HOW did the misuse of the sciences of Genealogy and Linguistics nearly erase the cultural memory of so-called “Black” people?
And more importantly, how do so-called “Black” people get this memory back?
How do they quit suffering from cultural amnesia?
As in the previous chapters, to know how to solve this problem, you must know how this problem came about in the first place.
First, we’ll examine the role Genealogy has played in this cultural amnesia.
Then we will address an even more sinister abuse of science – linguistics.
When it comes to so-called “Black” people, one of the most significant genealogical roadblocks is what genealogists refer to as the 1870 Brick Wall.
Every ten years, the federal government carries out a U.S. Census to get an accurate account of the countries citizens.
According to the National Archives and Records Administration:
“no notation of slave by name, age, sex, or origination appears.The census lists slaves statistically under the owner’s name.”
Because involuntary slavery was made illegal in 1865, the 1870 Census was the first census to provide detailed information on the so-called “Blacks” — such as their names.
As so-called “Blacks” trace their genealogy backward through time, the majority hit this “Brick Wall” 1870 because they can’t trace census records before that time.
The definition of Genealogy is as follows:
” the study of family ancestral lines.”
The lapse in census records or any records proves to be one of the most significant roadblocks for so-called “Black” people desiring to reconnect with their roots.
This situation is one of the main reasons many believe it is nearly impossible for so-called “Black” people to piece their lost history back together – Just as Abraham Lincoln mentioned in his speech.
Indeed this can be a gut-wrenching, bleak realization for most.
Why weren’t there any records before 1870?
And shouldn’t there be a Bill of Sale for each slave, since slaveholders treated slaves as property?
Or financial ledgers or proof of each slave for voting purposes?
What about the infamous slave ships?
Indeed records of the slave voyages would hold details of each person being captured and transported.
In rare cases, do any of these items help, even if they still exist.
In modern times this is where Genealogy misdirects or stumps 99% of so-called “Black” people.
Society sets a precedence that all others can trace their bloodline backward through documents and records of any sort.
Meanwhile, so-called “Black” people are generally stuck (with a few exceptions of those who can identify Free ancestors).
This “Now to Then” method of tracing the genealogy of so-called “Black” people is highly flawed.
And as many may know, DNA ancestry tests have just as many flaws. But that is a discussion for a future series...
In the next chapter, we offer the reverse - a “Then-to-Now” approach and how it breaks through the dreaded 1870 Brick Wall of slavery..
Three additional sciences have an even more detrimental effect on the so-called “Black” peoples’ cultural amnesia.
The first we’ll tackle now. The other two we’ll deal with in the next and final chapter.
Remember, this series aims to understand HOW many different sciences have been misused in the past--
And how this misuse has caused so-called “Black” people to lose all memory of their authentic culture, history, and ancestry.
And now, let’s address the next science, Linguistics, head-on.
By definition, Linguistics is:
” the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language.”
What we will focus on in this definition is the modification of language.
For the so-called “Black” people, modifications of language have occured in one devastating way:
The modifying of the so-called “Black” people's name...
“I want to hear you say your name?
Your name is Toby!”
This scene is from “Roots,” a 1977 miniseries.
The miniseries dramatizes the story of an African slave in the 13 colonies.
The slave being brutally whipped is Kunta Kinte.
“What’s your name?” asked his new slaveholder.
The slaveholder signals to whip Kunta Kinte.
Until finally, Kunta gives up in exhaustion and says, “Toby… My name is Toby.”
This scene is a simple demonstration of the science of Linguistics (and also Psychology) being used against so-called “Black” people.
What is the purpose of changing a name?
If you take a second and think about it, the "official" name of so-called "black" people changes regularly like clockwork every 20 years or so.
At one point, it was Negro.
Then back to Negro.
Then African American.
And back to Black.
Have you ever wondered why?
Why was the name of so-called “Blacks” “beaten” out of them in the first place?
And what is the proper name of the so-called “Black” people?
In less than 4 minutes, this simple but profound question is explored (and in essence answered) in a short visual entitle “What Shall We Call Him.”
Please take a few minutes to watch it.
We will expand on some of the key elements discussed in the rest of this chapter.
Many so-called “Blacks” have recently begun taking notice of this alarming trend concerning their naming convention.
And this is in part why we are using the term so-called “Black.”
Because we at Amexem know for a fact that these people aren’t “Negro, Black, or Colored Folks”
We know these are marks put upon Moors of northwest by the European nations.
