The following is Professor Clarkes response to:
"Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars"
A DISSENTING VIEW
John Henrik Clarke
John Henrik Clarke is Professor Emeritus of African World History
(Department of Africana & Puerto Rican Studies) Hunter College, New York.
He is the author of Notes for an Afican World Revolution, Christopher Columbus
and the African Holocaust African People in World History, the editor of
Malcolm X The Man and His Times and several other
In reference to the OP-ED of Henry Louis Gates Jr. the New York Times
(Monday, July 20, 1992), entitled "Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars," I
am raising the following questions: At once, I questioned the title of
Professor Gates' article. He should never refer to anyone as a demagogue
unless he's ready to call the names of the demagogues, singular or plural,
and point out the nature of their demagoguery. He should never refer to any
scholar as being pseudo, unless he is ready to name the scholar and prove
the pseudo nature of his or her work. To disagree with a scholar does not
make the scholar a demagogue.
Most of the old and new Black scholars asking for a total reconsideration of
African history, in particular, and world history, in general, are using
neglected documents by radical White Scholars who are generally neglected by
the White academic community.
In African history I am referring to scholars like Gerald Massey and his
work, Egypt, Light of the World, (two volumes), The Book of the Beginnings,
(two volumes) and Natural Genesis, (two volumes).
I am also referring to Gerald Massey's greatest English disciple, Albert
Churchward, whose book, The Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, asks for a
reconsideration of the role of people outside of Europe and their role in
Your attention should also be called to the work, Anacalypsis, two volumes
by Godfrey Higgins, published in 1837. These books deal with the dispersions
of African people throughout the world.
Many of these Black scholars, whose work Professor sor Gates questioned,
were reading works by Whites in French, German and other languages that
about African American achievement long before Mr. Gates' parents were born.
This school of Black scholars are neither demagogues nor are they pseudos;
they are the
forerunners of the present propagators of Afrocentricity. They know what
Professor Gates doesn't seem to know: that African people are the most
written about and the
least understood people in the world.
If Professor Gates has not read the works of the White pioneer scholars
about the role of African people in world history, it stands to reason that
he has no understanding of the senior Black scholars such as Yosef
ben-jochannan, John G. Jackson, Cheikh Anta Diop, Jacob Carruthers,
Chancellor Williams, Lao Hansberry and myself.
Professor Gates' reference to Black anti-Semitism is an exaggeration. A new
Black awareness is causing Blacks, young and old, to question everything
that has any influence on their lives. We are realizing that Jewish people
have an influence on our lives far out of proportion to their numbers in the
population. I totally disagree with Professor Gates that anti-Semitism among
Whites is on the wane in the country. Quite the contrary, I think it is
increasing in this country and in the world, and Black people are not the
cause of it.
What you have in this new charge of Black and. Semitism against Blacks is
the most pathetic of all tragedies, a scapegoat looking for a scapegoat.
Because of Black Americans' reading or misreading of the Bible, we have
always had a sentimental attachment to Jewish people and, to a large extent,
most of us still do.
During slavery, we wanted to attach ourselves to a people who had escaped
from bondage. So, the Exodus story in the Bible became more real to us than
to the Jewish people. Right now, in a large number of Black Baptist
churches, you can get a large number of the congregation to shed real tears
of sympathy over the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. Most of them
dare not question whether this is folklore or fact.
There are well over 300 organized White hate groups in the United States. I
know of no overt attacks by the Jews being made on any of them. Yet, Jewish
people have attacked Louis Farrakhan more than they have attacked the
leaders of the Aryan Nation or the American Nazi Party. Are the Jews in
America looking for an easy victory or the Truth.? Black Americans have
never been their enemy. And they, the Jews, have never been our friends
unless it was to their convenience.
Neo-Nazism has fully re-emerged in Germany and in other states in Europe.
These are people with a nation structure and armies. Why is it that a group
of weak Black Americans are getting more attention from the Jews than these
powerful White forces rising against them?
