Talk:Ancient Egyptian race controversy/Archive 16

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Archive 15 Archive 16 Archive 17

Citation for 'meme'!

Well, you know our standards. Lefkowitz speaks of "myths" or "mythology" (Black Athena revisted, p. 21), Shavit speaks of "universal history." (History in Black, p. vii) Do you want to search a reference for 'meme', and how much time would you need?Zara1709 (talk) 16:01, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

"Myth" is, I suppose, applicable, although I cannot see how this differs from "meme". Perhaps "cultural myth"? "Universal history" is clearly a description of Afrocentrism as a whole and makes no sense applied to this article. Moreschi (talk) 14:14, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
If you read wikt:meme, a "meme" described as a "self-propagating unit of cultural evolution having a resemblance to the gene (the unit of genetics)". I did not choose this term because it is occasionally used in a derogatory sense on the internet. I picked it carefully because the dictionary definition exactly describes the subject of the article (in the sense that the ROAE business has, in true meme-style, re-appeared in every generation of Afrocentrism, from Garvey to James to Diop to Bernal). I guess it's something of an original definition, but to criticize me for that is frankly an over-harsh interpretation of WP:NOR. But as, I say, I'm open to other suggestions. Moreschi (talk) 14:20, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
You don't have a bad argument there: What some people have described as 'myth' might also be described as 'meme'. I would disagree, since 'meme' is more of a structuralist term and 'myth' more a functional one - but we don't need to discuss this here, anyway. As far as I am aware of it, Wikipedia:No original research is rather strict: "[Original research] Synthesis occurs when an editor puts together multiple sources to reach a novel conclusion that is not in any of the sources. Even if published by reliable sources, material must not be connected together in such a way that it constitutes original research. If the sources cited do not explicitly reach the same conclusion, or if the sources cited are not directly related to the article subject, then the editor is engaged in original research."
I recently came into a controversy about this at the Discrimination against atheists article. There are several studies that show that there is widespread disapproval of atheists in the U.S. The material about this was deleted from the discrimination against atheists article as original research, since the sources apparently didn't explicitly speak of discrimination. Surely one could ask whether this kind of disapproval doesn't automatically fall under the concept of discrimination; You might want to read Dbachmann's comment on Talk:Discrimination against atheists. But I actually think the concerns about OR are justified in this case, I only objected to the way in which the situation was handled. To avoid the whole question whether this would constitute discrimination against atheist I merged the material into Freedom of religion in the United States, where so far no one has objected. If you want, we can discuss whether wp:NOR is to strict, but we would have to do that at Wikipedia talk:No original research. With the policy as it stands, you need a citation that explicitly says that radical Afrocentric historiography (as I would term it, according to the literature I've read) can be described as a "meme". I am not going to simply remove this (as other editors have done at the discrimination against atheists article, but the citation-tag needs to stay in there. (Unless, of course, you find a source.) I've thought a little about an alternate lead for this article, but I first need to save the material from Discrimination against atheists article before I make substantial edits here. Zara1709 (talk) 16:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I guess you could describe Afrocentrist historiography as a meme - probably valid but rather sweeping and certainly that would need citation - but all this article covers is a meme within radical Afrocentrist historiography, something much more limited. I'm still struggling to see how the "meme" label is OR. Lefkowitz and others have, in their scholarship, drawn a clear narrative of how the ROAE myth/meme began in Afrocentrism and survives until the present day. Sure, they may not have used the word meme, but the process of a self-perpetuating cultural unit of (mis)information surviving and growing that they describe is exactly what wikt:meme is talking about. This is not WP:SYNTH or WP:OR: it may be WP:USING-A-NEW-WORD-FOR-SOMETHING, and I suppose that isn't ideal, but frankly "myth" has far more chance of being viewed as pejorative than "meme" does. Moreschi (talk) 19:07, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I really don't see any problem with using meme here and I don't see the need for a citation. It is, in fact, a meme by definition. There is no more need for a citation than there would be for the word idea. That is, we don't need references for using common English (even if meme is a relatively new word).--Woland (talk) 21:21, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
The Citation Needed tag has to stay. Wikipedia:No original research is definite and it is policy. Read the 'plagiarism' example provided there; Of course, you and I (and many other editors, I suppose) would easily be capable of applying most definitions, regardless of whether it is the definition of plagiarism from the Harvard manual of style or the definition of meme. But with wp:NOR as it stands, we need a source that explicitly states that the topic of this article can be considered a meme.
And this is a serious issue, I still have to reply to the elaborate statement of User:Deeceevoice at Talk:Tutankhamun. She (he?) has argued that Tutankhamun is black with quite some effort, but I haven't had the time to check out the sources, yet. (Because I waste to much time with stupid discussions.) If she (he?) would add only one unreferenced sentence to the article about this, and wouldn't then at least accept a citation needed tag, there we would go with another edit war. As long as we don't even agree on the application of policy, there isn't any hope that we will be able to have an acceptable article on the topic at Wikipedia. Zara1709 (talk) 13:13, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Deeceevoice is a she, and she's been banging on about this for years. There's no arguing with her. She uses models of "race" that belong in the 1920s, and she still has only the haziest of knowledge about Egyptian history (witness the comments about pyramids) despite years of obsession with this. On this topic, "meme" is a word. There is nothing in the OR policy which states that we have to cite individual words. There are guidelines on words to avoid (like calling a modern religious movement a "cult") and use of one word over another (eg "X notes Y" versus "X claims Y" etc) where there is dispute. Even if there a were a citation to someone using the word "meme", we could also find other people saying "idea" or "theory" or "fantasy", so a citation would not help, just escalate matters. p.s over on Berber people a statue of Rameses II has been placed among the images of famous Berbers on the basis of one French study that apparently says that he belonged racially to Berber populations, due to his light pigmentation. This silliness cuts both ways.Paul B (talk) 15:02, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I think your reply illustrates my point. Articles on Wikipedia should be based on the most reputable academic sources available, and not on the personal views of editors. Editors could try to argue that their personal view is obvious, but most likely not everyone will agree with that and this would result in endless discussions, not leading to a better article. I mean, take a look at the history of this talk page. I acknowledge the concerns of other editors about original research, but then my concerns should be acknowledged, too. And unlike other editors I don't simply remove the material that I think violates policy. Now you appear to be saying that 'meme' is not an academic concept, but a common term that everybody is understand. Well, probably it is, but then, so is 'science'. Can you imagine the controversy if someone would add to the article that Radical Afrocentric historiography was a science? According to the best academic sources, that have a certain understanding of 'science', it is not. Personal understandings of such words can't be relevant. On the other hand, the most reputable academic sources describe Radical Afrocentric historiography as myth or as universal history, and they explain, what they mean by that.
I totally agree that the whole issue is silly. But precisely because it is such a silly issue, we would need a good article on it. The topic isn't any more silly than Nazi occultism, so it should be possible to have a halfway decent article on it.Zara1709 (talk) 15:20, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
The issue is that you are using the citation tag inappropriately. If you think "meme" has pejorative connotations (which in some contexts it does), then suggest another more neutral word or phrase, but this is not a citation issue. As soon as you start citing individual words you get madness ("it is a meme or idea or claim") etc Paul B (talk) 15:29, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
  • And this is not an article on radical Afrocentric historiography. Your point? Moreschi (talk) 15:23, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
My point? You should really ask yourself what your point is. Obviously we don't want an article about fringed theories about the Race of ancient Egyptians in general, because then we would also have to include the Nordicist view etc. I can accept that; But then, if you have read the literature, you know that (Radical) Afrocentrism does not only discuss Egypt, but also Greece. How are you going to warrant an article specifically about radical Afrocentric historiography concerning ancient Egypt, when the topic is entangled with discussions about Greece anyway. And don't tell me that we wouldn't need an article concerning radical Afrocentric historiography, because we already have an article on Afrocentrism. If you have read the introduction of Shavit's History in Black, you should know that there is a difference between radical (or 'wild', or 'extreme') Afrocentrism and the Afrocentric movement as a whole. Not all (and probably only <50%) of Afrocentrists really believe this pseudo-historic nonsense. Zara1709 (talk) 15:39, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Argh. You are not getting the scope of this article. It is not an article on radical Afrocentrist historiography (another valid article that should be written). It is not an article on Afrocentrism as it pertains to Egypt and Greece (another valid article that should be written). It is not an article on Afrocentrism as it pertains to Egypt. It is an article specifically on Afrocentrist claims surrounding the race of the ancient Egyptians. Clear? Moreschi (talk) 15:48, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
There are different meanings to the word "Afrocentrism". Initially it mean centring ones values on Africa, and was not primarily about history as such. In fact the Africans-founded-great-empires version of history long predates the term. There is also a growth of black studies which looks at models of ethnicity, and which is paralled by the growth of other ethnicty based and post-colonial models of history, but does not necessarily label itself "Afrocentrist". Part of the problem here is one of definition, and of the relationship between pop versions of ideas and academic developments. Paul B (talk) 15:46, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

<undent> The only cite I can find that mentions both afrocentrism and meme from a quick google search is here. Zara, you're still not getting the point though. If I substituted the word meme with the word idea, would we be having this conversation? No, of course not. It is by definition an idea, its also by definition a meme. This has nothing to do with OR or NPOV policy. --Woland (talk) 16:41, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

One-sided View

This article as it stands seems to give only the Afrocentric views on the subject, and does not include any evidence to the contrary. Surely this creates a risk that a reader might be lead to believe that this minority viewpoint stands unchallenged? There is a notice on the edit page that this article should not include evidence for and against the POV, but that notice is not visible to readers, so an unbalanced point of view is created. As a result of this limitation, sections are being inserted into "factual" articles on related subjects, reporting on this race controversy in an unbalanced manner which is diluting the accuracy of those articles. Can this limitation be removed, and the evidence for and against the controversy be included, so as to give readers a rounded perspective? Wdford (talk) 18:06, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

No. The (pseudo)debate is notable for the fuss kicked up, so we have an article on that. You have clearly misread the article, which states that Afrocentric views on the subject are regarded as fringe by the scholarly community. But the debate itself does not need rehashing on Wikipedia. We tried that for years and it failed miserably. Moreschi (talk) 14:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Related article Tutankhamun

See the talk page discussion regarding the "race"/ethnicity of Tut -- if you're interested. deeceevoice (talk) 18:19, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Discussion in progress over there. Moreschi (talk) 15:33, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Does this article overstate the debate?

I'm just concerned a bit about the tone of the article, it seems to give the impression that there is currently some great ongoing dispute in historical circles over this issue when I'm not sure there is any evidence for that. From what I know, the majority of those who promote this theory are Melanin theorists, people who dabble in pseudoscience and pseudo-history and such. I've yet to see a serious academic declare that the Egyptians were black based on a scientific basis. Not that I've really actually looked.

