in essence invalid, and you are mistaking concepts.

    • Pierre Aycard

      The label is imposed on absolutely NO PRESENT NATION at all, except to help understand their long history. Which is done for all nations on earth in the same manner. You are mistaken to associate the meaning of this term with how it was used by apartheid. And you are mistaken to consider the name Bantu has implying the same meaning as abantu. It is unrelated. Let me give you an equivalent example: when we speak of Indo-european languages, it is based on the names India and Europe, none of which even existed when indo-europeans were an actual people… And it is not a problem, as the term refers neither to europeans, nor to indians, who do not even all belong to the Indo-european family…

      What the comment was saying is that at some point, “Bantu-speaking people” migrated South. That means, people who spoke a language belonging to the said Bantu family. It is thus perfectly accurate, or at least more accurate than any other term, as using any ethnic name that you might consider valid, would only result in anachronism. Nobody knows how these people called themselves. Thus, the term Bantu is the best way to refer to them. It is not a Zulu nor a Xhosa term. It was originally used by an English speaker, and it can now be used in ANY language to express the right concept. If you want to refer to the language family when speaking Zulu, you will use the noun Bantu, not abantu. So you will end with something like AbeBantu, which is not originally Zulu, but which would be accurately referring to people who do not exist anymore, and as an extension, to the heritage they left to their descendants in the form of languages.

      “The term is derived from an ancient African term, Neteru”… Sorry, this is a ridiculous statement. I know where it comes from, and it is backed by absolutely no serious evidence at all. It is rather based on a fallacy. Bantu languages are part of a larger family, known as Niger-Congo, in which often the term for humans is not related to -ntu. And this family is suspected to be related to five other African families, but if it is the case, it happened so long ago that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC WAY TO DEMONSTRATE IT. Good science has its limits, and in linguistics, beyond 9.000 BC, it is not science, but mere imagination. Therefore your statement does not reflect knowledge, but only faith… In addition, don’t you see how illogical your reasoning is: on the one hand, you don’t want to allow the use of a term that is neutral and accurate because you apply a different meaning to it on your own; on the other hand, you refer to poor science and undemonstrable things to promote an undemonstrable and ideologically charged reading of history. How do you dare forbidding to use a justifiable concept when you impose unjustifiable ones?

      Let me give you this advice: get interested in Bantu, and the science behind it, and you will find your own pride without needing to refer to Ancient Egypt, with which your ties can only be fantasist.

    • Hlambamanzi

      Richard, what you are describing are physical differences
      due to geographical isolation and climatic conditions amongst
      other things. I know that a host body will reject a donated organ
      based on compatibility issues that are beyond “racial” classification.
      an organ donor need not be of the same “ethnic” group to
      the patient.

    • Richard

      “People from the same ethnic group are more likely to be a close match. Those with rare tissue types may only be able to accept an organ from someone of the same ethnic origin. This is why it’s important that people from all ethnic backgrounds register to donate their organs.”

    • Richard

      In an attempted response to somebody above, I made reference to a book written by Cochran and Harpending, “The Ten Thousand Year Explosion” which is a much more considered volume on this matter than I have read in a long time. In any event, that, together with the findings of Bruce Lahn, explain a great deal.

    • Pierre Aycard

      ” the genetic content of people correlated with their skin colour”
      The way you describe it actually, and the way it is used socially in SA, it is skin colour that matters only, not genes. Now someone who was born from a Black parent and a WHite parent, where do you put them? Like most people who care about race, you will say Black because of skin colour, which is an implementation of the so-called one drop rule of atlantic slavery; or you will fall on cultural bias from racist political orders to classify them as coloureds. Both perspectives are very wrong.

      Other points: the journey to Europe started 125.000, but modern Man mixed with Sapiens not more than 40.000 years ago, and the difference between Neanderthal and Denisov is far from clear. It is clear however than American indigenes bear the Denisov genes, not the neanderthal. Plus, modern Africans (Niger-Congo Blacks basically, as opposed to Pygmees , Xhoixhois and Sans) descned from the very same migration wave you are referring to. Excluding the later mixes between Bantu and Xhoisan due to proximity, Niger-Congos and Europeans are actually closer to each other than they are to the three older African populations.

