In Response to “National Geographic’s “Racist” article “Who were the Moors” by Erin Blackemore

Erin Blakemore is a Freedom user, journalist, and author from Boulder, Colorado. Her work on history, health and science, and the unexpected has appeared in outlets like The Washington Post, National Geographic, NPR, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Popular Science, History.com, and more. Her first book, The Heroine’s Bookshelf was also the winner of the Colorado Book Award for non-fiction.

National Geographics recent article “Who were the Moors?” has destroyed its credibility as authentic source of information. The Roman dramatist Platus (254-184 B.C.) maintained that the Latin word “Maurus” was a synonym for “Niger”. In contrasting the Moors of the sixth century with another racial group in North Africa, Procopius (circa 550 A.D.) wrote that: “they were not black skinned like the Moors.” “Isidore, a Catholic scholar and the Archbishop of Seville (587-636) wrote that the word ‘maurus’ meant ‘black’. “The Mauri possess bodies black as night, while the skins of the Gauls are white”. (citing Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, 6th c. AD.) As early as 1489, William Caxton wrote: ‘He was so angry for it, that he became black as a Moor’. In 1550 William Thomas, in his Principal rules of the Italian grammar, defined ‘Moro’ as ‘ a Moore or blacke man’, as if the two were synonymous.

Shakespeare’s play Othello features a Moorish general in the Venetian army. The 19th-century African-American actor Ira Aldridge, depicted here in the title role, was the first black man to appear in a Shakespeare performance in Britain.

Erin Blakemore’s article titled “Who were the Moors?” and published in the name of National Geographic unintelligibly states:

“IF THE TERM “Moor” seems familiar but confusing, there’s a reason: Though the term can be found throughout literature, art, and history books, it does not actually describe a specific ethnicity or race. Instead, the concept of Moors has been used to describe alternatively the reign of Muslims in Spain, Europeans of African descent, and others for centuries.” Source: Who were the Moors?

Portrait of an amazigh (berber) kel tamasheq beauty. (North Mali, 2006) 📷: Emilia Tjerström

The term “Moor” wasn’t confusing to the founders of the United States as they applied the term “Moor” in  various treaties made with Morocco. The term “Moor” wasn’t confusing to the United States Immigration Commission (1907-1910) when they defined it in their Dictionary of Races and peoples. but its confusing to individuals like Blakemore and racist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Blakemore’s concept that the term “Moor” has never been clear demonstrates that she simply failed to research the definition and etymology of the term “Moor”. Her article doesn’t provide one citation from a dictionary from the modern era, nor the colonial era.  

Portrait of an amazigh (berber) elder woman. (Imilchil, Morocco) 📷: @redasarrar

A dictionary of the English language: in which the words are deduced from : their originals, explained in their different meanings and authorized by the names of the writers in whose works they are found by Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784 defines “Moor” as

[Maurus, Latin.] A negro; a black-a-moor. “I shall answer that better than you can the getting up of the negro’s belly; the moor is with child by you. Shakespeare.”

A crowned Moor has featured in the crest of the Archbishopric of Freising since at least 1284, perhaps because of a Kirchberg family connection, a connection to the Crusades. Zürcher Wappenrolle (ca. 1335-1345), Zürich, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, AG 2760.

“As late as 1398 we find the following reference to the ‘Moors’: Also the nacyn (nation) of Maurys (Moors) theyr blacke colour comyth of the inner partes.”

Source: A New English dictionary on historical principles: founded mainly on the materials collected by the Philological society / edited by James A. H. Murray … with the assistance of many scholars and men of science.

We will provide citations that Blakemore either ignored or has simply never read. If she never read them, then she shouldn’t be doing articles in the name of National Geographic that basically attempt to strip modern American Moors of their Moorish History and Heritage by introducing pseudo and frivolous notions in the name of a premier media corporation. Blakemore’s demonstrates that her knowledge is limited where she stated:

Moor” seems familiar but confusing” …”it does not actually describe a specific ethnicity or race”..

Our question is where is Blakemore looking to determine the meaning of the term “Moor”? Likely wikipedia and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Blakemore’s assertion is frivolous and not backed by any credible or authentic scholarship on the subject. She has provided her opinion likely adopted from racist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, who have no true credibility on this subject, just a racist agenda.  Clearly Blakemore didn’t look up the terms “Ethnicity” nor “Race” and she definitely didn’t get her pseudo concepts from a dictionary defining “Races“.