I'm sorry that Professor Comet West saw fit to make a statement about this
false charge of Black anti-Semitism. I could agree with his statement if the
statement were true. What Black people are realizing in this country, in the
Caribbean Islands and in Africa is that the Jewish people, of European
descent, are a part of the world apparatus of European control. And, in the
matter of White control over the world, their position is no different than
that of other Europeans. I am not saying that the Jews of Europe are more
bent on world dominance than other Europeans; I am saying that they are not
radically different from other Europeans in this regard. Internal disputes
between the Jews and other Europeans is a form of European domestic racism.
European racism has spent itself out outside of Europe. During the Nazi
regime in Germany, that racism turned inward on itself and created what is
referred to as The Holocaust. This was a problem started in Europe by
Europeans that should have been resolved in Europe by Europeans.
Repeatedly I have said that Europeans are geniuses at draining the diseased
pus of their political sores on the lands of other people. What is now being
called anti. Semitism among a newly awakened Black intellectual class is
that they are beginning to took at the people referred to as Jews as Part of
the totality of European world dominance. We are not saying that the
European who is a Jew is any more of an imperialist than any other of the
Europeans, but that he is basically the same. We are not saying that the
role of the Jews in the slave trade was any different then any other
Europeans, but that it was basically the same. When they saw the opportunity
to make money in the slave trade, they took advantage of this opportunity
the same as other Europeans in the same business.
I do not choose to deal with Jesse Jackson's opportunistic appearances at
the World Jewish Congress and the statements that he made. Jesse Jackson has
his own agenda that is unrelated to the Liberation Movement of his own
people. He was catering to his Jewish audiences for reasons unrelated to
Black people and their liberation movements.
Black people are becoming increasingly conscious of people who exploit their
community and hold them in contempt We make no exceptions when these
exploiters are non-European.
In referring to present-day anti-Semitism and the attempt to trace it to
having roots in Christianity, Professor Gates shows his lack of
understanding of the manifestation of Christianity among American Blacks and
how that interpretation of this religion is part of their humanity. Their
interpretation, in no way, relates to anti-Semitism.
I wonder if Professor Gates would explain the words in the Negro spiritual:
Go down Moses ...
To let my people go.
or the words:
My home is over Jordan.
This is African identification with the Biblical people of the Hebrew faith.
It would help if Professor Gates would read a towering masterpiece in three
volumes by James Fraser, The Folklore in the Old Testament and another
contemporary book, Hebrew Myths, edited by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai.
I do not think that Professor Gates completely read Michael Bradley's The
Iceman Inheritance before referring to it because in it Michael Bradley has
very little to say about the Jews. The book, in essence, is about the rise
of a certain kind of temperament that changed the world-the European
Personality. This personality has shown little or no respect for
civilizations, cultures and ways of life that it did not create. Cultures
and people that the European did not understand were declared primitive.
In the last 500 years especially, European historians have inferred, or said
outright, that the world waited in darkness for the Europeans to bring the
light. In fact, the Europeans destroyed more civilization than they ever
created. They destroyed civilizations that were already old before Europe
Michael Bradley was characterizing the Europeans as "Icemen" is not totally
incorrect, if it is incorrect at all. I wrote the Introduction to the new
edition of this book, because I considered the book to be of some
significance in explaining the origin of racism. I did not say the book was
a masterpiece of the greatest achievement in writing. It was good basic
research and bold honesty about Europeans' beginnings and the impact of
racism on the broader world. I have also written the Foreword to another
book by Michael Bradley that will be even more controversial, Chosen People
>From The Caucasus: Jewish Origins, Delusions Deceptions, and Historical in
the Slave Trade, Genocide Cultural Colonization. (Third World Press,
My writing on Black-Jewish relationships is not new. I participated in
forums on this subject in the old Harlem History Club in the 30s. In my
latest book, Notes for an African World Revolution: Africans at the
Crossroads, (Africa World Press, Trenton, 1991), Chapter Four is called
'Africa, Zionism, and Friends Without Friendship." This is an analysis of
500 years of African-Jewish relationships. I am not writing about an
historical Black-Jewish affiance, because the one often referred to is a
myth. There can be no successful alliance between weak people and strong
There have been times when it was to the best interest of the Jews to
support certain Black causes, and they have supported diem. When it was no
longer in their interest, they withdrew from diem. The Jewish people have
practiced what all people on this earth have a right to practice the
essential selfishness of survival.