      Your theory on brain sizes is absolute crap, sorry to tell you. I felt like reading Gobineau…

      “Skin colour is an indication of what genes…etc.” Sorry lad, you are so wrong. I have met a girl who was born from two Black Caribbean parents: she was white-skinned, red-haired, green-eyed, and had freckles. You could never have had any indication of her genetic background from her skin-colour. And you could not either have had an idea of her parents’ genetic heritage just from skin colour. So your point is mere generalisation, and it does not stand close examination. Therefore you are just turning an uneducated guess into a natural rule.

      Skin differentiation has only one base: mixing. You isolate a population of modern Men that do not carry the whole species’ genetic code. You do it with several groups, with a very slightly different genetic heritage. Once genetic diversity has been reduced in each group, you make them meet and breed again: and, miracle, you will see skin, hair and eye pigmentation change. This point is a recent understanding of genetics, and it invalidates previous hypotheses about environmental action. It also leads to a reconsideration of the classification of Neanderthal and Denisov in the human tree.

      Finally, your point about transplants is again biased: no, people of two different groups are not a closer match. The closer match could be done across groups. But there is higher likelihood to find a close match within the same group, which is why they don’t waste time trying to find the perfect match across groups (except in extra-ordinary cases). It’s about optimizing time-use, not about optimizing genetic profiles.

    • Hlambamanzi

      Thank you Richard.

    • Hlambamanzi

      Thanks for the advice however I do not limit myself
      to anything in search of truth. Egypt is an important
      part of Africa like any African country. I find my pride
      in all in all creation especially that linked to my ancestors
      near and far away from where I reside. talking about
      Egypt is not fantasy for me. It is real.

    • MrK001

      ” If you are northern European and you need an organ transplant, you need to seek a donor who is of the same ethnic origin. If you are sub-Saharan African, the same applies. ”

      And then, in 2005, the Human Genome was mapped, and now we don’t need to measure nasal indexes to ‘determine the race’ of a skeleton anymore. We can read their genome instead.

      Most European males have the middle eastern haplogroup R1b.

      Most people who through spread through the Bantu Migrations have male haplogroup E1b1a.

      Adolf Hitler had haplogroup E1b1b.

      So what race did Adolf Hitler belong to?

    • Pierre Aycard

      You really need to revise your concept of Africa. In the times of Ancient Egypt, nobody knew Africa as you know it. Assuming that Egyptians were Africans in the way you understand it now is a big mistake. You know, in the XIXth century, Europeans “demonstrated” that European civilisations were descended from Ancient Egypt, and from the Hebrews, exactly like Diop and his followers “demonstrate” that Black African cultures descend from Egypt…

      It is ridiculous of course to assume that Europe and Egypt have a link, but the Bible was then the only source of knowledge, and given the oriental origins of the Christian religion, they felt like there had to be a link.

      Exactly like you feel there has to be a link between Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa… If you think of Egypt as an African civilisation, think again: it was actually a mediterranean and near-oriental civilisation. Of course it had ties with Nubia and other African region, and many people living in Egypt were from there. But all the cosmogony, the art, the science, or other cultural aspects of Egypt make it a part of the Levant.

      Now if as you believe there is a link between Bantu civilisations and the Egyptian civilisation, then how do you explain that Egyptians were building primitive pyramids when the oldest Bantu ancestors from the Benue valley in Cameroon and Nigeria did not even have cows and goats?

    • Hlambamanzi

      Classical scholars in the times of ancient Egypt knew
      Egypt as I know it today. There is no need for me to revise
      my concept of Africa. Who am I to argue with brilliant
      scholars like Herodatus, Plato, Diodorus and others in their
      descriptions of what they saw as Ancient Egyptians.

      Herodatus in his book, the histories, link the birth of Egypt to
      Ethiopians, who are South of Egypt. No one has to take my
      word in this as everybody can go to the primary sources for
      research. C.F. Volney is very forthright in his description of the
      ancestors of Egyptians: The Ruins Of Empires;(p 15 – 19 ).

      There is a strong link to what you call Bantu civilizations
      and Egyptian civilization in culture and spoken languages.
      Gerald Massey in his works, Ancient Egypt The Light
      Of The World, shows the links which are clear to those
      who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

      This is my brief response to you as my first response
      was removed from the discussions.