The U.S. Immigration Dictionary of Races and Peoples

The United States Dictionary of Races and Peoples clearly defines “Moor” as:

“A historical rather than an ethnographical term applied to very different peoples of northwestern Africa. In Roman history it is applied to inhabitants of Mauretania (Morocco and Algeria), who were in part Phoenician colonist. In Spanish history the “Moors” and “Moriscos” were mainly supposed to be Arabs. Today the word is wrongly applied to the Riffs of Morocco and to the town dwellers of Algeria and Tunis. The latter call themselves generally “Arabs,” although often in part of Berber blood. The Moors, in a stricter ethnological sense, are the mixed Trarza and other tribes on the western coast, from Morocco to Senegal, mainly of nomadic habits. They are of mixed Berber, Arab, and often Negro blood. Many speak Arabic. (See Semetic-Hamitic.)” Source: Dictionary of races or peoples by United States. Immigration Commission (1907-1910); Dillingham, William P. (William Paul), 1843-1923; Folkmar, Daniel, 1861-1932; Folkmar, Elnora (Cuddeback) 1863-1930

Phoenician Male head with Negroid features :    (CE12093)

Erin Blakemore’s article further goes on to unintelligibly states:

“Derived from the Latin word “Maurus,” the term was originally used to describe Berbers and other people from the ancient Roman province of Mauretania in what is now North Africa. Over time, it was increasingly applied to Muslims living in Europe. Beginning in the Renaissance, “Moor” and “blackamoor” were also used to describe any person with dark skin.By then, the idea of Moors had spread across Western Europe. “Moor” came to mean anyone who was Muslim or had dark skin; occasionally, Europeans would distinguish between “blackamoors” and “white Moors.” Source: Who were the Moors?

The term does not derive from “Latin”, that is simply false. The term made its way into European languages via Latin, Yes. However the term originates in Afro-Asiatic languages such as Canaanite and Biblical Hebrew. Here we can see that Blakemore made the connection between Moor and Berber, but fails to recognize both terms fall within the scope of Ethnicity, Race and Nationality. This is why we may properly categorize her article under the guise of “racial discrimination“. Apparently, Blakemore did not do thorough research on the terms “Berber” and “Moor”. She presents confusion where she notes that Europeans would refer to blackamoors and “white Moors“. The term “Blackamoor” is well known to be a synonym for “Moor”. See the United Kingdom Blackamoors in Scotland Exhibit.

“Most Marka identified themselves as ‘white’ (the black were the recently converted). The Dyula were a long-distance merchants, called Marka on the Niger bend…” They called themselves the whites due to their faith – Islam. “ “In this country as in the east, a word meaning white is attached to the ruling class and black is synonymous with dependency and servitude.”  “The Moroccan system of racial definition was clearly “racialist” and was in fact a curious inversion of the Western racist model. Whereas in the western model “one drop” of black blood identifies one as black, in the Moroccan model, “one drop” of white blood identifies one as Arab (i.e., privileged).” “This process helped create a “nationalist” Moroccan Arab majority and at the same time subjugated black ancestry (i.e., those without the “one drop” of Arab blood), seen as having more bearing on the historical antecedents of slavery.”

Source: Invention of the White Race Vol. 1 Racial Oppression and Social Control By Theodore W. Allen blog by El Aemer El Mujaddid 

Cabeza negroide, época fenicia " ( Head negroid, Phoenician)
Phoenician Male head with Negroid features : ( CE12093 )
Hometown : The seabed in the vicinity of the tip of the Nao (La Caleta )
Size : 22.5 x 16.5 cm
(8.9 inches x 6.5 inches)
Dating: sixth century B.C.
Museum Museum of Cádiz
Cultural Context / Iron Old Style . Phoenician- Punic
Hometown Playa de La Caleta , Cádiz ( m ) ( Cadiz Northwest Coast (district) , Cádiz ( province): Punta del Nao
Underwater Archaeological Survey , Rodicio Mera, Antonio
Specific / Site Location Playa La Caleta

“The etymology of the word “Moor” can be traced to the Phoenician term “Mahurin” meaning “Westerners”. The Semitic etymon “Mahourím,” referred to “People of the West,” and the terms “Maghreb” meant “The West” or “the place where the sun sets;” and “Greater Maghreb” referred to “Further West;” while “Moghrab el Aksa,” meant “the extreme west.” According to Laurence Waddell Early Phoenician titles such as: “Muru,” “Mer,” or “Marutu,” can be translated as meaning “Of the Western Sea (or Sea of the Setting Sun).” The “Akkadian Amurru” occur as a geographical term meaning literally “the West.” In Sumerian the “Amorites” were known as the “Martu” or the Tidnum, in Akkadian by the name of “Amurru”, and in Egypt as “Amar”, all of which mean ‘westerners‘ or ‘those of the west‘. It must be noted the “Hebrew” terms “Maarab,” “Mareb,” “Marrabah” and “Mah-ar-awb” also mean “West“. The Hebrew “Mahur” also means “Westerner.” Odyssey 1.21-25: “But now Poseidon had gone to visit the Ethiopians worlds away, Ethiopians off at the farthest limits of mankind, A PEOPLE SPLIT IN TWO , one part where the Sungod sets and part where the Sungod rises.”  