Indeed, I have criticized multiculturalism and Jewish control over the
education system in New York City and the education system in the United
States, in general, especially the Teachers Union. Jews have had no
compunction in fighting for a holocaust curriculum. And in many schools it
is mandated and Black students must learn about the Holocaust before they
learn about their own history.
Over the years, I have said repeatedly I am not willing to argue whether
Hitler killed 6,000,000 or six He was wrong if he only killed six I think he
committed one of the greatest crimes in history.
No human being would ever approve of this crime. If we are honest about
historical information, we would know that the mass murder and what is
referred to as the Holocaust was a small event in comparison to other mass
murder events in history. The Belgians killed three times more people than
this in the Congo. In an island near Australia called Tasmania, the British
killed every man, woman and child. In the years of the slave trade, Africa
lost, over one hundred million people. For every African captured, three
were killed. The Arab slave trade in East Africa that started a thousand
years before the European Atlantic slave trade and the Atlantic slave trade
that lasted approximately 300 years was a holocaust against African people,
which started 500 years ago and is not completely over to this day.
If the four policeman in Los Angeles had been beating a dog instead of
Rodney King, they would have been put on trial and convicted. It is time to
speak of the Great Holocaust in history. The European holocaust, I repeat,
was small in comparison to some of the others.
When Professor Gates refers to me as the paterfamilias of the Afrocentric
movement," I'm not too clear about whether this is a compliment or a thinly
veiled insult. I did not go to the dictionary to look up the words because I
never use dollar words in 25 cents situations. But, as a matter of fact, my
interest in African history and world history in general started when I was
a Baptist Sunday School teacher in Columbus, Georgia, where I grew to early
manhood. I could not find the image of my people in the Bible, so I began
the search through the literature of the world until I found them and
learned why some people considered it a necessity to leave African people
out of the respectful commentary of history. I became active in the old
Harlem History Club at the Harlem YMCA soon after arriving in New York City
at the age of 18 in 1933.
The study of African history, culture and politics and world history in
general has been the all-prevailing passion of my existence. It is something
I do, like breathing is something I do.
I think too much fuss has been made of the case of Professor Jeffries who
has said nothing that he cannot document. It is too often forgotten that
most of the information Professor Jeffiies gave on the slave trade was taken
from Jewish writers.
The book, The Grandees, by Steven Birmingham, set his search in motion. He
read large numbers of documents over and beyond that book, such as more
revealing books by Professor Ben-ram Wallace Korn: Jews and Negro Slavery in
the Old South 1789-1865, (1961), and The Early Jews of New Orleans, (1969).
The story of Aaron Lopez of Newport, Rhode Island, is too well-known to be
Conrad Muhammad and Kahlid Kahfah are not intellectual cohorts with
Professor Jeffries. I doubt if he's met either one of them. Neither one of
these men belong to the academic community, nor is either one well read
enough to be classified as a scholar. They are mainly Moslem zealots; not
too different from zealots of other religions.
I have no argument for or against the Learned Protocols of the Elders of
Zion. I have not been able to authenticate it one way or the other. If
someone assures me that it is a piece of fiction, I am not prepared to
Professor Gates' complaint about the book, The Secret Relationship Between
Blacks and Jews seems without justification. The book is no masterpiece. It
is a competent piece of research. The documentation is good. Instead of
complaining about the footnotes, Professor Gates should read some of the
footnotes and the books they refer to; especially he should read the works
of Professor Bertram W. Korn, an able Jewish scholar whose writings about
the role of American Jews in the slave trade is most revealing. Professor
Gates should also learn that neither Blacks nor Jews can go on forever
denouncing every thing that is not in their favor.
Honest sentiment and some very able research in favor of the Jewish people
was started in the old Harlem History Club by Willis N. Huggins in the 30s.
Some of the best known of these findings were published in the Chicago
Defender and in the magazine, The African.
