AfriGeneas Africa Research Forum
Genealogy and African-American Ancestry
Discussion of Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and Joseph Graves presentations with john powell,Waneda Muhammad, Brikti Hiwet, Chiyedza Nyahuye, and the audience
Gwendolyn Midlo Hall: Over the last decade or longer, I have been upset by a tendency in academia to say there's no biological race or that race is a construction, and nobody should even say the word any more. This is a form of denial because there is the construction of biological race and there is social race. Those who were denying race altogether were fleeing from the fact that social race is there and strong and powerful, and in many ways, stronger than ever.
Another point that's been raised a few times here is the issue of Africans tearing each other apart. I am just finishing up a book going back to the slave trade period and just finishing research about the Congo area. There were the Portuguese, people from the island of St. Thomas, missionaries from different missionary orders, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, the British - all of them collecting clients among Africans to help them and support them, all of them instigating warfare. Slave traders followed the soldiers on the battlefield like vultures, buying slaves. When you talk about the recent history of the Congo and Angola, you had Soviets, the Americans, the French… all of them were buying up clients and fighting wars in Angola and in the Congo area, on the soil of Africa, at the expense of Africans. And they were all selling arms, and they're still doing it, vast numbers of arms. I am not saying that Africans have no responsibility for this any more than I would say that impoverished young people have no responsibility for getting involved in the drug traffic in this country. People have responsibility for themselves, and they have to face th situation they're in and overcome it as a community. But it is not proper or accurate to look at the Africans fighting among themselves and killing each other and saying look at these benighted Africans