I know this is pretty vague, its just my impressions and thoughts. --Pstanton (talk) 00:00, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that is basically the point of the article; that it is a minority opinion that is not accepted within mainstream circles. You should have seen it when it was called Race of the Ancient Egyptians. Since then its gone through a major rewrite and is far better. It would be welcome if you could be more specific, we could always use some fresh eyes. --Woland (talk) 01:46, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily agree that the article is better. Looking through the archives, there was a lot more information in previous versions, though the information contained was controversial. I think many of the administrators were sick and tired of the controversy and they decided the best way avoid controversy was to trim the article down and place it on probation. The threat of punitive sanctions has basically stymied any debate on the issue. Wapondaponda (talk) 05:48, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There was certainly more POV material and original research in the last article. And it certainly gave the impression that there was some huge controversy within Egyptology about the "race" of the Ancient Egyptians (which there isn't). So, yeah, it was a dreadful article. If you would read through the archives you'll see that administrators had nothing to do with this. The stripping of unsourced material and the rewrite to reflect the majority scholarly view was based on the consensus of editors. --Woland (talk) 13:50, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
While I don't disagree that previous articles contained pov and OR material, the current version isn't about the ancient egyptians, it is more of a discussion of Afrocentrism. The article is poorly referenced, only two websites. Books are good references, but reliable websites are definitely preferable because one can easily verify the material.
As an example, that this debate is not restricted to Afrocentrism, Charles Darwin, who was not an Afrocentrist, was just as intrigued about the race of the Ancient Egyptians. In the Descent of Man he writes:
"Thus Messrs. Nott and Gliddon ('Types of Mankind,' p. 148), state that Rameses II., or the Great, has features superbly European; whereas Knox, another firm believer in the specific distinctness of the races of man ('Races of Man,' 1850, p. 201), speaking of young Memnon (the same as Rameses II., as I am informed by Mr. Birch), insists in the strongest manner that he is identical in character with the Jews of Antwerp. Again, when I looked at the statue of Amunoph III., I agreed with two officers of the establishment, both competent judges, that he had a strongly-marked negro type of features; "[1]'Wapondaponda (talk) 15:55, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
And no, you are wrong. Books are nearly always better references than free-view websites because they usually get reviewed in some form or other. It's not too much to expect you to go to your local website to verify my references. I have no problem using academic refs from pay-sites such as JSTOR but random internet crap is staying well out of this page. Moreschi (talk) 20:05, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oh, come on. Yes, it may occasionally have cropped in 19th-century scientific racism, but the majority of 19th-century discussion concerned the origin of the Egyptians, not their race. It is Afrocentrism that has brought this issue to mainstream attention, Afrocentrism that has popularised the debate, Afrocentrism that has dominated the discussion for the last 90 years or so. Clearly this article is going to be about the Afrocentric debate: without Afrocentrism, this article wouldn't exist. Moreschi (talk) 20:03, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    "occasionally cropped up". That is your personal opinion. Josiah C. Nott and George Gliddon wrote about the subject in their 1855 book Types of Mankind. I don't think one would want to dismiss Charles Darwin as a fringe theorist. By this evidence, it is a fact the subject has existed outside of Afrocentrism.Wapondaponda (talk) 20:23, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    Yes, it has, but you have nothing to show that the subject has any notability outside of Afrocentrism. No one writes books saying "Darwin talked about this": whole articles and books are written discussing the Afrocentric meme by highly reputable scholars (Frank Snowden, Lefkowitz, etc). And of course we can dismiss Darwin here. Although an enlightened man for his time, there's no reason to think he had any greater understanding of the issue than anyone else at the time. I suppose we can add a sentence to the "in academia" section to the effect that "the question occasionally arose in 19th-century scientific discussion" (although was it really an issue in the Egyptology of that time?), but clearly the main focus of this article must be Afrocentrism. Moreschi (talk) 20:26, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    Wow, this thread has taken off... Anyways, I think we can all agree that books and scholarly peer-reviewed material trump those free-view personal websites that some people always consider reliable. Thats my opinion anyhow. --Pstanton (talk) 20:30, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    By wikipedia standards, such books present adequate notability. For the purposes of history, it does not matter whether Darwin was more or less enlightened than anyone else of his time, the fact that he is notable, arguably one of the most notable scientists in history, and that he is on record discussion the issue, is relevant to the history of the subject. The fact the scientists who had no racial axe to grind, were interested, needs some representation in the article. Wapondaponda (talk) 20:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    Not really. We do not include Darwin's views on female suffrage, although they are doubtless on record somewhere, because they aren't relevant. Darwin's relevance to Wikipedia is tied to evolution, not everything on which he ever expressed an opinion. As I said, a brief sentence noting that 19th-century scientists asked questions concerning the ROAE issue is fine. But this is not why the issue is notable and is not why we have an article. Afrocentrism is. Moreschi (talk) 20:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I find it astounding that there are people here who are trying to advance the notion that the only people concerned about the identity of the ancient Egyptians are Afrocentrists. The fact of the matter is that Whites have appropriated dynastic Egypt for centuries. One need only look at their whitewashed images of Egyptian artifacts, their portrayals of Egypt in cinema where the only people of color appear as slaves, while Egyptian royalty is just flat-out White. And anyone who grew up in the 1950s and earlier remembers the lie that Black people never produced a civilization of any note, never had a written language, had no culture, that we didn't have the intelligence to do so. And then there's Zahi Hawass making a false/misleading announcement that the reconstruction teams identified Tutankhamun as "Caucasoid." This kind of crap is the status quo that has been challenged. And unable to sustain their lies any longer, now that the image of a White, or Semitic, or certainly non-Black dynastic Egypt has been firmly planted in the minds of the general public as pervading, unconscious assumptions, these people act as though those who now challenge that disinformation, who seek to refute those racist lies not only have fabricated their evidence, but that they've even fabricated the existence of the very paradigm (the Eurocentric myth of a White or Semitic Egypt) their scholarship seeks to overturn as well! The debate has been raised in the face of long-standing lies and abysmal ignorance on the subject fostered by racism, both calculated and unconscious/reflexive, ignorance, blind presumption and pop culture schlock. Zahi Hawass and his propaganda pushing, and the widespread attention his Tut announcement received, are perfect examples of this sort of twisted, passive-aggressive approach to this subject. When the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities makes a statement with very clear and obvious implications regarding the "racial" identity of dynastic Egypt, after the unveiling of an outrageously whitewashed image of an Egyptian monarch, people pretend not to notice. But when he's called on it, and people object, the "mainstream" responds with, "Why, what's all the fuss?"

Such intellectual dishonesty is, frankly, pretty galling. And where such a response is the result of naivete or ignorance, it -- still -- is equally galling.

Ditto for the argument around this website that "racial" phenotypical models in forensic anthropology are no longer relevant or in use, except, possibly in the backward and race-obsessed U.S. -- which is simply not borne out by the facts. deeceevoice (talk) 09:00, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


"radical afrocentric historiography" is far from neutral. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:44, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed.--Woland (talk) 04:48, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
(sigh) Of course, this was not going to be undisputed. I should have warranted the phrase radical Afrocentric historiography previously, but considering my workload the last days, this was simply not possible.
The usage of the term radical Afrocentric historiography is based on Yaacov Shavit's book History in Black. I think the book is quoted around here already somewhere. This is what he says in his preface:
"Thus, if historical myths and legends, or an invented history, play such a major role in the founding of every national reconstruction, the question that should concern us here is the nature of the distinct 'style' in which black Americans imagine their past. The answer to this question is that radical Afrocentrism, the subject of this study, which plays a central role in shaping the modern historical world-view of a large section of the African-American (or Afro-American) community, is far more than an effort to follow the line taken by many ethnic groups and nations in modern rewriting, inventing or developing collective identity and national history. Rather, it is a large-scale historical project to rewrite the history of the whole of humankind from an Anthropometric point of view. The result is a new reconstruction of world history: it is a universal history." (Emphasis added)
So, if you'd asked Shavit to write an article on the topic, how would he term it? My justified guess would be radical Afrocentric universal history. Of course, you can't put such a phrase on the cover of a book. History in black is shorter and draws more attention. The only thing I did was to replace "universal history" with "historiography", simply because the concept of universal history is already part of Shavit's analysis of the radical Afrocentric theories, and if the title of article would be based to such an extend on a single historian, that would be some sort of undue weight.
You might be wondering what the prefix radical has to do there. In the version of the article I am working on, this would be included as follows: Yaacov Shavit, in his study History in Black takes up the distintion Wilson Jeremiah Moses has made between "African-American intellectual life" and "wild Afrocentrism." He emphasizes that serious African-American scholars, too, "felt compelled to criticize the popular, or wild works." To avoid misunderstandings that might arise from his book, Shavit decidedly explains that it does not deal with African American studies, Black Studies or Afrocentrism in general, but only with "some Afrocentric literature".
That should do to justify the phrase radical Afrocentric historiography. There might be other literature that would suggest a different name for the whole topic, but I haven't read it. On the other hand, History in Black is one of the best and most reputable authoritative sources available, and if you only read the preface, you will see that to speak of radical Afrocentric historiography is warranted. You can't expect me to summarize this preface here completely. If you don't trust me to have understood it correctly, you'll have to get the book from the library yourself. If you would prefer to use a different name, based on another reputable source, of course we can discuss this here. Zara1709 (talk) 18:34, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Reading the Wikipedia articles on Universal history and Historiography I realized, that it is probably the historiography- part of the phrase that is hard to justify. Well, we can also term it radical Afrocentric historical views or probably something similar radical Afrocentric mythology on the other hand, would already be too critical, I think, to be NPOV. Zara1709 (talk) 18:50, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The problem I have is with carrying the epithet "radical" in the introduction as if that was the mainstream thought. You've done a good job demonstrating that at least one expert possibly considers it that way; it's a long way to saying this is the mainstream thought on the subject. I don't have a problem with "Afrocentric historiography", just the "radical" part which to my mind is dubiously presented as the mainstream opinion. Nothing is less certain.--Ramdrake (talk) 19:31, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I have readded the npov tag, because the article as whole is about afrocentrism. From the comments made in the above section, even Charles Darwin was interested in the race of the Ancient egyptians. And he had nothing to do with Afrocentrism. From the very first sentence in the lead, Afrocentrism is introduced. In short the article is about Afrocentrism, and not about the Egyptians. Wapondaponda (talk) 19:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I concur with Ramdrake that it's far more neutral sounding without "radical". Also, it's always interesting when someone says "there is no controversy" about what has obviously been a controversy - it makes me wonder if everyone who dissents was driven off, in order to achieve "consensus", which shouldn't be the way it is ideally achieved. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:40, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • "Radical" is OK, I guess, but essentially tautologous, as Afrocentric historiography is nearly always radical by definition (Black Athena may not look it, but any classicist will tell you it is). At any rate, the lede works fine without radical, and since this is admittedly tautologous, we can safely do without it. Moreschi (talk) 20:00, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    • BTW, I have no problem with the "historiography" part. Much of this pseudo-debate is caused by Afrocentric fuss about how history is written; they claim that modern writing of history has written the supposed blackness of the ancient Egyptians out of the historical record. It's not just a question of history for them but mainly one of historiography. That, I think, is justifiable. Moreschi (talk) 20:11, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Regardless of whether they're actually important, can we please unlink all those red terms until the article they link to is actually written? I'm totally indifferent to the relative notability of radical Afrocentric historiography, but having it wiki-linked to a article which doesn't exist is just pointless. I myself don't have a problem with the term "radical Afrocentric historiography", but I DO that its being wiki linked is uncalled for right now. I tried to edit it, but my edit was promptly reverted with a rather cranky edit summary. --Pstanton (talk) 20:38, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Now this I really do take issue with. The article on Afrocentric historiography is potentially a very valid one. How is anyone ever expected to know that we need such an article except via redlinks. Redlinks are enormously valuable; they provide the most obvious way for a newbie to see that we have a gap in our coverage and to begin experimenting and filling in the gaps. Sure, they may not look pretty. Wikipedia as whole doesn't either. In short, Afrocentric historiography is 99 percent bollocks, but it is notable bollocks and can have an article as such. Moreschi (talk) 20:45, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
excellent suggestion! please can somebody with the appropriate wiki authority set up the article on Afrocentric historiography, with the recommended templates etc, so that those who have something to contribute on this topic can make a start?? Much obliged Wdford (talk) 13:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
You hardly need "appropriate wiki authority" to start a new article, and I need to get some references together again, but I suppose...Moreschi (talk) 13:27, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Non-afrocentric racial egyptology

Below is a bibliography of works from non-afrocentric scholars that deal with the subject of the race of the Ancient Egyptians

All these authors were not Afrocentrists, yet they were interested in the race of the egyptians. So this subject exists outside of Afrocentrism, and the article should reflect this. Wapondaponda (talk) 23:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

There seems to be some confusion here. Lots of 19th-20th century authors were interested in the race of Egyptians (and of many other ancient cultures) because that was the great age of "race theory". I could give you the name of other authors - like James Fergusson for example - who wrote about it at this time. All these people wanted to construct racial typologies and map them onto the history of civilisations. But the point is that this was an obsession of that particular era. Modern authors don't tend to work with these categories. It's not that they aren't interested in the issue of ancient migrations, cross-cultural influences etc, it's that they aren't typically defined in terms of whether populations were "Negroid and "Hamitic" intermingled with "Caucasoid" elements etc etc. What's more at issue is how Egyptians themselves strove to model racial/ethnic differences in their art and ideology, and how we can map cultural and genetic flows of influence. Paul B (talk) 09:50, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
This is ancient non-notable material. It is not discussed in reliable tertiary and modern secondary sources that discuss the subject. It can have a sentence here and a lengthier exposition at Historical definitions of race and appropriate summary articles of that page. The Afrocentric furore is the reason why we have an article here. Fact. Moreschi (talk) 13:32, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Why not just say WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Wapondaponda (talk) 16:59, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Yup, that's me. WP:SYNTH, on the other hand, is you. Moreschi (talk) 17:13, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how selecting quotes from 18th century scholars is synthesis. You are probably not the type to make compromises and have a bias, even encouraging other editors to create articles bashing afrocentrism. I don't care too much for afrocentrism myself, thats why the article is sour read, because it is filled with a discussion of Afrocentrism. Why not include information from people unrelated to afrocentrism. These are people with no axe to grind on the subject, and the meet all the requirements of WP:NOTE, WP:VERIFY and WP:RS. Isn't this the spirit on which wikipedia articles are supposed to be built. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:25, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
No, they do not. These people have no validity as scholars commenting on the topic, and you have not shown that they are notable to the topic as valid objects of discussion. Moreschi (talk) 17:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you have read any of the articles on the scholars. Samuel George Morton was an "enlightened" scholar of his time who has been referenced by modern scholars such as Stephen Jay Gould.Wapondaponda (talk) 17:40, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but pretty much anything any 19th-century scholar says on the subject of race is nearly always wrong and certainly always irrelevant for the purpose of modern scholarship. Certainly Morton is, reading his article. Not his fault, that's just how things were at the time. Moreschi (talk) 17:47, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, he referenced him in The Mismeasure of Man. Hint is in the title. Nevertheless, we aren't making judgements about the distinction of these scholars in their day, just that they can't nopw be quoted as authorities. Paul B (talk) 17:49, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
If that were the case, we might as well dispense with history, and only stuff from 2009 is relevant. What you are implying is an arbitrary set of standards that conforms only to your liking. If Morton was not notable, why does he have an article on wikipedia. Why don't you guys just admit, that you would like an afrocentric bashing article, and nothing else, even if it meets all wikipedia requirements. Just be honest about it. Morton, indeed is known for his relationship with scientific racism, that's besides the point, nobody is implying he is right or wrong, just what was observed by him and is in the historical record. This topic of the race of the egyptians did not spring up spontaneously in the 20th century by afrocentrists. It clearly has its roots in 18th and 19th century egyptology. Yet both Moreschi and Paul what to pretend that that is not the case. Wapondaponda (talk) 20:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but that's preposterous. By all means ask for non-involved opinions on the Reliable Sources noticeboard, but I assure you that no-one will argue that authors writing over a century ago are reliable sources on archaeology or racial difference. This is not an arbitrary standard. It's Wikipedia policy and it's also common sense. Neither of us have denied that the roots of the debate lie in 19th century anthropology. You are getting completely confused between notability and reliability. Lots of people who proposed theories that turned out be mistaken are notable. Paul B (talk) 20:34, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
That is not true, Charles Darwin's studies over 150 years ago are still being used. Though he got some things wrong, many of his observation were in fact correct. His studies are still the foundation for natural selection and sexual selection. Even some of his views on race are still accepted. So we cannot automatically discount any study just because its from the 19th century. Neither do we imply that they were right, that is why there is subsection clearly stating 19th century, so that information is placed in the appropriate context.Wapondaponda (talk) 20:44, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually Charles Darwin's studies are not being used in the way you mean. The Origin of Species would not be a reliable source for information about the actual evolution of plants and animals. No article could quote it for that purpose because its outdated. It would be a primary source for information about the history and early development of theories of natural selection. Darwin got many things right and many things wrong. It is obsolete as a source for information on science. It could go in a discussion of the history of the topic. What would be wrong would be to quote Darwin as support or criticism of opinions expressed by modern evolutiobnary scientists or geneticists. Paul B (talk) 12:33, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
If you want to create an article on historical theories of race in Egypt then go ahead. You have to be clear that you were dealing with specific debates at particular times, how the debates evolved over time, what the dominant racial typologes of the periods in question were, and what exactly was known about ancient Egypt in the relevant period. If you wanted to comment on how these theories fitted with modern understanding of the topic you'd have to know how current research corresponded with or contradicted what was known or assumed by writers at the time. And you'd have to do all that without violating WP:SYN. Paul B (talk) 17:32, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Paul for the advice, I just might do that. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:40, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

