Letter to Mary Leftkowitz
November 11, 1996
Professor Mary Leftkowitz
Dear Dr. Leftkowitz:
I finished your book, Not Out of Africa, and found myself greatly reassured that there are academicians who pursue the truth in the transcendental way. I enclose some of my materials which I thought may be of some interest to you.
I keep telling my colleagues that Western Civilization just will not let untruth pass because it is wrong to do so -- and, furthermore, no good can come from untruths.
Another reflection was: There can be no greater inferiority than someone believing an untruth because it is a waste of one's life. Indeed, one is "not inferior" only by engaging with and living genuine truths!
It seems to me that "black as a race" is a forced fraudulent concept because color is terribly imprecise -- in face, so imprecise that it is irrelevant. I was struck by your description that the Greeks paid no attention to color and that color was irrelevant to them because, it seems obvious from your description, that they considered one's "national" (city/state) developmental origins to be determinant of one's "race." But the Afrocentrists seem incapable of making the leap that their identification of color was nothing during the time of which they are talking. They are really imposing a judgment predetermined for themselves onto those of the past in an extremely inappropriate way and whatever "black" means now, it IS NOT what it meant then.
The calculating, prideful, ego-inflating pretension that Greek accomplishments were stolen from Egypt is a "hoist with one's own petard," as Afrocentric scholars DO what they claim was done. If there is anyone who is undergoing a process of misappropriating and stealing from others, the Afrocentrists should just look in the mirror. This stolen legacy theme is fact for today and fantasy for yesterday.
And is it true today that Egyptian scholars agree with the assertion that their ancestors were subSaharian Africans?? I heard an Egyptian professor of medicine give a totally medical talk, but in the question-and-answer period, he was asked by a Negro doctor something about "his African ancestry." This evoked a remarkable, civilized response from the Egyptian doctor which I cannot duplicate well except as an "I am unwilling, as all my countrymen, to get into the still unresolved tensions in the United States and I and my fellow Egyptians have no interest because in no way could we or our ancestors be considered germane to the question." I interpreted that as an essential denial of subSaharian linkage? I would be eager to have your response.
It may be helpful to point out in your efforts that the whole "African" stuff is an illogical, meaningless, garbled mess. Tell this "African" stuff to the Tutsis and Hutus! Really -- tribes living miles apart for centuries still hate each other irrationally. And I have been told that Americans dressed in African garb is pure derangement -- it is like a guy wearing a Michigan hat, Ohio State pants, Florida State shoes, University of Southern California shirt and a Notre Dame jacket -- claiming he is a student of the NCAA.
Finally, I must express my delightful shock at learning that culture was a more important factor than skin color for racial characteristics in ancient Greece. My own material enclosed proposes that one's genuine race is one's own national developmental origins -- more precisely, one's race is one's citizenship lived -- and it would seem to me that this is what the early Greeks perceived. As G.K. Chesterton said in so many words: "There is nothing really new but only things newly re-discovered" -- and the decision must be as to whether they were worth discovering or better been left forgotten. I believe that "race" is a fiction (see my articles enclosed) unless seen as one's national culture of origin as lived . . . for, more specifically, we are the American race -- anyone of any color or any other characteristic embracing and living American citizenship as best they can. Anything else is at best irrelevant and at worst destructive.
It is refreshing to read your material. I hope my meager response enclosed may be of some value and some support in your own efforts.
P.S. Are the pictures of ancient Egyptians at Fayum any help??
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