The following quote is from Willis N. Huggins' article, "How Wrong is
Hitler?...On the History of Jews, Black Folk and 'Aryanism?'" (Chicago
Defender, Chicago, January 28, 1939).
When the news broke in the American Press on July 15th that the Italians
ready to go tread "The Aryan Path," it evoked as much laughter as the world
get when news comes from Germany that Max Schmeling has been cast out of the
"Aryan Fold" because "anonymous scientists" have discovered that he has a
grandfather named Goldberg. "Political Aryanism," according to a prominent
Nazi leader, "aims to turn its ire against Jews, Gypsies and the Negro
Since Jews are able to take care of their part of this "sentence" and,
doubtless, the Gypsy does not give a hoot I should like to summarize the
reactions of black folk to the new "Aryan Wave."
If we should look at the records we would see that the early Aryan
language-groups stemmed from the black Dravidians who occupied southern
India in remote times. 'Me two peoples mingled freely. Thus, the so-called
Indo-European movements around 2,500 B.C., were basically migrations of a
Negroid folk which pooled itself in southern southeastern and southwestern
Europe, around 2,000 B.C. Indeed black African races, The Grimaldi" had
already covered most of Europe as early as 20,000 B.C. They left a secondary
African base for art in ancient Hellas (Greece) and a primary AM, can base
for color in Austria, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.
Willis N. Huggins also wrote a series of articles on the African origin of
Adolf Hitler's racist symbols.
In my opinion, I think both Blacks and Jews are often arguing about the
right thing the wrong way. Jews who lived in slave trading countries
participated in the slave trade as citizens of the respective country.
Slavery was a business, a dirty business, but still a business. Business
people engage in any business where profit can be made. The same thing is
true about business people living in colonial countries in relationship to
African people. I pla
ce no special blame on Jewish people who are white
Europeans. I offer no special vindication, either. Their behavior in
relationship to non-Europeans is basically the same as other Europeans. The
internal difference and difficulties that Jews have had within the White
family does not alter or change what I have just said.
What Professor Gates, the Jews and some people referred to as "Black
Conservatives" fail to understand is that the African people throughout the
world have suffered a special catastrophe over and above that of other
people of the world. When Europeans rose in the 15th and 16th century,
started the slave trade, colonized history and information about history,
they also colonized the image Of God They took away from millions of people
the image of their original God-concept and replaced him or her by a god
conceived in Europe. Again, I ask Professor Gates and other Black
conservatives to try to understand that for 500 years we have lived in a
European-conceived intellectual universe. I am willing to acknowledge that I
am influenced by this conception, but I am, at least, at war against it
because I realize that it is not only detrimental to my people, it is
detrimental to the whole world. Professor Gates and other Black
conservatives are the crawling dogs to this new design to continue European
Professor Gates is snide in his assumption that "We can rarely bring
ourselves to forgive those who have helped us." The truth is the contrary.
African people have always over-rewarded those who have helped them, often
to their detriment. I wish he would explain the nature of the help and the
time it was given. All people that have come among us have taken more than
they have given and have eventually done us more harm than good. If you
forgive the modesty, I refer you to my pamphlet, Black, White Alliances: A
Historical Perspective (Third World Press, Chicago, 1971).
Professor Gates keeps referring to an historical alliance between Blacks and
Jews. I wish he would be more precise and say when this historical alliance
occurred. I have been a teacher of African World History most of my life and
a student of history in general. I know of no evidence indicating such an
alliance. The earliest opportunity for a coalition between Blacks and Jews
came in 1675 B.C., when an African people called the Egyptians took in the
sons and daughters of Abraham, who were fleeing from hunger and starvation
in Western Asia. After receiving food, clothing and shelter as well as the
foundation for Judaic culture, language and religion, the majority of these
a guests" joined the invaders, the Hyksos (or Shepherd Kings) rather than
form an alliance to defend the country of their African benefactors. They
had found a greater acceptance in Africans than Africans have ever found in
a European-dominated country. With this visit to Africa, the people who
would later be known as Jews conspicuously entered world history.