In truth, Paul, you are not in disagreement with me. Here is a summary of my observations. I would like to know if any of these observations is wrong.

Wapondaponda (talk) 16:58, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes that's probably pretty accurate. However, when "Afrocentrism" kicked off depends on how you define it. The term dates from the 1970s, but debates about the races of various ancient civilisations were certainly linked to authors, like Dubois, who wanted to emphasise black achievement. That's noticable from the 1910s onwards when you first start to get "black Egyptian" and other similar arguments linked to racial pride and civil rights debates. Paul B (talk) 17:40, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Would it then be fair to say that there has been interest in the race of the egyptians outside of Afrocentrism. The first sentence in the lead refers to Afrocentrism twice. This appears not to be balanced. It would be great if the article reflected a variety of views. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:53, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
"Notable interest"? You have not shown this. Moreschi (talk) 20:47, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Not a problem, if you have the time, this is an excerpt from a discussion of Josiah C. Nott's Types of Mankind
"No single publication was more infamous or influential in the history of nineteenth-century American Egyptomania than Josiah Clark Nott and George Robins Gliddon's 1854 Types of Mankind. Over 800 pages long, carefully compiled and lavishly illustrated, packed with data and provocative conclusions, Nott and Gliddon's Types of Mankind was an instant classic, a best-selling scientific textbook that went through over a dozen printings and which stayed in print until the turn of the century.""General Remarks on Types of Mankind". Wapondaponda (talk) 21:08, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Notable then. Notable now? Is there any evidence that any of these 19th-century scientists have any notability independent of how their cranky commentary fed into Afrocentrism (as Mr NightWatchmen helpfully points out below: his spelling is rather wonky but his point is pretty valid). Does anyone read these texts now? Or take them seriously? Or view them as a serious contribution to scholarship? Or write books on them? Or mention them in scholarly articles on the ROAE debate? Sure, this stuff may well be useful at Historical definitions of race. I fail to see how it helps here. Moreschi (talk) 21:23, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
No need to split hairs. Yes they are notable by all standards that are employed wikipedia. I think I have demonstrated that. The only thing I have not done is persuade Moreschi. Many of these authors and their works are still being referenced today. Many of these scholars, such as Notts, were deeply embedded with the scientific racism of the day. Any relationship with afrocentrism is not quite as simple.
I think I have provided enough evidence, that any person with a reasonable disposition should be able to agree, that the sources are reliable, verifiable, notable and provide more context into the origins of this controversy than is currently the case. If you take the time to do your own independent research, you will find that to be the case. To sum it up, there is enough evidence to demonstrate that the topic of the race of the egyptians has existed independent of Afrocentrism. In order to meet guidelines on neutrality, the article should reflect this .Wapondaponda (talk) 22:16, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
The article already does. One sentence, which I have added, is WP:DUE. You have not shown that your hoary old sources have any notability as far as modern scholarship is concerned. The crux is, per WP:N, is your material discussed by WP:RS (and please don't pretend that this old 19th-century nonsense is itself WP:RS). I'm still waiting for you to satisfy the basic requirement of WP:N. Moreschi (talk) 22:20, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
One sentence, which you decided by yourself. I guess only your opinion's count, and everyone else's doesn't. I always thought wikipedia was a corroborative effort, Hmmm, WP:OWN?. I am not proposing deleting any material, though i don't agree with a lot that is written, I am proposing adding information from 18th and 19th century scholars. Almost every major article has a history subsection that describes the development of the concept described in the article.Wapondaponda (talk) 22:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes. But, the meme here truly begins with Afrocentrism and Garvey and you've not shown that anything before that is notable. Everything currently there satisfies WP:N as the subject of discussion in reliable secondary sources. Your material satisfied nothing but WP:SYNTH. Absent discussion in reliable secondary/tertiary sources your material is {{offtopic}} and belongs at Historical definitions of race. Moreschi (talk) 22:45, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

If you are addressing the afrocentric meme, yes, it begins with Garvey. There are some of us who are not interested in one particular meme, but the whole subject. Take a look at this book. The Ancient Races of the Thebaid . It addresses the subject directly in detail, and no original research is required to extract content. It is wrong to stifle information from non-afrocentric scholarship. Wapondaponda (talk) 23:07, 29 January 2009 (UTC) You guy are right on about alot but it seems that many of the first afrocentrist were acutaly some of the first european vistors to Egypt such as people like Constantin-François Chassebœuf who carelesly atributed The ancient Egyptian civilization on little to no evidence than the fact that egypt was in africa and some monuments had so called negro appearences so thats why some of the early white people to study egypt are the biggest poster children for modern day afrocentrism which started to take hold in the late 60's--NightWatchmen (talk) 18:13, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Article history

The history of the article goes back to mid 2008, but the talk page discussions extend to 2005. Wouldn't it be appropriate to merge the histories of previous articles. Its as though there is an attempt to hide stuff. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:25, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

No. The previous history is clearly available behind the redirect at Race of ancient Egyptians - and probably behind a bunch of other redirects from old titles, too. Moreschi (talk) 17:27, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Afrocentric historiography

Hi everyone. The article on afrocentric historiography now exists. It is intended to debate the evidence for and against, as "history of the debate" sites already exist. The first draft is very basic - please everyone assist to build it up.Wdford (talk) 10:52, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

What a miserable piece of....

I've placed a "balance" tag at the top of this. The article is only marginally informative and incredibly skewed. What a piece of junk. deeceevoice (talk) 17:36, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, some editors are WP:OWN the article. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:39, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Now seems like the necessary time to point out the template at the top of the page: "The Arbitration Committee has placed this article on probation. Editors making disruptive edits may be banned by an administrator from this and related articles, or other reasonably related pages." Deeceevoice, please avoid seeming to disparage others' work. Use the edit summary to briefly describe your edit. Tom Harrison Talk 18:01, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Deeceevoice is right. Some editors are actually taking advantage of the fact that the article is on probation to skew the article. They know that dissent, even if justified, is probably not welcome. Wapondaponda (talk) 18:25, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I really have no idea what the deal is with people not assuming good faith with this article. Calling the article "a piece of junk" does nothing to further the dialog about what should or shouldn't be in this article or how it should proceed. Is the article skewed? Yes. It is skewed towards main-stream scholarship and the specific controversy that deals with Afrocentrism; this is when such policies as WP:Fringe and WP:Undue come into play. If you feel shut-out on the talk page then it is fairly easy to set up a WP:RfC. Which I did a few months back with little to no response. Its just an article people. Lets work together.--Woland (talk) 19:20, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oh, for heaven's sake. Of course this article is skewed. It is skewed entirely in accordance with WP:DUE and WP:FRINGE, which, put briefly, states that notable theories regarded by fringe by mainstream scholarship get written about as notable fringe theories. That is, we describe them, their notability, their history, and their standing in relation to academic opinion. We do not advocate them or go into huge detail as to why they thought of as fringe; we just state their relationship to mainstream scholarship. Afrocentric ideas surrounding the ROAE issue are, well, fringe, and also notable. The result is this article. Wikipedia is built on reliable sources. Not Martin Bernal, Diop, or Deeceevoice's enormous collection of WP:SYNTH at Talk:Tutankhamun. Sources. Reliable ones. Moreschi (talk) 21:35, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Those who are contributors to this article would do well to read the information contained at Talk: Tutankhamun and your abysmally inadequate attempt at rebuttal, Moreschi, and to take both into account here. ;) I've restored the balance tag. It's a reasonable addition, because -- clearly -- I'm not the only contributor here who feels the article is skewed. deeceevoice (talk) 03:06, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no arguing with you. Sure, at that talk page I could have listed tens of references supporting each and every one of my claims, and rebutting yours, but they would have been dismissed as racist, and since nearly all of them are cited in this article anyway, what's the point? Moreschi (talk) 20:52, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, please, Moreschi. That's about the weakest excuse for not offering a rebuttal I've ever heard. Any moron could have written it. The only conclusion left to draw is that you can't effectively rebut the points I've presented. Indeed, what you've written there thus far doesn't begin to hold up under scrutiny and is, in fact, in some cases contradictory and just plain inaccurate. If that's the best you can do, then I understand perfectly your failure to respond. ;) deeceevoice (talk) 17:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I am also getting frustrated by the censorship. I have been calling for the FRINGE stuff to be debated somewhere - not in the mainstream articles, obviously, but in a dedicated FRINGE article with proper caveats - as the information itself is valid. Obviously we need to use proper evidence not unsupported opinions, but there is a lot of referenced evidence available. An article like Race of the Ancient Egyptians seems the perfect place to record the evidence, but it is continually censored out. We need an article that allows the evidence to be presented - what do we need to call it please? Wdford (talk) 07:25, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Fair point. Actually, I suggest not one article, but lots of little ones. See below. Moreschi (talk) 20:52, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I understand the concerns for balance, I certainly agree that the other side's views and evidence could be expanded on with proper disclaimers. Because in the end Moreschi is right that this theory is fringe and not accepted as fact in mainstream academia. At the same time, I don't think this article is "junk" by any means. It mentions an ongoing debate, is somewhat slanted to one side, but then again, a majority of research and evidence is on one side. I think it would be fine to expand on the evidence and arguements used by people like Diop as long as it is noted that their views are not shared by accepted research or authorities in the field of Egyptology... And lastly, I think I need to mention Wikipedia:Etiquette. It is Wikipedia POLICY to Assume good faith --Pstanton (talk) 07:50, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Well and good, except that when we try to expand on the evidence and arguments it gets deleted on some or other technicality to do with "scope". Wdford (talk) 08:20, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think trying to keep the article within the scope that was reached by consensus has anything to do with censorship or technicalities. Again, please assume good faith. The fact is that it is largely an issue of scope. The consensus was established some time ago. Obviously consensus can change, however it is difficult to get along with editors who are continually shouting accusations of censorship. The article as it was before had serious issues. Personally, my only concern is letting it go that way again, that is into a bloated piece of original research and novel synthesis. Perhaps an article called Black Egypt, that is, undue the redirect and create a separate article (or a similar term that is actually used by Afrocentrists, I have no idea what that term would be)would be more appropriate for this material with a summary section appearing within this article.--Woland (talk) 15:22, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... well that isn't the way things should be going. Perhaps you could start an entirely new section like "Arguments/Evidence for a Black Egypt"? That way the edits wouldn't be reverted as vandalism at least... I think the issue is that the arguments in support of the black egypt theory need to be presented without implying that it mainstream scholarship. Maybe someone could right up a sample section of arguments in support on a subpage of their user page and we could come to a consensus here on its viability. Although one problem with writing this would be that there really aren't very many reliable sources in support of this theory... I'm thinking that most sources that support the black egypt theory usually look something like this.

