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Runoko Rashidi
Occupation historian, research specialist, writer, world traveler, Activist

Runoko Rashidi is a late-20th c. historian, researcher, writer, world traveler, and public lecturer based in Los Angeles. He focuses on the African presence globally and what he claims to be the African foundations of world civilizations. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, and has coordinated historic educational group tours to India, Aboriginal Australia, the Fiji Islands and Southeast Asia as well as Egypt and Brazil. His academic focus is in "the Black foundations of world civilizations". Many of these claims are incorrect, however, as evidenced by various anthropologic studies.[1][2][3]

Contents

Countering Eurocentrism

Rashidi rejects the claims by European anthropologists that the Negritos, Australoids, Negroids and Arabian Mediterraneans are separate races.[4] He claims that they are all "Africoid" or "Black".[4] He believes European anthropologists have used "unscientific" and "invalid" methods and that their work was "racially motivated" to divide people who were clearly Africoid in race.[4] He cites Cheikh Diop's statement on race.[4]

A racial classification is given to a group of individuals who share a certain number of anthropological traits, which is necessary so that they not be confused with others...It is the physical appearance which counts...Now, every time these relationships are not favorable to the Western cultures, an effort is made to undermine the cultural consciousness of Africans by telling them, "We don't even know what a race is."...It is the phenotype which as given us so much difficulty throughout history, so it is this which must be considered in these relations.[4]

Professional Associations

In 1979 Rashidi was a founding member of Amenta, in 1980 of the Southern Cradle Research Organization, in 1984 of the Egyptian Civilization Monitoring Committee and in 1985 the Africans/Ali Mazuri Monitoring Committee.[5] In 1987 he inaugurated the First All-India Dalit Writers Conference in Hyderabad, delivering an address on 'The Global Unity of African People'.[5] From 1981 to 1984 Rashidi worked on African history at Compton Community College, Compton, California and from 1985 to 1987 he worked for the National Black Computer Network as history editor. Rashidi has contributed regularly to the Journal of African Civilizations.[5]

Activism

Since 1986, he has worked actively with the Dalits .[5] In 1987, he was a keynote speaker at the first All-India Dalits Writer's Conference, held in Hyderabad, India, and spoke on the "Global Unity of African People."[5] In 1998, he returned to India to lecture, study and sojourn with the Dalits and Adivasis (the indigenous people of India).[5] In 1999, he led a group of seventeen African-Americans to India. He was the first non-Indian to be honored with the prestigious Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Award. [5]

Blacks of the World

Rashidi identifies what he calls a "global African community" of the Africoid race.[6] Rashidi considers the terms "black" and "African" to be synonymous.[7] Rashidi considers the Africoid race to be the first race in the world. [6]If the first human migrations out of Africa have retained their Africoid appearance, then he considers them also to be Africoid.[6] Rashidi cites Cheikh Anta Diop in the identification of two major Africoid races: one with wooly hair, broad flat nose, thick everted lips and the other with straight hair, aquiline nose, thin lips, and high cheekbones.[6] Diop considers the latter type of black to include Dravidians and Nubians[6], but the contention that Dravidians are African is not supported by modern genetic studies.[1][8][9]

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First Asians

Rashidi claims that the first Asians were Negrito Africoid people with kinky hair, yellow to dark brown skin and short stature.[10] In his words, they were "the supreme lords of the earth" with "monumental civilizations" of advanced technology.[10] Next, Afro-Australoids migrated into Asia 50,000 years ago.[10] These Afro-Astraloids can still be found among the Gonds, Mundas, Veddoids and Kolarians of Sri Lanka and South India.[10] These Australoids turned into the Mongoloid race by a process "only vaguely understood".[10] The genetic distance between Africans and Asians is, however, even greater than the distance between Europeans and Africans,[11] which suggests that Asians are probably not African.

Rashidi's only claim which is supported by modern anthropology and genetic studies is the one that the Adivasi people in India are of Australoid stock.[12] The contention, however that the indigenous Adivasi tribes of India built "monumental civilizations" or contributed significantly to Indic civilization is unlikely, given that today they remain unassimilated and primitive compared to non-tribals in India.[13]

Southeast Asia

Rashidi claims the Khmer were an Africoid racial group in Southeast Asia who were renowned for their scholarly work.[10] They lived in Myanmar, Kampuchea, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam only to be replaced by Mongoloids.[10] Rashidi claims Southeast Asian culture owes its heritage to its first Africoid inhabitants.[10] Given, however the significant genetic distance between Southeast Asians and Africans,[14] this contention is likely incorrect: conflicting evidence supplied by genetic studies[15][16] show that the Southeast Asians, except the Adivasi people,[12] are dissimilar to Africans and therefore an African or Australoid presence in Southeast Asia would have been unlikely.

