Racial Classification by Cheikh Anta Diop

Cheikh Anta Diop
Cheikh Anta Diop and Marcellous Lovelace

Racial Classification
by Cheikh Anta Diop


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. There are two aspects which must be distinguished, the phenotypical and genotypical. I have frequently elaborated on these two aspects.

If we speak only of the genotype, I can find a black who, at the level of his chromosomes, is closer to a Swede than Peter Botha is. But what counts in reality is the phenotype. It is the physical appearance which counts. This black, even if on the level of his cells he is closer than Peter Botha, when he is in South Africa he will live in Soweto. Throughout history, it has always been the phenotype which has been at issue; we mustn’t lose sight of this fact. The phenotype is a reality, physical appearance is a reality.

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.’ What that means is, they do know what a yellow man is, they do know what a white man is. Despite the fact that the white race and the yellow race are derivatives of the black which, itself, was the first to exist as a human race, now we do not want know what it is. If Africans fall into that trap, they’ll be going around in circles. They must understand the trap, understand the stakes.

It is the phenotype which as given us so much difficulty throughout history, so it is this which must be considered in these relations. It exists, is a reality and cannot be repudiated.

African Origin of Civilization by Cheikh Anta Diop
Civilization or Barbarism by Cheikh Anta Diop

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