In conclusion I think we're simply going to have to come to a consensus on how to edit the article HERE first, or we're just going to end up in a revert war. --Pstanton (talk) 08:30, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

There has been too much heat here already, and I foresee a drawn-out semantic debate about "what does historiography actually mean?" Your suggestion was good - please see Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? as a first draft. I would value all constructive feedback. Meanwhile, let's propose this miserable stumbling corpse of an article for speedy deletion on the basis that it has been censored to the point of not saying anything at all. Wdford (talk) 11:00, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Now that's just silly. Try anything of the sort and you will likely get banned from this article, which would be a waste. See my post below for how to accommodate all this. Moreschi (talk) 20:52, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Moreschi, you need to chill and stop threatening people. Anyone who thinks an article should be scrapped is perfectly within their rights to nominate it for deletion. I actually agree with Wdford that this is a pretty miserable article that says very little useful or interesting about the subject it's supposed to treat. deeceevoice (talk) 08:31, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

(Radical) Afrocentric historiography

Since Afrocentric historiography is currently proposed for deletion, we better discuss this here. This is what Moreschi wrote, among other, at Talk:Afrocentric historiography:

Ok, here we go. This a valid topic but we need to get the scope sorted. "Historiography" refers to studies of the writing of history. Studying the writing of history is something Afrocentrists do rather a lot, essentially pointing out how, allegedly, traditional Western scholarship has marginalised the contribution of Africans due to racism, intentional or otherwise. Clear? There's a whole BIG essay about this in Black Athena Revisited, near the back, which talks about the Afrocentrist take on past historians. Obviously if it's in BAR then Bernal must talk about the issue in Black Athena itself, and I assume other Afrocentrists (Diop etc) did as well. That is the correct scope of this article, and while references exist to write it properly, you will not get them simply by forking the current Ancient Egyptian race controversy article. Moreschi (talk) 20:55, 29 January 2009 (UTC) And before anyone asks, the the other major hole in our coverage of Afrocentrism is Afrocentrism and Ancient Greece (or some similar title), and yes, that is an equally valid article that needs to be written separately from this one. The sources exist for all of this. Get a copy of Black Athena Revisited and then get hold of the scholarly works that that references. Kindly do not plunge in medias res without having done the proper basic research. Moreschi (talk) 21:00, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm quoting this here, because apparently there is a misunderstanding about the definition of 'historiography'. Our Wikipedia article on historiography says that it is "the study of the way history has been and is written"; I already mentioned that this somehow irritates me, because coming from the German language is associate with Historiographie or de:Geschichtsschreibung simply the writing of history (and not the study of the writing of history). The lead sentences of the German WP article are much more concise than those of the English one. Roughly translated: "Historiographie (Geschichtsschreibung) refers to the depiction (Darstellung) of historic events. The modern writing of history with scientific pretension (Anspruch) is part of scientific history." In German any account of historic events (no matter how unscientific, could be described as Historiographie. The English article is much less clear. Apparently there are 3 possible meanings of historiography. Since I don't know which specialized encyclopaedia to look at, I simply conducted an Internet search. These definitions are from

  1. The principles, theories, or methodology of scholarly historical research and presentation.
  2. The writing of history based on a critical analysis, evaluation, and selection of authentic source materials and composition of these materials into a narrative subject to scholarly methods of criticism.
  3. A body of historical literature.

I only indented to use 'historiography' in the last sense. I would like to have an article on the body of (radical) Afrocentric historical literature. However, since I've learned from previous discussions here, I am not going to create that article before we have at least a rough consensus what its name and scope should be. But obviously we need an article on the whole body of (radical) Afrocentric historical literature. (I can explain that 'radical' later.) To have one article specifically about ancient Egypt is misleading, because it gives readers the impression that we would discuss (Radical) Afrocentric historiography as a scientific theory, which is not the case. (See the "Does this article overstate the debate?" section above.) This doesn't mean that there isn't a warrant for an article like 'Afrocentric views about ancient Egypt' or similar - I think such an article would actually be useful to accommodate the material on the various controversies surrounding Tutankhamun, Cleopatra VII and Great Sphinx of Giza. This is what made Wdford join the debate in the first place. We have quite some material on the controversies about the race of the Great Sphinx of Giza etc. , but it probably is undue weight to add this to the respective articles. I personally don't care, but since Wdford thinks that this is undue weight it would be better if simply had a specialised article for it, which would be this one.

However, if we ever want to have a halfway decent article on the issue, we need to have one about the body of (radical) Afrocentric historical literature in general, regardless of whether we want to call that article (radical) Afrocentric historiography (my suggestion) or something else. To have one article about Afrocentric views concerning ancient Egypt and one concerning ancient Greece is, honestly, idiotic. The argument that ancient Greece received a highly substantial (racial, not only cultural) influx from ancient Egypt is probably the cornerstone of the views expressed in books like Black Athena. (You know that its initial name should have been African Athena.) Probably we can warrant a specific article about Afrocentric views about ancient Egypt, but we certainly need one about the Afrocentric writing-of-history in general. We would only need to discuss whether the name Afrocentric historiography is appropriate. (And I can always justify the 'radical'-prefix then, later.) Zara1709 (talk) 16:44, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

This is not how I define historiography - and not, I believe, how the majority of Anglo-Saxon scholarship does either, although I agree it's a very vague word - but yes, you have many fair points here. See below for my response. Moreschi (talk) 20:35, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Unilateral action

Moreschi is making unilateral decisions by himself, when a consensus is emerging on the talk pages regarding a variety of issues. Firstly Paul and others have agreed, that race of the ancient egyptians topic exists outside of Afrocentrism. Secondly that if the article has in its title, the term controversy, it only makes sense to have different viewpoints. If it only has one viewpoint, then it is not a controversy. Wapondaponda (talk) 20:29, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

This is now degenerating into trolling. I have explained very clearly why your WP:SYNTH is unacceptable without supporting references from modern secondary/tertiary sources. Could you please just read some basic policy? You are trying to make it sound as though the centuries old-ramblings of the first Egyptological amateurs are a) in any way notable and b) should be taken seriously. The first is probably provable, you just haven't bothered to do so. The latter is unacceptable. Moreschi (talk) 20:33, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Please read WP:SYNTH, a few quotes:
"Synthesis occurs when an editor puts together multiple sources to reach a novel conclusion that is not in any of the sources." There is no conclusion from that is indicated in the 18th century material. In fact almost all the scholars seem ambivalent on the issue. Scholars such as Morton, Nott and Gliddon believed the egyptians were not Negroes.
The second quote from WP:SYNTH,
"Summarizing source material without changing its meaning is not synthesis; it is good editing."
You admit that you want to use his own made up definitions to create articles, that sounds more like WP:SYNTH to me. Wapondaponda (talk) 21:02, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
No, I do not. I am suggesting that as a reason for why lots of little articles might just be more coherent than one big article. There's a world of difference. Now onto your point. These people are not "scholars": certainly not scholars we can use as references for this subject. Most of them are not even early Egyptologists. They are a bunch of random names you have culled together without any grounding in modern sources to display notability or relevance. If that's not synthesis I don't know what is. Moreschi (talk) 21:07, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
We are not comparing their studies to modern studies, no, its historical context. There is a subsection entitled "origins". What is the point of having an origins subsection, if there is no history. Its pretty much standard on any article of detail to have historical information, some examples
Wapondaponda (talk) 21:20, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, obviously. That I concede. However, the problem is that your stuff is at most tangentially relevant to the subject of this article, the Afrocentric meme, although there is some relevance as Afrocentrists clearly later resurrected some of this 19th-century crankiness. But what you have written is just way too much for an article this size. WP:UNDUE again. Cut it down it down to a couple of sentences, post that here on the talk page, and we can get something reasonable. And try to pick the authors most relevant to Afrocentrism, Egyptology, or indeed anything faintly notable to the topic at hand. Moreschi (talk) 21:24, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Your deep interest in "Afrocentrism memes" should not hold the entire article at ransom. There is a lot of information that does not have any direct connection with Afrocentrism. These sources, directly deal with the issue of the race of the ancient egyptians. Take this book for example:
Thomson, Arthur (1905). The Ancient Races of the Thebaid. Clarendon Press.  Unknown parameter |coauthor= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
I don't see how one can get any more direct. Wapondaponda (talk) 21:35, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
That, from 1905, is nothing more than a classic example of pseudoscientific racial classifications floating around at the time. We have a full article on this at Historical definitions of race. It has nothing to do with the NOTABILITY of the controversy. Or, if it does, you have not shown it by producing references to this material in modern reliable scholarship - the sort of stuff with which we actually write Wikipedia articles per WP:N.
Look. Clearly there is semi-relevant material here that is mostly unrelated to Afrocentrism (or has a tangential connection). But the notability of this material is essentially non-existent, most particularly since it was not produced by actual Egyptologists. We can have a couple of sentences on it, a short paragraph, as a pre-cursor to the actually notable material. Just cut down a bit what you wrote originally and it will all be fine. Moreschi (talk) 22:04, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Evolution#History_of_evolutionary_thought, "Evolutionary ideas such as common descent and the transmutation of species have existed since at least the 6th century BC". The article includes information from 6th century BC scholars, though nobody is going to reference studies from the 6th century. It is part of historical development of knowledge. The same goes for the article on the article on Race. As for Egyptologists, George Gliddon was an Egyptologist, and spent much of his life in Egypt[3]. He provided several Egyptian Crania to Samuel George Morton, who analysed them in his book Crania Aegyptiaca; or, Observations on Egyptian ethnography, derived from anatomy, history, and the monuments.. In the Descent of Man, Darwin has at least one chapter devoted entirely to the races of man. In it he references the studies of Egyptologist, Gliddon, and compares them to his own studies of race. David Randall-MacIver was also an Archeologist and an Egyptologist. He was appointed egyptology curator of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Wapondaponda (talk) 22:44, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

A series of memes

(To Wdford, Zara, and others)

What I suggest is this. Afrocentrism, by and large, consists of a series of memes. This is nobody's definition, other than my own, but I believe it will clarify how to write articles on this knotty issue.

Think of a series of memes. "The ancient Egyptians were black" is meme 1. "Cleopatra was black" is meme 1.5. "Tutankhamun was black" is "meme 1.5.1. "The Greeks stole all their cultural innovations from the Greeks" is meme 2. "The Greeks stole Greek philosophy from the Book of the Dead is meme 2.5. And so on.

Given sufficient notability for each of these memes (which there is, by and large), write a separate article for each and to link to it from here and/or Afrocentrism. We can go with titles such as Afrocentrism and Cleopatra, Afrocentrism and Tutankhamun, Afrocentrism and Ancient Greece, or Afrocentrism and Ancient Greece and Egypt, etc. The first two would be valid summary style sub-articles of this one. The latter a sub-article of Afrocentrism. Moreschi (talk) 20:31, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

"This is nobody's definition, other than my own,", that sounds like original research. Wapondaponda (talk) 20:34, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, just an original definition, but whatever. All I am suggesting is that this definition helps clarify why lots of little articles on this topic will work better than a couple big ones. For years the "one big article" approach was tried, and it failed horribly. We just got a confused mess. Spin things out in accordance with WP:SS and we might actually get some coherent and complete coverage. Moreschi (talk) 20:36, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
  • It is worth pointing out that we do not HAVE to have vast articles spelling out the pseudoscientific arguments of Diop and kind. Obviously they need to be explained but not elaborated upon, and always in their context as pseudoscience. See Dbachmann's post here. Moreschi (talk) 21:29, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I accept your concept of the related memes, and we can obviously have separate cross-referenced articles on each section of the debate if we really absolutely positively have to, but why? I still don't see why it would not be more sensible and coherent to combine them all into a single article, as they are clearly related and overlapping? You mention a previous confused mess, but I wasn't involved in that, and I believe there are enough intelligent people in the world to do it properly - perhaps you could help us to keep it unconfused (without simply deleting half the material, that is). I fully agree with you that many Afrocentric claims are based on pseudoscience, but there is some real science behind parts of it too, and the best way to expose the pseudo-ness (if indeed there is any) is to air the evidence, not to squash it. Who knows - perhaps some of the alternative evidence is quite persuasive after all? Wdford (talk) 23:51, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Wdford mostly. I don't consider there to be really any basis for this theory however, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be mentioned. I think the arguments and evidence for a black Egypt, however flawed and refuted by academia at large, are valid points that need to be mentioned along with the reasons and evidence that they have been dismissed by experts. --Pstanton (talk) 00:01, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree, with both Pstanton and Wdford. An encyclopedia should be source of information, let the readers judge the information by themselves. As long as the information contained meets the standards WP:RS and WP:N, ee should not censor information whether it is for or against our personal opinions. Of course we are limited by page size, so we have to focus on the most critical aspects. Wapondaponda (talk) 00:27, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Has Moreshi ever watched Basil Davidson-Nile Valley Civilizations (Origin)? and lu ne Nkuka Luka (talk) 09:04, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Wdford. Moreschi's approach reads like Cliffs Notes. The truncated, expurgated version he seems to favor is only marginally informative and, because it is merely (and barely) the armature of a decent article, gives much of the countervailing information extremely short shrift. Not only that, it is abysmally boring. This is an encyclopedia, people. Let's try to write something -- yes, factual -- but informative and reasonably comprehensive/inclusive as well. deeceevoice (talk) 15:52, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