    • Pierre Aycard

      Egyptians did not know Africa as the continent you envision today. SImple and Klaar. Herodotos and Plato never met a anyone from a Niger-Congo culture, and they woudl certainly not tell you that Egypt was related to them. ‘Africa’ in Ancient time refers to Egypt and the Machrek, and later also to the Maghreb. Not to anything south of the Sahara (apart from Ethipia and Punt, indeed). SO yes, you need to examine your concept of Africa.

      As for Gerard Massey, you demonstrate exactly the problem with your reasoning: a 19th century scholar who’s work is more about his own belief and prejudices than about hard science respecting a reliable methodology, does not produce knowledge. he produces belief. And that is not to blame Massey, who was just a man of his times. And you demonstrate my point further by implying that the chosen ones with the right eyes and hears will see it, when others won’t… that’s the kind of argument one would get from a sect guru…

      Relating Ancient Egypt with Bantu cultures is against chronology, archeology, anthropology and lingusitics. It is, in a word, against all the good science that has been produced on either Ancient Egypt or Bantus. And some 150 year old work, which does not qualify as good science,

    • Pierre Aycard

      sorry end of my previous post below:

      … can change nothing to the matter. Your entire argument is one of faith, not knowledge, and if you claim to teach about Africa on the basis of such faith, you will only be doing harm, and no good at all.

    • Hlambamanzi

      The “good science” is now being challenged by people who
      are writing their own story. It does not matter whether
      the classical scholars you are quick to dismiss, met anybody
      from Congo or Niger, they documented what they saw
      for future generations. You cannot say they lie about what
      they saw because you were not there as a witness.

      Gerald Massey studied extensively and you have to prove him
      wrong and give your sources for that. Your problem is that
      you simply cannot accept that the ancestors of the people
      you describe as Bantu were the builders of the civilization
      in Egypt. You are quick to tell about the Lavant and near
      oriental yet you fail to recognize a people so close to Egypt
      as responsible for that civilization. Talking about archeology
      and anthropology, does that Science take the Sphinx into
      consideration ?

    • Hlambamanzi

      My argument is based on historical facts you cannot
      prove to be wrong. We are discussing Egypt here
      and not Congo or Niger. Herodatus and Plato spoke
      about what they saw in Egypt. The evidence found
      in ancient monuments support their story.

    • Pierre Aycard

      Their evidence in Ancient monuments supports the fact that a Bantu root -ntu is derived from Ancient Egyptian ?! And I thought you were a serious interlocutor… There were Blacks in the Egyptian culture, yes. It doesn’t there is any relation with you. If you assume it does, then you have to do so along racist lines, such as “all Blacks are a unified coherent race”, or something of that kind…

    • Pierre Aycard

      Exactly. They write THEIR OWN STORY. They don’t write history, and they don’t create reliable knowledge. They just build fantasies on ideological lines, and to support their fantasists ideas about their own identity.
      It’s fine, they have a right to do so. But it is ridiculous to equate that with knowledge and science.

      As for Massey, please try to find out about the last 100 years or so of Egyptology. He was proven wrong a thousand times, by people much more knowledgeable than you or me.

      As for the Sphynx, yes it is taken into account, as far as possible. The latest discoveries indicate that the Sphynx once depicted a Lion, and was later reshape by the Pharaoh Kheops in a purpose of political and religious propaganda.

    • Hlambamanzi

      This has nothing to do with me personally. I asked for your
      resources against Plato, Herodatus and Gerald Massey. I never
      said I am personally related to Egyptians. It is you who assume
      that. I only presented my arguments with research resources.

    • Hlambamanzi

      Who are those people who proved Gerald Massey wrong
      a thousand times? I am interested to know.

      Thank you for the discussion.

    • Pierre Aycard

      There must have been 10.000 egyptologists since Massey… Is it not obvious to you that science progresses and discovers ina 150 years? Or that Massey’s conclusions were based on the biased view of the world that his pre-Victorian society gave him?

      Relying on Massey to understand the meaning of Ancient Egypt’s ruins, is a bit like relying on a White Father missionary to understand the cultural beliefs of pre-colonisation Africa, or like relying on a Spanish conquistador to understand the religious beliefs of the Aztecs… Lthough Massey was genuinely trying to understand. That’s the only positive difference for him.

    • Pierre Aycard

      DO you really need a source to not understand how modern science increases knowledge? Do you really need to be told that Plato did not explore Egypt or what lies further South of it? Come on…