When I was in high school, there was this Italian kid that I used to tease all the time because he had just that year in, like, 9th grade discovered that Egypt was in Africa.
“You know what that means, don’t you?” I’d say with a leer.
“Don’t say it, Byers,” he’d warn.
I’d just laugh. The sad thing was, I didn’t know at the time about Hannibal the Carthaginian general and his spectacular victories in Spain and Italy or else I’d have really given that kid the business.
Hell, the only reason I knew that Egypt was in Africa was because I’d come across it in the encyclopedia.
They damn sure didn’t teach me that in school.
Interestingly enough, when I found myself enjoying Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Ought To Be way more than I ever figured I would, the one point of contention that immediately stuck in my craw was the fact that Rush went out of his way to say that Egyptians weren’t Black.
I wondered why, if true, was writing that even necessary? Was his next sentence going to be about how corpses weren’t alive?
Sure, nobody wants to think that any advanced civilizations came out of Africa.
But deeper than that, I actually think that one of the main reasons that a Eurocentric view of history is so stringently enforced upon all of us especially Black people is to mitigate the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade by suggesting every so subtly, that hey, if it wasn’t for us, you people wouldn’t even know there was a rest of the world!
This, despite the fact that ancient western and southern African artifacts have been discovered all over the globe.
In fact, as almost everybody knows by now, Europeans were dead last into the so-called “New World” and then had the nerve to turn around and claim they discovered it.
That’s like finishing dead last in the 100 sprints and then demanding (and getting!) the gold medal!
So should Black people even care about the turmoil going on right now in Egypt because their President Hosni Mubarak is refusing to step down after nearly 30 years of what’s increasingly looking like autocratic rule?
Of course we should.
Those are our people.