Based on discussions at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"?, the community seems supportive of merging content into this article. I propose merging the current article with the version dated 17th August, that was before Moreschi redirected Race of the Ancient Egyptians and created this article. In fact, looking through the Talk page archives, I don't seem to find any discussion on moving the article from Race of the Ancient Egyptians to Ancient Egyptian race controversy. At prima facie, it seems to have been a unilateral decision by Moreschi. We can use this version, and just strip out any original research or unverifiable claims. Wapondaponda (talk) 16:35, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Please read through the archives more carefully. This was not a unilateral decision. There was a long drawn-out discussion and consensus was reached. I have no idea why you would want to return to article full of original research. --Woland (talk) 16:49, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Could you provide the link, because I could not find any discussion of a merger. Wapondaponda (talk) 16:53, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Start here. --Woland (talk) 20:26, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I read through, doesn't seem to have been consensus. Big dynamo was evidently in strong opposition, after he was banned, all dissent was squashed. I think that was a very discouraging move for editors who had worked on the article. I think they felt threatened. No wonder Moreschi is so confident, the problem is he has managed to create some major original research by introducing the neologism "Afrocentric meme". This so called "afrocentric meme" as I have demonstrated, is just one component of the controversy. There is genuine scientific inquiry into the origin of egyptians, which includes egyptian ethnography. There are modern scholars who study this who are not Afrocentrists. Take for example Dr Sonia Zakrzewski, evidently she is not an Afrocentrist, yet references from the article Population Continuity or Population Change: Formation of the Ancient Egyptian State, were deleted from the old article. We need to restore this information. Several independent editors have expressed their disapprovalWapondaponda (talk) 21:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Big dynamo was a troll who refused to adhere to policy. Personally, I couldn't understand most of what he was talking about, ever. No one felt threatened. There was no censorship. There were at least seven people in agreement with the move and rewrite. I'd call that a consensus. As mentioned in the archive there was discussion about adding information to the Origin of the Nilotic peoples article. Perhaps that would be better suited to the kind of information you're looking to add. There could also be (as I mentioned above in a separate thread) an article called Black Egypt (or something). Both redirect to this article now of course but that could easily change. There should definitly be an article from the biological anthropology stand point and something about archaeogenetics.
The fact is that this article has a specific scope. People seem to be ignoring that in these discussions. Sure, the scope can change. But why? I see no reason to take something that is specifically about a controversy and add a bunch of other stuff to it. The article before was huge, unweildy, and almost entirely original research and novel synthesis. There was also a lot of conflating between race and population genetics, which just irks me. This is largely why I am against adding a bunch of the same material back in. --Woland (talk) 21:48, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the old article was huge, and may have had some unnecessary information. The decision that Moreschi et al made was to arbitrarily select the "afrocentrism meme" and delete the rest of the content, regardless of its relevance. That is why folks posting to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? are saying that the particular article is better referenced than this one. In fact almost all the references in this article are connected to just one book, Black Athena. Snowden, bard, lefkowtiz and Muhly are all connected to Black Athena and they make up more than 55% of the footnotes and 75% of the references. The article should be named Black Athena, as it has a very narrow scope. Wapondaponda (talk) 22:08, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
We didn't arbitrarily select anything. We looked at what main-stream scholarship said about the Ancient Egyptians. We looked at what main-stream scholarship says about race. We then decided to remove the original research and focus on the controversy. This controversy does not exist within main-stream Egyptology it exists within Afrocentrism.
I have no idea where all of this hostility, incivility and assumption of bad faith is coming from. The many accusations being leveled against people are absurd and rude.
I have no real problem with merging some of the stuff in that article with this article as it is now, but I think merging it with an older version is a huge mistake.--Woland (talk) 22:33, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Wapondaponda. Moreschi and Woland kept threatening people like Big-dynamo. I tried to add my voice in support of Big-dynamo. I got threatened too. I left the discussion for not being banned! I think we have to go back to the old article and see from there what can be improved. The old article was far better than his one patronised mainly by Moreschi and Woland.--Lusala lu ne Nkuka Luka (talk) 22:30, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I think that everyone, regardless of their opinions about the subject should assumption of bad faith. Woland, with regard to your assertion that you looked at main-stream scholarship, how come almost all the references in this article are related to Black Athena/Black Athena revisited. Is such a narrow range of sources enough to constitute "mainstream scholarship". As Lusala has said, there didn't seem to be an overwhelming consensus when the article was moved. Wapondaponda (talk) 22:54, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I skimmed the August 7 incarnation of "Race of ancient Egyptians," and I find it vastly superior to this article in its current form. It's certainly more informative and more encyclopedic in scope than this tragically truncated specimen.
IMO, what constitutes "mainstream" scholarship is up for debate. "Mainstream" is far too often twisted/conflated to mean "majority," and -- even if one somehow accurately were able to assess the extent to which a certain school of thought might prevail over another -- the two terms certainly are not parallel. The Discovery Channel, with its documentaries on Egypt, that have featured a Black Tutankhamun and a Black Nefertiti, that have featured enactments of scenes of Black Egyptians wearing humongous afro wigs ("enveloping wigs" in the parlance of Egyptologists), is certainly no less "mainstream" than those who hold such representations as "Afrocentric myth." And, yes, Basil Davidson is a highly respected scholar on ancient African civilizations -- and exceedingly mainstream as well. No one, to my knowledge, has characterized his writings as "fringe." And I don't believe the term "Afrocentrist" has been applied to him, either -- though he most assuredly is. Ditto for Petrie, Herodotus, et al. Yet, somehow, the scholarly contributions of such individuals are either dismissed or ignored when discussing Afrocentric scholarship because it doesn't conveniently fit the distorted image of lunatic-fringe, African-American wannabe "scholars" hunched over their respective manuscripts, trying to salve the wounds of slavery and self-loathing by cooking the historical facts in favor of Black achievement and Black hegemony.
Finally, Moreschi's "Afrocentric meme" terminology -- certainly, a neologism (who among us had ever heard or read it before seeing it here?) -- to my ear, at least, sounds as though he's putting what is rigorous scholarship on the level of rumor or cyber myth: say it often enough, and it becomes "truth" -- certainly an outrageously inaccurate, unfair mischaracterization, and exceedingly POV. deeceevoice (talk) 23:34, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
  • If I can insert my own opinion into this thread, which isn't going anywhere, for what its worth I think Moreschi's use of the term "meme" is valid in the context of this article, I think Deeceevoice is wrong when on the issue of mainstream scholarship being debatable. I believe that mainstream scholarship is almost universally accepted as research that has been published in a peer-reviewed academic journal without being refuted. That being said, we need to show and provide sources for arguments in favor of a black egypt, but I seriously doubt we will find what I'd term as "mainstream scholarship" to use as sources.

And to back up my definition of "Mainstream" when used as an adjective for scholarship is

And furthermore, I'd like to point out that Woland has been incredibly civil despite being repeatedly accused of making threats and acting in bad faith. --Pstanton (talk) 02:20, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

The source you cite says nothing about peer review or academic journals; it speaks to what is "widely accepted." Regarding "mainstream," my metric is what is accepted/respected as rigorous scholarship by established prestigious, "mainstream" institutions and other respected scholars in the field, rather than what the average idiot on the street believes, or even what the majority academic community accepts as fact. If one defines "mainstream" by that metric then we're all going straight to hell. The average Joe on the street hasn't a clue that Basil Davidson has concluded that dynastic Egyptian civilization was at its core a Black civilization. Yet, the ignorance and obtuseness of the many doesn't nullify a lifetime of respected and honored research. If the research itself is respected and recognized as having been conducted using established, accepted methods of inquiry and analysis, even if the conclusions reached are novel and not prevailing ones, then that should be sufficient for inclusion, because the study of history is a continuum. When Ivan van Sertima published They Came Before Columbus and posited the pre-Columbian presence of Africans in the New World, many mainstream historians yucked it up. Twenty-five years after, however, mainstream archaeologists acknowledged the presence of Negroid/Australoid peoples in the Americas approximately 7,000 years before the arrival of Asiatic peoples in the New World. deeceevoice (talk) 02:48, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
The problem is the term "afrocentrism meme", as far as the sources that I have encountered, is not used. There has been a concerted effort to exclude any information that is not directly connected to Moreschi's "Afrocentrism meme". I don't see why the article should be held at ransom to it. A person who wants to learn about the physical appearance of the Egyptians is instead given a lecture on how people in the African diaspora were oppressed. Ancient Egypt has many mysteries that have intrigued humanity. The focus of the article should be on the science, egyptology and history concerning these mysteries, rather than tangentially trying to psychoanalyze certain populations. From what I have seen, Woland and Pstanton have their opinions, but have remained open minded about creating an informative article. Wapondaponda (talk) 02:42, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Resolve Probation

It seems to me that this discussion is deadlocked. Some of us want to include information which explains what the "Controversy" is actually about, while others of us want to limit the scope to just the history of the debate without explaining the debate itself. This has been dragging on for a while without any sign of a consensus emerging. Perhaps we should accommodate both parties by renaming this article as History of the Ancient Egyptian Race Controversy. That way the scope and content of the article will finally match the name, and the actual "Controversy" can be explained elsewhere, with an appropriate link to this sub-section. Comments please? Wdford (talk) 13:49, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't really think that renaming it that would solve the issues but an expanded history section is certainly warranted, some of which can be taken from the Afrocentrism article. Much of the information that people want to add to this seems to exists in other articles and could be added using WP:Summary. --Woland (talk) 15:30, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

What's your big plan, Moreschi?

Ok, I notice that Moreschi and Woland have objected to merge the material on the various controversies (Tutankhamun, Cleopatra VII, Great Sphinx of Giza and 'Kemet') here, but I fail to make out their arguments. It was, I think, to some extend justified to replace the version from August 2008 with a new one, but this doesn't excuse leaving the intended scope of this article undefined. If it's supposed to be about Afrocentric view about ancient Egypt, then the material on the controversies has to be included. What arguments do Afrocentrists use to illustrate that Tutankhamun was black, e.t.c.? How has academic criticism of Afrocentrism evaluated these arguments? and so on... If this article is not supposed to be about Afrocentric view about ancient Egypt... - what is this article supposed to be about, Moreschi? I personally would prefer to have an article radical Afrocentric historiography or similar that gives an overview about the development of Afrocentric universal history (Shavit) in general, without going into the details of such controversies as that about the Great Sphinx of Giza. But you have already indicated, Moreschi, that you would still want to keep this article. I can agree to that, but then, why do you object the merge. Either you must have a grand scheme for this article that is as yet beyond my comprehension or you are simply being stubborn? We really need a clarification of this. Zara1709 (talk) 14:44, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem with some material like that being added (maybe using WP:Summary style), I do think that we should keep things like WP:OR and WP:SYNTH in mind when doing so however.I think that this was the intended scope of the article but there has been disagreement largely over providing evidence for one side or another. Obviously the arguments used by both sides are relevant when they are from secondary and tertiary source material but I feel that this could easily degenerate into something that lists eveidence then counter-evidence then counter-counter evidence ad infinitum...which is what the previous version looked like. It is always difficult to walk the line (when we are describing a controversy) between simple description using sources and arguing for one side or another., but this is what we should strive for. If that makes sense.--Woland (talk) 15:08, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
So, if Moreschi gives his 'ok', too, then we can merge the content from Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? here? Hopefully we can all keep ourselves from jumping at each others throat for long enough, so that we actually work on the article. (edit conflict) WP:Summary applies, but only the other way round. In the articles Tutankhamun, Cleopatra VII, and Great Sphinx of Giza we should give an about 3-5 sentences summary of the debate stirred up by Afrocentrism, and here we would attempt to give an account of the whole debate. The importance of WP:OR and WP:SYNTH is self-evident. Zara1709 (talk) 15:39, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Why is Moreschi emerging as the informal leader of this article, It would be nice if consensus included Moreschi. But that does not have to be the case. There is no shortage of capable editors on wikipedia. At the moment, he is the only one who is not for restricting any progress. Wapondaponda (talk) 15:49, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I've returned to this issue only recently, and I came here today to ask the same question as Wapondaponda. What gives? Why are people kowtowing to Moreschi? He's just another editor who happens to be an administrator. Yes, he keeps threatening people, but so what? Moreschi got someone to ban me -- for nothing -- and the ban was immediately overturned because it was utterly groundless. Threatening "Afrocentric" contributors who concentrate on Black subject matter with subject matter bans is simply a means of trying to censor and intimidate people. Don't let it happen. As long as you're editing in good faith, trying to collaborate and contributing as you see fit to the development of a quality article, then everything should be copasetic. And if you do get banned for being righteous, then, again, so what? What's the point of being here if all you do is shuffle? This ain't no gottdamned plantation.
There's no need to start a separate article. Let there be one article, appropriately named. And if you get taken to the woodshed (AN/I) simply for working in good faith to make a better article, then I happen to believe there are those who will see that, who will back you up. Keep it civil. Keep it collegial. Keep it factual. But for God's sake, stop tip-toeing the f*** around Moreschi, and grow some, people!
My impression. My two cents.deeceevoice (talk) 16:22, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Some Changes

Okay. I changed the lead. I didn't like it. Hated it. And judging from some of the commentary on this page, so did others. I hope this is better. If not, I don't own it. Change it -- just, please, not back to the way it was! First of all stuff I changed itself was incredibly POV. And blatantly inaccurate. The roots of the debate don't lie in the establishment of Afrocentrism as a programmatic/ideological reaction to opression and White supremacy. The debate started way before then. Herodotus' account of the ancient Egyptians as black and woolly-haired contrasts with what certain historians and others over the ages up to the present day (like Zahi Hawass) have been telling us. There's a disconnect there somewhere. It also contrasts with all the pop-culture schlock people around the world have been bombarded with in terms of highly Europeanized reproductions/facsimiles of Egyptian in art and artifact, and in print and mass media.

