Must not mention racial details of Egyptians

A famous ancient Egyptian -- with hat

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has come under fire on social media after making a racially insensitive tweet.

Mr Murdoch struck a wrong note minutes ago after offering his opinion on the casting controversy surrounding the 2014 film 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.

Under his authenticated Twitter handle @rupertmurdoch, the media mogul wrote: "Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are."

Predictably, the tweet went down like a tonne of bricks, but still determined to get his point across Mr Murdoch followed the original tweet with: "Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves."

After a barrage of criticism, which included some users telling Mr Murdoch to "drop dead", the News Corp chairman relented, tweeting: "Okay, there are many shades of colour. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!"


Rupert was perfectly right.  Arabs ARE white -- a little swarthy, like most Mediterranean people, but a long way from black.

I suppose the issue is whether the ANCIENT Egyptians were white but we have rather a lot of paintings from ancient Egyptian tombs which show Egyptians as light brown (suntanned?) and many of their slaves  -- Nubians -- as black -- as black as modern Africans.  So there definitely was a color divide and it was not favorable to blacks.

 So the ancient Egyptians may have been a bit darker than modern-day Arab Egyptians but they were sun-worshippers in part so it may have been religiously correct to portray them with suntans.  In which case what we see in the tomb paintings may simply be suntanned versions of a Mediterranean skin.  Tanned skin does after all have a following to this day.

Note also that the ancient world seems to have been very little concerned about race.  People from all over the empire became Roman emperors, for instance.  There may therefore have been some occasions when the ancestors of African blacks rose to positions of influence in ancient Egyptian society.  If Obama is good enough  for modern-day America, why not another black for Pharaoh?

It was of course religion, not race, that mattered most to the ancient world and that was true up until fairly recently.  The first set of writings that obsessed about race that I know of is the correspondence between Karl Marx and his disciple Friedrich Engels.  And the obsession of America's Democrats with race also goes back to around the mid-19th century.

A 19th century election poster

Even Houston Stewart Chamberlain, writing in the late 19th century, who is sometimes claimed as the main theorist behind Nazism, in fact thought that it was only out of racial mixture that the gifted could be created. He considered that the evidence of this was provided by the Prussian, whom he saw as the superman, resulting from a cross between the German and the Slav. From this Chamberlain went on to argue that the sum of all these talented people would then form a "race," not of blood but of "affinity."  Not very racist in the modern sense.

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