More about “Moors” in a bit…
But what about African Americans?
According to Ben L. Martin’s article “From Negro to Black to African American: The Power of Names and Naming”, Jessie Jackson is said to have stated the following in his proposal for the use of “African American”:
“Every ethnic group in this country has a reference to some land base, some historical, cultural base… … There are Armenian-Americans and Jewish-Americans and Arab-Americans and Italian-Americans; and with a degree of accepted and reasonable pride, they connect their heritage to their mother country and where they are now.”
Although Jessie Jackson was headed in the right direction in recognizing the use of nationality for others, he was unfortunately still missing the major mark for the so-called “Black” people.
Because African American is NOT a nationality.
Africa is a continent made up of many nations, not a nation of people itself.
This misconception is yet another way the Linguistics has been misused against so-called “Black” people --
Using it erased the cultural memory of the so-called “black” people, making them amnesiacs.
Nationality by definition is:
“a people having a common origin, tradition, and language and capable of forming or actually constituting a nation-state.”
By erasing their proper name, the so-called “Black” people have no connection to a nationality.
And so they’re also disconnected from their true land, traditions, language, and their ancestors.
Let’s go a bit deeper into linguistics to understand better how this malicious use of science occurs.
Another fundamental science under the umbrellas of Linguistics is Etymology:
“the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.”
Through the science of etymology, we can better understand how linguistics and the changes in names and word usage occurred.
Before we move forward, understand this:
Etymology doesn’t deal more so with the definition or meaning of words.
It deals with the use of words throughout history.
It lays out the history of word usage throughout the world, throughout recorded time.
Here’s an example:
Remember in Chapter 2 when we mentioned how the borders of Africa were once within the red region on the map below?
Instead of this?
The etymology of Africa makes this plain:
“Latin Africa (terra) “African land, Libya, the Carthaginian territory, the province of Africa; Africa as a continent,” fem. of adjective Africus, from Afer “an African,” a word of uncertain origin. The Latin word originally was used only in reference to the region around modern Tunisia; it gradually was extended to the whole continent.
This map bears witness to the history of the name “Africa” originating from a smaller North Africa territory.
In another source, the etymology of African states:
The ancient people of North Africa.
Both scientific etymologies paint a drastically different picture than most think when they hear the name “Africa.”
So are so-called “Blacks” Africans?
And if so, does “African” mean descending from the continent of modern “Africa,” or does it mean descending from North Africa?
Or could it mean even more?!
This example is just one of many examples of how the sciences of linguistics and etymology have been misused to bring about amnesia and confusion in the minds of so-called “Black” people.
One final example.
This example hits at the heart of the problem, so pay close attention.
98% of the etymology of “Black” shows that Black, according to the science of etymology, means evil, wicked, and death.
The only reference to human identity states:
“The meaning “dark-skinned person, African” is from 1620s (perhaps late 13c., and blackamoor is from 1540s).”
With “black” alone, there is no connection with a nation – there is no nationality.
Let’s go further.
“dark-skinned person, black-skinned African,” 1540s, from black (adj.) + Moor”
With “blackamoor”, we still have no connection to a nation.
But “Moor” reads:
“North African, Berber, one of the race dwelling in Barbary,” late 14c., from Latin Maurus “inhabitant of Mauretania”
Finally, with the identity of the name “Moor,” we arrive at a genuine connection.
Identifying as Moorish is much more definitive AND informative than identifying as so-called “Black”.
And through this backward approach, you can see how over time, the misuse of the “Black” word “transformed” a Moor into a mere “Negro” or so-called “Black” person.
“…know that they are not Negroes, Colored Folk, Black people or Ethiopians, because these names were given to slave by slaveholders in 1779 and lasted until 1865 during the time of slavery. But this is a new era of time now…”
– The Moorish Science Temple of America, The Divine Constitution, and By-Laws.
"America had no Negroes, only subjugated, oppressed and amnesiatic MOORS.” – Dr. Jose Pimienta Bey
With all this, we’ve still only scratched the surface.
These are just a hand full of examples to demonstrate how linguistics and etymology have been misused to completely erase the so-called “Black” people’s memory of their culture, language, and history.
– A menacing move to strip them of their nationality.
So far, we’ve covered Geography, Archaeology, Linguistics, and Etymology as a few examples of how the abuse of science has wiped the cultural memory of so-called “Black” people.
In the next and final chapter, we go into one of the most sinister abuses of science used against so-called “Black” people.
And we offer solutions to offset this.