I'm sick of people pretending Afrocentrists are crackpot revisionists and the first and only ones to posit Black African beginnings to dynastic Egypt and to maintain that it was, and remained, essnetially a Black African civilization from its inception to its demise. The article as it was written, continued that misapprehension. The subhead referring to the ancient historical record hopefully will include varying accounts as to what the ancient Egyptians looked like and how they regarded themselves. Because the way it was written, it seemed as though Afrocentrists invented Black Egypt out of whole cloth -- when such is most certainly not the case. deeceevoice (talk) 17:33, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Whether the Ancient Egyptians were as black or as brown in skin color as other Africans may remain an issue of emotive dispute; probably, they were both. Their own artistic conventions painted them as pink, but pictures on their tombs show they often married queens shown as entirely black, being from the south (from what a later world knew as Nubia): while the Greek writers reported that they were much like all the other Africans whom the Greeks knew.::

I believe the above quote is trying to present evidence about their race rather than highlighting the race controversey it's self --Wikiscribe (talk) 17:45, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't know, seems relevant to me.--Woland (talk) 17:46, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
The text I've written is a toning down of the text of the, IMO, POV verbiage that existed before. And if Davidson's quote is evidentiary, then it is certainly no more so than the "neither black nor white" language -- that, frankly, is neither terribly helpful nor very instructive. Does that mean they might be Chinese, then? Maybe blue? At least Davidson's, IMO, exceedingly measured quote addresses the issue and gives a more instructive perception. deeceevoice (talk) 17:51, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Deecee the difference between the statement you added by Davidson and the sentence your refering to by Bard is the difinative notion Egyptian art and that it was realistic that will need a rebuttle which means this article is going back to the way it was prior rebuttle after rebuttle in other words trying to present evidence of there actual race because as you know there are many scholars and sources for their art being highly symbolic from pitch black statues to the lilly white alablaster statues. But back to statement by Bard which is making a note of a now very open debate about the notion of either they had to be among the black races or the white races in other words imposing a very United States of America social Construct /Aryan Model view on Race and forceing it upon the Ancient Egyptians which has been already chronicled also by the late Frank Yurco which fits into what the current state of what the article is suppose to be about the arguement not provideing evidence which is what the Davidison quote is doing, also your statement "Does that mean they were Chinese or Blue" crystalizes her and Frank Yurco arguement, also when do we start the DNA section because i know thats next.--Wikiscribe (talk) 18:55, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Way Forward

People, there is a strong sentiment that more information is better, provided it is quality stuff and not dribbling supposition and wishful thinking. With such a lack of consensus, I feel the only way to resolve the impasse is for those who are interested to build the expanded site, and then everyone pitch in to improve the quality until we are AOK. There are a lot of sites out there that touch on these issues, and all of them could be reduced and streamlined by a three-line referral to this site once this site exists. The voting so far at the Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? deletion debate is 5 to delete and 9 to retain in some improved form, with many suggesting that that site be merged in here.

I suggest the following template:

The mainstream view - to ensure no reader is confused;
A range of sections covering the various disputed topics, using only "scientific evidence" and not just "unsupported personal observations".
A "history of the debate" section.
A final section, listing a selection of the "unsupported personal observations", but clearly noting that these are in fact "unsupported observations".

There is a fortune of material in other articles that could and probably should be centralised here. It will be quick to import it, but it will take a while to clean it up and remove OR and duplications, so a degree of tolerance will be required.

Is there anything approaching a consensus to move forward, and what needs to be done to lift the probation and get on with the job? Wdford (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 20:05, 2 February 2009 (UTC).

This late proposition looks interesting to me.--Lusala lu ne Nkuka Luka (talk) 21:30, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Appropriate name, Race of the Ancient Egyptians

Eventually, the article will return to its rightful name, "Race of the Ancient Egyptians". It is direct and succinct, with no fluff. The controversy should be a subsection of Race of the Ancient Egyptians. The reason is, their are certain things that are not controversial, I will name a few

  • Egypt is located between subsaharan Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptians had frequent contact and often intermarried with middle easterners and Sub-Saharans.
  • Egyptians spoke an Afro-Asiatic language, that is now all but extinct. Afro-Asiatic languages are indigenous to both blacks and middle easterners.
  • The Egyptians depicted themselves in a variety of colors, but predominantly they depicted themselves as reddish brown.
  • At present, the available evidence shows that the formation of the Egyptian State was an indigenous process ie, there is no evidence of an invasion of peoples from outside Africa.

Wapondaponda (talk) 15:43, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I can't see what any of those things have to do with race...I also can think of no good to reason as to why we would have any article called Race of people X (e.g. The Race of Americans, The Race of the Ancient Greeks etc), especially when that civilization doesn't exist anymore. Describing past populations in terms of modern racial categories is inherently anachronistic. On the other hand I think an article about the Archaeogenetics of Ancient Egypt or Physical Anthropology of Ancient Egypt or something like that, would be appropriate. --Woland (talk) 16:19, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
On one hand, I agree that race as a social construct, is difficult to apply to ancient populations. But it is not enough either to think of the ancient egyptians as just abstract people with no racial affinity to any modern day populations. The notion that the ancient egyptians were just egyptians seems to me to be running away from the problem. The ancient Egyptians either descended from a Middle Eastern population or a Sub-Saharan population or both.Wapondaponda (talk) 16:48, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Right, but I still don't understand the need to have an article that focuses on the race of a particular civilization (see examples above). Is there something special about the Ancient Egyptians that warrants this? Maybe, but I don't know. --Woland (talk) 18:50, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
"Archaeogenetics" is too narrow a topic - much of the supporting evidence is not DNA related. This would certainly be one topic within the desired scope of the article, but on its own it does not cover all that is required. Wdford (talk) 16:35, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
"Race" is no longer politically correct; it's generally viewed as a discredited term -- for a number of reasons. And I agree with Wdford that "archeogenetics" is far too narrow an approach. Something more akin to "Identity of the ancient Egyptians," or "Ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians," or something like that probably would be more suitable. deeceevoice (talk) 16:44, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I see the same problem with those titles as I see with the other. See above(Ethnically, they were Egyptian of course). There has obviously been a lot of physical anthropology done on the Ancient Egyptians and it may warrant its own article but I don't think that this article should be the main venue for that and I don't think that it needs to have race or ethnicity or identity. I can't find any other articles that deal with the issue by doing this and I see no reason to do it with this article. Call it whatever you will, Archaeogenetics of Ancient Egypt was simply meant to illustrate a possibility. --Woland (talk) 17:16, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I'll put in my twopence too: I've been watching the talk page silently for awhile now, and it seems the dispute revolves around two main points. First, it would seem that pretty much everybody agrees that the position of a Black (unqualified) Egypt is held by a minority of specialists. The first point of dispute seems to be how to qualify this minority: is it a standard, respected minority opinion, or is it the fringy-type minority opinion. The answer to this question, of course, dictates WP:WEIGHT. I've seen a number of references presented that seemed to suggest the former; however as for refutation of the strength of these arguments, the refuting arguments presented seemed to spring mostly from personal opinion as opposed to cited academic opinion (although some of these were presented too). The second bone of contention seems to revolve around whether the dispute (or controversy, or debate - name it what you will) is a modern one or one that is mostly historical and has since died down or been resolved. The sources presented so far seem to indicate that the dispute is in good part historical (many sources cited date back a century or more), with a rather recent revival (a half century or less) which seems to have been born in good part but convinvingly not totally in Afrocentric circles. I don't see a clear-cut picture showing the subect being a totally Afrocentric one: I see a historical question, mostly non-Afrocentric (by modern standards) and a more recent debate, this one arguably mostly Afrocentric.

I don't mean to argue in favour of one position or another. I just wanted to give you the impression of a mostly uninvolved editor (at least, I've been mostly uninvolved for the better part of a year - I used to be more involved). If my insights may be useful to some of you, build on them. I you feel they aren't useful, just ignore them; I certainly won't be offended. :) --Ramdrake (talk) 17:04, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The title of the article could begin with the word Theories... as suggested somewhere.--Lusala lu ne Nkuka Luka (talk) 17:43, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Strict oppose. If this article is renamed into anything, that would be Afrocentric views concerning ancient Egypt. deeceevoice , you mentioned the Nordicists in your elaborate reply at Talk:Tutankhamun. What I would have written in my reply was, that it was them who made me become involved in this topic in the first place. If you want to have an article about the Race of ancient Egyptians, and the fringe theories about them, then you would also have to include the Nordicists, which I did. And then, in the previous discussion, consensus built in the direction that we did not want to include the material on the Nordicists and that this article should only be about the Afrocentric views concerning ancient Egypt (the 19th century views are also described as Afrocentric universal history by Shavit, b.t.w. ) Actually, by now I think that this is a great idea. And if you rather want to have an Archaeogenetics of Ancient Egypt, well we already have that one. Check the article Archaeogenetics of the Near East, where I created a section on ancient Egypt with the pre-August 2008 material from this article. Zara1709 (talk) 01:15, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Commercial sites

Due to the controversial nature of the article, and accusations of original research, we should avoid referencing commercial websites. We should strive to maintain a high standard of references, otherwise, disputes will quickly deteriorate. These are two examples.

Zara's edits on Cleopatra

Wapondaponda (talk) 23:01, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I concur. --Pstanton (talk) 01:12, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

In general commercial websites do not meet the standard of WP:RS Wapondaponda (talk) 05:11, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Major revert

I notice all of Wdford's recent edits have been reverted unilaterally. Considering the consensus here, and on the AfD discussion[1], which was to merge. I believe this was done in error, and this article will NEVER improve if we can't make any progress. The whole reason the spin off article Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt" was begun anyways was because of unilateral reverts of this page. --Pstanton

And I have no idea whats wrong with the formatting of my comment and whats up with this box around my words, can someone please fix that? --Pstanton (talk) 01:18, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I am going to restore most of Wdforts edits. We had a rough consensus that material on Tutankhamun, Cleopatra VII, Great Sphinx of Giza and 'Kemet' should be included here, but anything else wasn't actually discussed.As long as there isn't a consensus on that, it shouldn't be included. Zara1709 (talk) 01:19, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I see you've unilaterally restored the old, awful lead to the article. And what's your rationale for doing this, given my stated rationale for changing it and Wdford's reasoned revision of it? And when are you going to lift the "in use" tag? It seems a rather presumptuous -- and, frankly, obnoxious -- thing to do. deeceevoice (talk) 01:37, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflic)I didn't restore it unilaterally, you have changed it unilaterally. I actually explained some of my objections above. You are of course free to consider the current lead 'awful', but if you want to change it, you need a consensus of the majority of editors. I, certainly, am not going to agree to it. Zara1709 (talk) 01:48, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't see a comment under the "Some changes" subhead that addresses the language I inserted in the lead in lieu of the old, dreadful one you restored. I'd appreciate the courtesy of a response to my rationale. Particularly since we weren't treated to a rationale for the earlier language, I made it a point to post my rationale for the change I submitted above, but I don't see any comment from you specifically addressing the language you restored and why. So, why did you restore the old, old language -- while purporting to restore Wdford's version -- without addressing the revert? From where I sit, it looks like a bait and switch. And beyond the lead, I thought the structure of the other language showed some promise over what exists now, given your changes. deeceevoice (talk) 02:01, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Personally I think considering the nature of this article, a "under construction" tag would be more appropriate. --Pstanton (talk) 01:44, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

What material to include?

Ok, the easy part first, before we come to the question of the lead and scope of the article. What we had discussed here is that we should include material on Tutankhamun, Cleopatra VII, the Great Sphinx of Giza and Kemet. I was under the impression that it was especially Wdford's concern to have a specialised article to include the material on the Great Sphinx of Giza, in accordance with wp:NPOV, since that material would give undue weight to the question of race in the article Great Sphinx of Giza. Anything else wasn't discussed, and most importantly, Woland ONLY agreed to this. In case anyone hasn't noticed this yet: There is a notice on top of this discussion page that says: "Please discuss substantial changes here before making them." Adding completely new material is, of course, a substantial edit, so it was necessary to revert in full. (Changing the lead or scope of the article is a substantial edit, too, and therefore it was necessary to revert it accordingly.) If we want to have any improvement of this article, we have to stick to the rules. It would not even be necessary that I specify my objections here, but I'll do it anyway while I look through the material (and I don't think that I would need to remove the inuse notice before I am done with that.) Zara1709 (talk) 02:22, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I would include

1.) Evidence and arguments for a historically black egypt 2.) Evidence against a historically black egypt 3.) the notable proponents of each side 4.) the general view of the "black egypt" theory in: Academia, the general public, the modern Egyptians (i.e. the Egyptian Government), and popular culture.

--Pstanton (talk) 02:37, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Also! I notice a "Journal of African Civilizations" is mentioned in the article. I found its official website.