Blacks in Egypt

Rashidi claims that Egyptians have the same craniofacial measurements as people in Central Africa.[17] He considers designation of these peoples as "Mediterranean" by previous anthropologists to be "ethnocentric". [17]

Blacks in the Arabian Peninsula

Rashidi claims that the Veddoids were the original black inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula.[17] Rashidi considers the possibility that prophet Muhammed may have been partially black.[17]

Blacks in India

Rashidi claims that the Dravidians and Siddi of India are part of the black race [18] He claims that until 3500 years ago the Dravidians had a technologically advanced society that was well-known in the ancient world.[6] These black Dravidians portrayed their gods as blacks and portrayed evil beings with white skin.[6] He claims the Aryans were "barbarian" whites who enslaved the indigenous black Dravidians in the caste system after they stole the advanced technology of the Dravidians[18] 3500 years ago.[6]

However, the contention that Dravidians are of African stock is not supported by established geneticists such as Cavalli-Sforza of Stanford and Carleton S. Coon, both of whom consider the South Asians to be primarily Caucasoid with minor Australoid influence.[19][20] Other genetic studies like those conducted by the CSH Genome Research[21] show that Indians are genetically closer to Asians than to Europeans, however, a consistent conclusion made by these studies is that Dravidians are not African.

Quotes

"History is a light that illuminates the past, and a key that unlocks the door to the future." --Runoko Rashidi

Further reading

  • van Sertima, Ivan (1989). Egypt Revisited. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-88738-799-3 (an Afrocentrist volume "on the race and origin of the ancient Egyptians' black dynasties and rulers, Egyptian science and philosophy, and great Egyptologists".

References

  1. ^ a b Robert Jurmain, Lynn Kilgore, Wenda Trevathan, and Harry Nelson. Introduction to Physical Anthropology. 9th ed. (Canada: Thompson Learning, 2003)
  2. ^ The Races of Europe. Greenwood:USA, 1972 ISBN 0837163285 p.2
  3. ^ "Genetic Evidence on the Origin of Indian Caste Populations". CSH Genome Research. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. March 22, 2001. http://genome.cshlp.org/content/11/6/994.full.  
  4. ^ a b c d e Rashidi, Runoko. Indigenous peoples of Africa and the America. "The African Presence in Ancient Asia: An Introduction and Overview." September 2, 2007. [1]
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Africa within. "Profile of a Pan-Africanist Scholar." 2007. September 2, 2007. [2]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Rashidi, Runoko. The Global African Community. "The African Perspective in India." 1998. September 2, 2007. [3]
  7. ^ The Global African Community. "Abstract of a Slide Presentation Lecture." 2007. September 2, 2007. [4]
  8. ^ The Races of Europe. Greenwood:USA, 1972 ISBN 0837163285 p.2
  9. ^ "Genetic Evidence on the Origin of Indian Caste Populations". CSH Genome Research. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. March 22, 2001. http://genome.cshlp.org/content/11/6/994.full.  
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Rashidi, Runoko. Black Herbals. "The African Roots of Humanity and Civilization." September 2, 2007. [5]
  11. ^ Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. Genes, peoples and languages. Scientific American. November 1991
  12. ^ a b Balgir, RS and Dash, BP and Murmu, B. (2004). "Blood groups, hemoglobinopathy and G-6-PD deficiency investigations among fifteen major scheduled tribes of Orissa, India". Anthropologist 6: pp. 69--75. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&cites=1442977052456102143.  
  13. ^ Encyclopaedia of primitive tribes in India, Volume 1. P. K. Mohanty
  14. ^ Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. Genes, peoples and languages. Scientific American. November 1991
  15. ^ Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. Genes, peoples and languages. Scientific American. November 1991
  16. ^ Salter, F.K. Population and Environment, 24(2):111-140. November, 2002.
  17. ^ a b c d Rashidi, Runoko and Ivan Van Sertima. African Presence in Early Asia. Transaction Publishers:1995. ISBN 0887387179
  18. ^ a b Rashidi, Runoko. The Global African Community. "The African Presence in India:A Photo Essay." 1998. August 20, 2007. [6]
  19. ^ Robert Jurmain, Lynn Kilgore, Wenda Trevathan, and Harry Nelson. Introduction to Physical Anthropology. 9th ed. (Canada: Thompson Learning, 2003)
  20. ^ The Races of Europe. Greenwood:USA, 1972 ISBN 0837163285 p.2
  21. ^ "Genetic Evidence on the Origin of Indian Caste Populations". CSH Genome Research. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. March 22, 2001. http://genome.cshlp.org/content/11/6/994.full.  

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