Professor Gates, Cornel West and other Black conservatives use beautiful
words, sometimes to say nothing, sometimes to say what has already been said
and sometimes to say what is not in debate. They display their ignorance of
European history and history in general. They decry any form of Black
nationalism and often call it racism without knowing that for the last 500
years the world has been controlled by European or White nationalism.
African self-assertion, the demand for a proper curriculum in the schools-a
demand that we stop praising a liar and a faker like Christopher Columbus
who discovered absolutely nothing-threatens an apparatus of European control
set in motion by the Atlantic slave trade and continued with colonialism
that ultimately laid the basis for present-day monopoly capitalism. No
matter what Europeans say they believe religiously, politically or
culturally, their main objective in the world is control. Everything that
has ever been developed in the European mind was meant to facilitate mind
control of the world. There are no exceptions, Left or Right politically.
Black conservatives are really frustrated slaves crawling back to the
plantation, figuratively, letting their master know that they are willing to
go back into bondage. One needs to question their words because, as slaves
and enemies of their people, they will say what they are told to say and do
what they are told to do. The Black conservatives have nothing to conserve
except their miserable obscurity and their tragic cowardice. These
pathetically lost creatures and avid White behind kissers don't have the
nerve to be African or Black.
To be African or Black with the understanding of all of its ramifications
is, in itself, a commitment to the unification and uplift of all African
people on the face of this earth. It is a commitment, also, to take Pan,
Africanism beyond its narrow base of Black nationalism to a concept of an
African world union.
When the real tragedy of Black-Jewish relations is finally identified, I
think it will be the dictionary and how we have misused its words. Here is a
case where semantics change depending on who is listening and what they are
listening for. Your listener will often hear what you did not say and
stubbornly ignore what you said. The present controversy around Black and
Jewish relations is a good example of a poor and unimaginative use of words.
What exactly do we mean by Black-Jewish relations? From these words we have
no way of knowing that there are Blacks who are also Jews-members of the
There is a genuine conflict between Black and Jewish people, and this
conflict has international implications. We can not deal with this conflict
honestly until we call it by its correct name and examine its origin and
development African people the world over have no culture or religious fight
with Jewish people. We come out of pluralistic societies, of our own making,
where we lived side by side with a multiplicity of cultures and religions,
most of the time in peace. Cultural and religious tolerance is part of our
heritage as a people. If we were disposed to be against any culture or
religion, it would probably not be Jewish culture and religion that had part
of its early development in Africa.
Now that I have eliminated culture and religion as the basis of the
Black-Jewish conflict, precisely what is the conflict about? It is about
power and the emerging expectations of most of the world's people who until
recently were mainly ruled by Europeans or people of European extraction.
The one thing the conflict is not about is anti-Semitism. There is a
world-wide Black-White conflict which is part of the broader conflict
between European and non-European people. African people are on one side of
that conflict, and the people we refer to as Jews are on the other side.
When I use the words Jews or Jewish people, I am referring to White people
of European descent, whose culture, development and political loyalty is
European. This political loyalty to Europe and the part that Jewish people
still play in maintaining European world-wide power, and not anti-Semitism,
is the basis of the conflict between us. This conflict will become more
fierce and tragic as non-European people challenge the power of European
people all over the world.
With urgency I invite you to read Yosef A.A. benJochannan's book, We the
Black Jews and the book by John G. Jackson, Christianity Before Christ. I
believe that Placks and Jews need a genuine partnership. Before one can be
built both of them have to be honest in admitting that they have no
partnership now. Figuratively speaking, the partnership between a horse and
a rider is neither a partnership or an agreement.
Today the Jews are aligning themselves with the forces of White supremacy
that is diametrically opposed to the interest of most of mankind. I think
they have made a political mistake of disastrous proportions, and I compare
their present political position with the period of Joseph and his brothers
in Egypt and the period and time that followed the loss of political
connections with the Egyptian Court that Joseph made for them.
And I wonder will their present position lead to another time when a king
will arise, figuratively speaking, who politically knew not Joseph.
Kwesi Ohene Aquil
Midwest Region President
Association For The Study of Classical African Civilizations
This article was presented to TheBlackList
by Langston MATSNL65@yahoo.com
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