It doesn't seem to be anything like a normal peer-reviewed academic journal. Its not an actual Journal, its a store selling books and audio lectures of dubious provenance. A quick examination of their store shows their material is mainly based off the ridiculous theory that the Africans colonized the Americas, Europe. I even saw one claiming that the ancient Africans were in Asia... I think the "Journal of African Civilizations" needs to be discounted as an academic source, or at least needs to be taken with a grain of salt. --Pstanton (talk) 02:44, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

  • As far as I see it, there was substantial material on four to five potential subtopics added:
  1. Material on "the ancient historical record" or "The Classical Observers"
  2. Material on the "19th Century Observers"
  3. Material on the "the Ancient Evidence", namely 3a) "the Ancient Egyptian texts" and 3b) "Ancient Tomb Paintings"
  4. Material on "The Language Element"

My objection to this addition of material is based on several reasons. 1) There is the material from the pre-August 2008 version of this article on these subtopics that could be restored if we would want to include it again. I have, as with the material on Tutankhamun, reworded that partly already. 2) There was some sort of consensus to limit this article on the Afrocentric views on ancient Egypt and the controversy surrounding them. There may be several editors who object to this and rather have a factual article on the Race of the Ancient Egyptians, but before we change the scope of this article again, we need to have a throughout discussion about it or we will just wander around in circles. If the article is indented to be about controversy surrounding the Afrocentric views about ancient Egypt, then material on the "the ancient historical record", the "the Ancient Egyptian texts" and "Ancient Tomb Paintings" and "The Language Element" is only interesting insofar it has been used in the discussion of the Afrocentric views. The material in the form in which it was added did not show that. 3) The material on the "19th Century Observers" could be added, then, though, since these are, at least by Shavit, also subsumed under Afrocentrism, but we would need to hear a few more editors on that, first. I could write some more on this, but the question of the lead and the scope of the article are more important than that, a.t.m.Zara1709 (talk) 02:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

suggesting deep revert

I see we're in another round of Afrocentric pov-pushing, indistinguishable from its twisty little precedents, all alike. Here is the sane version of 26 August 2008, for future reference. I fail to see that re-addition of all the Tutankhamun/Cleopatra stuff is at all encyclopedic or helpful. As much as I love articles on cranky topics, we need to remember that Wikipedia is WP:NOT a random collection of information pulled off the web. --dab (𒁳) 13:08, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I wished you had done this before you suggested a deep revert, but you can still do this now. Take a look at the article Great Sphinx of Giza, its edit history and talk page and tell me whether the section on the racial characteristics can be considered undue weight there. Probably not with the way Wdford has attempted to rewrite it; but the view that the Sphinx was black is a significant minority view and needs to be discussed somewhere. In the version as I had written it there wasn't a singe web page quote, only books. Zara1709 (talk) 13:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Radical Afrocentric Historiography has now been created, so hopefully the "Afrocentric pov-pushing" will relocate there where it can add real value. The "Tutankhamun/Cleopatra stuff" is helpful to those who have heard of these "cranky" topics and are seeking actual scientific evidence to either confirm or rebut what they have heard. Please assist us to build and professionalise these sites. Wdford (talk) 13:21, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Cool. Now, then, it seems to me the lead can go back to something less restrictive and more appropriate than that which now exists.  :) deeceevoice (talk) 13:44, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi everyone. Although there was substantial agreement to merge Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? into the article Ancient Egyptian race controversy, it seems some people want a paragraph by paragraph referendum on such changes. As this approach is going to be tedious and time-consuming, I propose that we meanwhile build the new Ancient Egyptian race controversy article on the Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? site, move it to a new name and then polish and build consensus there before merging the fully built and agreed article into Ancient Egyptian race controversy.
On this basis I have rebuilt the Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? site. There is lots more to do. Comments and contributions please.
As the current name Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? is offending some people, would it be acceptable to move this entire process to a new site, called “Theories on the Race of the Ancient Egyptians”, or something similar, while we build agreement on the content and layout?
Wdford (talk) 14:01, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
That's great for those who want to concentrate on that side of the debate -- and I'm one -- but there also need to be people here, keeping an eye out and working constructively to frame the article in such a way that that information, once polished, redacted and properly sourced, can be effectively included in this piece to produce one, coherent article. (In case you hadn't noticed, there's been another hand-off -- from Moreschi, to Zara, and now to Dbachmann.) Thanks for being bold and taking the initiative. :) deeceevoice (talk) 14:19, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes indeed, but I am starting to think that perhaps we should build the completed article at the other site, then create a new name that everyone is happy with, then blank this article and substitute it entirely??? Wdford (talk) 14:35, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Wdford, I would ask you to forgo creating random articles at random titles until you acquire a basic knowledge of WP:MOS. --dab (𒁳) 14:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, --dab, I am working my way through the manual. This was an emergency. YIIA Wdford (talk) 14:35, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

well, the proper place to discuss Afrocentric historiography, including "Radical" variants, is at Afrocentrism. The current attempts at making this stuff appear more legit just by waving your hands intensely will not work, as it never does on Wikipedia. If you want to apply such twists and spins to the story, you are much better off writing your own blog where your contributions won't be redacted or scrutinized. --dab (𒁳) 14:44, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I fuly agree that "this stuff" should all be centralised at Afrocentrism, and hopefully it will be eventually. Meanwhile, its currently all over the place, and is damaging a range of "factual" articles. Somebody with the appropriate knowledge needs to fix Afrocentrism and consolidate the topic, but I'm not that guy. All I'm trying to do is resolve the current dispute so that important issues can be addressed without tripping over each other. Please assume good faith, and help where you can. Wdford (talk) 14:55, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Removed temporarily

I'm trying to work within the framework that seemed to be developing before the unilateral edits of yesterday evening, but in doing so I find I've had to remove some potentially useful information under the subhead "Modern-day Afrocentrist scholarship." I'm stating this right up front so that there can be no misapprehension that it is my intent to completely excise it from the article. The deleted text follows.

The roots of Afrocentrism lay in the repression of blacks throughout the Western world in the 19th century, most particularly in the United States.[2] At the turn of the century, however, came a rise in black racial consciousness as a tool to overcome oppression. Part of this reaction involved a focus on black history, and counteracting what was perceived as white, eurocentric history in favour of a historical narrative of Europe (and what was viewed as its founding culture, ancient Greece) that gave blacks a more prominent role.[3] To a certain extent Afrocentrism also arose as a backlash against scientific racism (broadly speaking, a 19th-century phenomenon) which tended to attribute any advanced civilization to the immigration of Indo-Europeans.

Specifically, this attempted rewriting of the historical narrative of Europe developed into two main forms: the claim that European civilization was founded not by the Greeks, but by the Egyptians, whose culture and learning the Greeks allegedly stole, and that the Egyptians themselves were not only African but also black.[4] Often, Afrocentrists link the two claims, as the following quote (by Marcus Garvey) displays:

Both themes were to survive Garvey and to continue throughout the 20th century and up to the present day, provoking debate both in academia and in more public spheres, such as mainstream media and the internet.

Just sticking it elsewhere is problematic because the text that currently exists examines Diop and others who are considered Afrocentrist. So, this needs to be redacted and incorporated. I'd do it, but I've got some errands to run. Will be back later today, though. Hope I haven't made a mess. deeceevoice (talk) 14:11, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Edit-warring/arbitrary block reverting by Zara

Let's here some comments here on the two versions, so we can proceed. deeceevoice (talk) 14:23, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Your section titles like "The Ancient Evidence" not only shows that you continue to cheerfully ignore basic WP:MOS, they are also misguided in other respects. "Ancient evidence" for what? An "Ancient Egyptian race controversy"? What you mean to discuss is "evidence adduced by Afrocentric historiographers". That this alleged evidence should concern Ancient Egypt is hardly remarkable, since the entire discussion surrounds Ancient Egypt, not the current-day Arab Republic of Egypt. Seeing that your contributions fail to meet any standards even at such a basic level, I don't think further discussion is necessary. --dab (𒁳) 14:40, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Actually, it was "Ancient Evidence on the subject of the race of the Ancient Egyptians". The "evidence adduced by Afrocentric historiographers" is a separate section. This article has been crippled by a series of mass reverts, and a lot of repair is needed. Wdford (talk) 14:45, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Wrong, Bachmann. Don't presume to tell me what I "mean to discuss." You clearly haven't a clue. The information contained under the heading is about the infamous mural, which provides some "evidence" with regard to how the ancient Egyptians regarded themselves relative to their neighbors. How that "evidence" is interpreted is another matter altogether. And your comment about style is petty/ridiculous and simply juvenile. I'm perfectly familiar with wiki style with regard to headers, but that's the least of my concerns with this article at the moment. There's plenty of time for such nitpicking. Seeing that your contribution here fails to meet any objective standard: i.e., it fails to address the matter at hand in any substantive fashion, but is merely a (characteristic, even comically signature) b*tchy, supercilious, little snipe hardly worthy of notice, no further discussion of your particular input here is necessary. deeceevoice (talk) 14:59, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Wdford, that doesn't give in indication of where you stand on the lead paragraph. I'm trying to frame this article in a way that addresses the entire range of perceptions of the ancient Egyptians, from self-portrayals/concepts to ancient observers, to academia, to even pop culture portrayals and how they've served to shape the current debate/confusion over the matter -- rather than simply starting out with Afrocentrism, which ignores centuries of portrayals and images up until that point. What say you? I'd like to know what you think. deeceevoice (talk) 14:59, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I fully agree with what you're trying to achieve - I would personally much like to extend the scope beyond just Afrocentrism. However I was concerned that the specific language you used was a bit too intellectual for many readers - a lot of us don't speak English as a first language. I know this is an encyclopedia, but it is a valuable global resource, so please bear with the other 82% of us! :) Also, I would prefer to keep the lead short and sweet, with the detail further down in the article. Secondly, a lot of this material is of the "unsubstantiated opinion" variety that attracts WP:OR and so forth, so I wanted to create a section for "opinions" to differentiate clearly what is "science" and what is "personal opinion". I thought this might help, considering some of the pro-delete comments at the other site. BTW, now that this site has been blocked again, would it not add value for you to work on the other site rather in the meanwhile - then the effort will be useful when we copy it across? Wdford (talk) 15:11, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I intend to contribute there, but, Wdford, you still haven't clearly answered the question. Which lead, which approach to developing this article are you more in favor of? Focusing on Afrocentrism and ignoring all other contributing factors to the controversy at the outset, or framing the controversy in a more inclusive, comprehensive and encyclopedic manner? If we do not keep this article on track, there won't be anywhere fit to come back and interject whatever language we come up with elsewhere; it'll be twisted beyond all recognition -- or end up so expurgated/truncated, we might as well revert back to Moreschi's personal draft. deeceevoice (talk) 15:19, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I say frame the lead as inclusively as possible, but use language that is a bit more user-friendly please. Wdford (talk)
So, you don't have a problem with the content of what I wrote, then? And you prefer that approach to framing the article over the present one? (Sorry, but we need to be clear if we are to proceed. Thanks.) deeceevoice (talk) 15:36, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I prefer your approach. Please consider the current version of the lead at Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"?. Wdford (talk) 15:49, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Fringe theories noticeboard

Editors here deserve to know that there is once again a discussion going on concerning the editing of this article on the Wikipedia:Fringe_theories/Noticeboard#Afrocentric_historiography. --Blockinblox (talk) 23:07, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Lead and scope of the article

Ok, deeceevoice, I took a look at your comments in the section you called "some changes" (what an understatement). Wasn't there a guideline somewhere "Arguments to avoid"? To write "I didn't like it. Hated it."certainly doesn't help to advance the discussion. What helps a little are your other statements about you feelings. You have written. "I'm sick of people pretending Afrocentrists are crackpot revisionists," - Well, I, too think, as opposed to Dbachmann and Moreschi, that it is unjustified to pretend that ALL Afrocentrists are crackpot pseudo-historians. However, there are some Afrocentrists who are crackpots, if I may use your terminology, and those aren't helping to advance the Afrocentrist cause. The critique of Lefkowitz apparently fails to recognize the differences within Afrocentrism, and so does Moreschi. But, I already was well under way with getting Moreschi into a discussion that would help him realize his misconception, since Shavit, whom I have repeatedly quoted, is aware of the differences within Afrocentrism, which is why he speaks of Radical Afrocentric universal history, and not purely of Afrocentrism. But since we now need to have a discussion about the scope and the lead of this article, I don't think that I will be able to continue the discussion with Moreschi soon.

And in the discussion about the lead and the scope of this article, I have to largely take the side of Moreschi. The old, pre-August 2008 version of this article was unacceptable because WP:SYNTH prohibits to take material from various sources and use it to advance a position not given by these sources. "The centuries old-ramblings of the first Egyptological amateurs" are not really notable in an article about the current controversy surrounding the Afrocentric views about ancient Egypt and certainly can't be used to justify an article title like 'Race of ancient Egyptians'. We don't need an article that attempts to list "contradictory reports and perceptions [about the identity of the ancient Egyptians] accumulated since Classical times." Who cares about all the "Evidence and assumptions [that] have been contributed by people of all walks of life, from tourists to traders to scholars"? What we need is an article that gives an overview about the development of radical Afrocentric historiography since the 19th century. What we apparently also need is an article that accommodates the material on the various controversies about ancient Egypt that have arisen due to Afrocentric historiography. The accounts of other people are only relevant in this article insofar they have been referred to in the controversy. Such an article can have a clear structure and a concise lead. If you want to have an article not only about the Afrocentric views and the controversy surrounding them, but about the Ancient Egyptian race controversy in general, or the Race of ancient Egpytians, all you can actually say in the lead is that some people have considered the ancient Egyptians as 'black' and others as 'white'. Would you seriously want me to restore the material on the Nordicists?

I am not even half done with criticizing, but if I want to remove the 'inuse' soon, I need to get back to the article. And if, after I have removed the inuse, there are large reverts and an edit war, I'll ask this article to be fully protected so that we can resolve the discussion first. Then no one will be able to edit the article, though. Zara1709 (talk) 04:08, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Zara, your reverts are unilateral, you have not sought the support of the community on your actions. Wapondaponda (talk) 05:04, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Neither did you seek the support of the community on your actions. Again, read the notice on top of this article: Please discuss substantial changes here before making them. I've made the substantial changes that roughly were agreed on and some insubstantial additions (with citations), anything else does need to be discussed first. I am not saying that some of the intermediate additions that I have removed mustn't be restored, but we need to discuss that first. Otherwise I don't think that we will be able to ever improve this article.Zara1709 (talk) 05:20, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Wapondaponda, many of the edits that Zara undid were also in good part unilateral (although I totally see your point). It might be better to wait until (s)he's done editing and then address whatever was reverted and not restored that you and the other editors feel should be in the article.--Ramdrake (talk) 05:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Also a suggestion to the editors: it might be useful to consider giving the scope of what is called "Afrocentric" at least as far as this article is concerned. From Zara's explanation of the concept, it looks to be much broader than I had imagined as a total layman on the subject, which prompted some of the misapprehensions I had on the current formulation of the lead.--Ramdrake (talk) 05:17, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

The emerging consensus on this talk page and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Arguments/Evidence for a "Black Ancient Egypt"? is there is no need to have limited scope on the article. Editors should not arbitrarily assign the scope of any article, the scope of an article should be mirror its scope in Academia. Editors cannot for example, decide to limit the scope of an article on Mathematics to Algebra and not Calculus. If they did so, they would be engaging in original research. The same goes for this topic. Scope can only be limited for the purpose organizing an article ie WP:SS but this is not the case with this article. Otherwise as long as information meets WP:RS, WP:NOTE, [WP:VERIFY]], then it is fair game. Secondly as previously mentioned, because of the controversial nature of the article, we should maintain a high standard of references. Commercial sites are generally not recommended, as they often violate policies such as WP:SPS and WP:QS. Zara1709 has introduced the following references from commercial sites.

I therefore suggest reverting his edits to this version before Zara1709 instituted his/her unilateral reverts.Wapondaponda (talk) 09:20, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Zara, I've skimmed your response, and much of it is utterly off-point. In changing the lead, you completely reverted to a version that pretends that the controversy began with Afrocentrism as a school of thought -- which it did not. That is unacceptable. I'm not defending Wdford's specific revision of the lead (frankly, I think it's inferior to the language I contributed -- but that's just my opinion, though I'm not wedded to the inclusion of the Davidson quote appearing there; I'm fine with its addition later on). What I am defending, however, is the information it presents (it is essentially what I intended), and I am defending the fundamental plan of attack that it suggests in the restructuring of the article. Your actions so far with regard to the article are entirely inappropriate and insulting to those of us who have been trying to work in a collaborative fashion. Essentially shutting down the article for editing, then making such sweeping changes without discussion, or even bothering to address and explain your rationale(s) in the talk page space is unacceptable, disruptive and counterproductive. And threatening to shut down the article completely for editing if you don't get your way is precisely the kind of nonsense we've been getting from Moreschi. It doesn't work, it's not going to shut us up, so cut it out.
If one of us had pulled the stunt with this article that you just did, we'd find ourselves at AN/I in a flash. What you've done is essentially duplicate the dictatorial, threatening approach that Moreschi adopted in the framing of this article and in relating to the other editors here, after he seems to have exited the scene (temporarily, at least) -- and, speaking frankly, it looks to me a helluvah lot like the classic good cop, bad cop gambit, like the two of you are tryin' to play us. If I'm wrong, then my apologies, but you certainly couldn't prove it with this kind of conduct.
And don't even try to compare what I did with the lead with what you've done. It simply doesn't wash.
Finally, given what Zara's done with the article -- disregarding anything else and simply looking at Wapondaponda's list of "sources" above -- I think reverting to the imperfect, but far more acceptable, version by Wdford would be a good point of departure at this point. I think a block revert is in order. And if Zara would like to defend and discuss her suggested changes to the article in the article talk space, then perhaps we can decide what is acceptable, what is not, and what might be acceptable with some alteration. deeceevoice (talk) 10:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Don't you think that, if you want a full revert, you could have found a better argument? Some of the weblinks are only from the pre August 2008 version of this article; "" is a link to the private homepage of an African-American (!) scholar. It would be nice if we could replace some of those links (others are fine), but it is not urgent. What we need to discuss here above anything else is what kind of article we want. I roughly know what I want. An article radical Afrocentric historiography (if I find the time to write it) and this article to include some content about controversies that would be an undue weight in other articles. But what do you want? Do you really want an article that includes every "evidence and assumption that has been contributed by people of all walks of life, from tourists to traders to scholars"? Don't you think it would be better to have an article that only includes the material insofar it is relevant for the debate about the Afrocentric views about ancient Egypt? How are you going to find a criteria of what to include and of how much weight to give each point, if you want to include all "reports and perceptions accumulated since Classical times"?
I justifiedly think this article will be of more use to the reader if it explains for each element of evidence or argument, how it has been used by Afrocentrism (or the critique thereof) in the debates surrounding ancient Egypt. This doesn't mean that we mustn't include that e.g. "Herodotus described the Egyptians as having black skins and woolly hair." On the contrary. We need to include how the account of Herodotus has been used within Afrocentrism, which however, is quite different from simply saying how he described the ancient Egyptians. It is actually not that difficult to find out how Herodotus' account has been used within Afrocentrism. There are good tertiary sources on the topic. All you need to do is look up "Herodotus" in the index of History in Black. But with the strong concerns of Woland and Moreschi about original research and original synthesis, I don't think that the material on Herodotus that was added was acceptable. I think that some material on "the Classical Observers" should be added, but with the article, controversial as it is, we certainly can't discuss 4-5 subtopics AND a change of the lead and scope of the article at the same time. Reverting was the only option, if we want to keep all sides in the discussion. And I neither want Moreschi to block the expansion of this article completely nor deeceevoice to push the topic of the article back to "Race of ancient Egyptians", a concept which, I think, we have already left behind. I certainly object to the later, and since I suppose that Moreschi and Woland would too, as long as they are taking part in the discussion here, I don't think that I could be outvoted.
(edit conflict) Yes, deeceevoice, I pulled quite some stunt here. It has cost me my whole Tuesday morning, and I hope that Wikipedia was worth it. And if you really think what you have written, deeceevoice, why don't you notify Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents? I certainly am not scared if this and someone ought to learn from it. Zara1709 (talk) 11:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, Zara, I don't know what I want. It may surprise you, but I haven't come here with a plan on how I want the article to go. But I know when something is right and when something is wrong. I don't mind letting other people take the lead and contribute an idea and then commenting and seeing where it takes us. Contrary to the authoritarian, unilateral approach you and Moreschi have taken here, my approach tends to be organic and collaborative. That doesn't mean I'm against people taking the initiative and contributing something to see if it sticks -- which is what I did in taking a stab at rewriting the lead after reading a lot of grumbling in the talk page space. But, again, what I did and what you did are not even remotely equivalent.
And are you serious? You can't be that tone-deaf. Your use of sources is the least of my objections. I clearly didn't say that was my only issue with your sweeping changes. Certainly, the problem with the lead and where it takes the article is the major one.
Clearly, Zara, since you want an article on "radical Afrocentrism," then you need to go write it -- because this isn't the place for it. And therein lies the problem. The article begins with a comment on Afrocentrism -- when this isn't that article. The restored lead totally twists/mischaracterizes the controversy at the outset -- as I've been saying since I returned to this piece -- when the controversy has far older and deeper roots than Afrocentrism. It's flat-out inaccurate.
"...I neither want Moreschi to block the expansion of this article completely nor deeceevoice to push the topic of the article back to "Race of ancient Egyptians", a concept which, I think, we have already left behind."
WTF? I suggest you go back and reread the title of this article. Yeah, we get it. Your stated agenda is an article about "radical Afrocentrism." Fine. But don't skew/screw this article in the service of that end. Since you're so hell-bent on it, it might benefit the project if you would go away and write that other article and leave those of us who want to write an article about the controversy surrounding the ethnicity/"race" of dynastic Egypt to do so.
And no. I'm not going to the AN/I behind your nonsense. As far as I'm concerned, such measures are only to be used as a last resort, and I don't think it's necessary at this point. Besides, I never much cared for cops -- especially ones who play utterly transparent games and think they can fool people. ;) I don't believe in running to the AN/I whenever there's a problem. After all, we're all adults here. Just go away, or stay and behave yourself, and all will be well. ;) deeceevoice (talk) 11:56, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I can guess what plan you have for this article from what you have written here. But, if you want my opinion, that plan is stupid and I am actually trying to get you to reconsider it. But so far, you appear unable to actually discuss your intentions; The polemical tactics, which I also used against Moreschi, are not ends in themselves. After the three month debate about whether Adolf Hitler was nominally Catholic I simply have come to the conclusion that it doesn't make much sense to start out polite if the discussion gradually turns into polemics anyway. I wouldn't be here arguing if I hadn't reassured myself that I have a point. You are saying "the controversy has far older and deeper roots than Afrocentrism", and, in the lead of the version you proposed, that "the current debate over the ethnic identity of dynastic Egypt has its roots in contradictory reports and perceptions accumulated since Classical times." YOu couldn't be more wrong. The debate, that you and almost everyone else care so particularly about, emerged from the situation of African people in the United States and in Europe (mostly France). If you give me a few hours, I can explain this with some quotes from Shavit, whose scientific credibility has not been doubted so far. It might be that other contemporary historians writing about Afrocentrism assess the issue differently, but in any case WE NEED TO DISCUSS THIS FIRST (as probably not all adults, but at leasts academics would do it.) YOU don't appear to be up to this discussion, why else would ask me to "Just go away". Zara1709 (talk) 12:23, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
That's amusing. If you can guess my "plan," then you must be a psychic -- and a better one than I. ;) And Let's leave Hitler out of this discussion -- shall we? You keep mentioning him.
Actually, I didn't write that language you quote. What I wrote, and what I've already said I favor, was:
"The current debate over the ethnic identity of dynastic Egypt has its roots in contradictory perceptions and physical portrayals of Egypt in the ancient historical record and in academia, among travelers, historians, archaeologists and other scholars of ancient and contemporary times, and in modern popular culture. The disparate ways in which the ancient Egyptians depicted themselves in art and artifact, in symbolic representations and realistically, have served to fuel the debate."
And don't twist my words. It's clear that I said you should stay and behave yourself and help write an article on the clearly designated subject matter -- or go away and write the article you've said you want to write on "radical Afrocentrism." Just don't keep trying to do it here. Again, this is not the place. deeceevoice (talk) 12:40, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Radical Afrocentric Historiography

Radical Afrocentric Historiography has now been created, based heavily on the work of Shavit. Let's use this energy constructively, please? :) Wdford (talk) 13:16, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Oh great, Wdford, couldn't you have done something useful, like actually merging the content on the Great Sphinx of Giza here? I kept it quite that I was rewriting the material from the pre August 2008 version of this article under the name Race in ancient history for a very good reason. If the editors who otherwise watch THIS page noticed the article and are as 'bold' with substantial changes there as they are here, then I will never be able to write a halfway decent article.
In a related note. I will stop talking to deeceevoice. She thinks that she can tell me to "behave myself", what would only be appropriate in a mother/child or teacher/pupil relation. I don't know whether she is a mother and/or a primary school teacher in real life, but I personally have the intention of writing an encyclopaedia article based on academic sources, and although polemics are sometimes necessary, this is quite different from a kindergarden. Zara1709 (talk) 13:37, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
And on a further notice: Don't expect much from me on this issue for the remainder of today and tomorrow. I don't mind spending 8 hours in one morning on a single issue, but there are other things I have to do. It would be nice if you could keep yourself from carrying out substantial revisions, though, until I had a chance to comment on them. Zara1709 (talk) 13:44, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
"It would be nice if you could keep yourself from carrying out substantial revisions, though, until I had a chance to comment on them." You're kidding -- right? deeceevoice (talk) 13:46, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
No, I am not kidding. "This is a controversial topic that may be under dispute. Please discuss substantial changes here before making them. "Editors making disruptive edits may be banned by an administrator from this and related articles, or other reasonably related pages." Restoring a disputed revision with a full revert is disruptive. To quote Moreschi: "Can someone please bite the bullet and ban this troll?" [4]Zara1709 (talk) 14:01, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
There's a difference, Zara, between a willingness to discuss substantial changes before making them -- an instruction you would have done well to head before disrupting the article and precipitating a lockdown of the article by shutting down the article for your own purposes and defying that very instruction -- and holding off editing the article for a single editor (you) while that editor goes off to work on another article. And stop the name-calling. Your "contributions" thus have been disruptive and wholly counter to the spirit and process of collaboration here.
Furthermore, you will notice that there has been substantial dissatisfaction voiced herein, by various editors, about your edit-warred version of the lead paragraph, which launches into Afrocentrism immediately -- when that is not the scope of this article. It is inappropriate and reflects your stated desire to write an article on "Radical Afrocentrist History." As I've said before, go ahead. Write your article. But that article is not this one. Your edit-warred lead needs to go. deeceevoice (talk) 09:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)