Source: “Moor” originally meant “Westerner” not “Black”, “Negro” or “Colored”

Blakemores belief is clearly a result of the fact that most individuals identifying themselves as “White” in modern society are largely not aware that “White” was not used by Europeans as a racial group until 1681 and it followed “Christian”, hence in the Virginia Colony if you were not a European Christian then you were Black i.e. not “White”.  This was convenient because any Moors in the Colony would have been recognized as not being of Christian birth. The concept of Black and White was being used in Moorish Society long before the colonist of Virginia adopted such a caste scheme and applied to the skin complexion of the colonial subjects. In Moorish Society “White” emphasized “Pure Arab” and “High Nobility” status. It did not apply to skin complexion and therefore the darkest or Blackest Moor were in most cases “White Moors” in comparison to Moorish offspring who were not of pure Arab lineage in those days. These are fundamentals as to an understanding of Moorish Society. There has never been a description from any ancient European scholar that has described the Moors as anything other than having Black Skin.

Erin Blakemore’s article further goes on to unintelligibly states:

“More recently, the term has been coopted by the sovereign citizen movement in the United States. Members of Moorish sovereign citizen groups claim they are descended from Moors who predated white settlers in North America, and that they are part of a sovereign nation and not subject to U.S. laws. It’s proof of the ongoing allure of “Moor” as a seemingly legitimate ethnic designation—even though its meaning has never been clear.” Source: Who were the Moors?

White Americans have tried to use “sovereign citizen” arguments in U.S. federal tax cases since the 1970s. See “37 T.C.M. (CCH) 189, T.C. Memo 1978-32 (1978)”. It appears Blakmore’s intent was to associate the recognized “Race‘ and “Nationality” “Moor” with the Sovereign Citizen movement. Blakemore like most White Authors omit the underlying fact that the Sovereign Citizen movement is made up of mostly White American members and was founded by White American members. Here we go again with White individuals attempting to associate criminal associations founded by Whites with what they deem to be “Black People”.  Like Blakemore, other White writers on the subject commonly omit the material fact that White Americans employed as Judges in several courts throughout the United States are at the root of the concept of “Sovereign Citizen” via their dictum in cases discussing the duties of a Citizen of the United States and or duties of Government employees. Driscoll v. Burlington-Bristol Bridge Co. is an Example:

“The foundation of a republic is the virtue of its citizens. They are at once sovereigns and subjects. As the foundation is undermined, the structure is weakened. When it is destroyed the fabric must fall. Such is the voice of universal history. * * * The theory of our government is, that all public stations are trusts, and that those clothed with them are to be animated in the discharge of their duties solely by considerations of right, justice and the public good. They are never to descend to a lower plane. But there is a correlative duty resting upon the citizen. In his intercourse with those in authority, whether executive or legislative, touching the performance of their functions, he is bound to exhibit truth, frankness and integrity. Any departure from the line of rectitude in such cases is not only bad in morals but involves a public wrong.” 

The concept of a sovereign citizen movement originated in 1971 in the White American Posse Comitatus movement as a teaching of White European Christian Identity minister William P. Gale. The concept has influenced the tax protester movement, the Christian Patriot movement, and the redemption movement—the last of which claims that the U.S. government uses its citizens as collateral against foreign debt. Blakemore totally ignored that well documented history in preference of associating this criminal group “Sovereign Citizens” with the Race/Nationality “Moor“. The ideology works like this, associate modern the racial identity “Moors” with members of the “Sovereign Citizen movement” to justify treating them as “Criminals” and not as Citizens of the United States belonging to race or nationalityMoors” which is a protected class in law. The phrase “Sovereign Citizen” is not a race, ethnicity, nor nationality, therefore it is not a protected class, hence the main agenda of White writers like Blakemore is place the credit belonging to the Sovereign Citizen movement created by White Americans upon American Moors, generally.

These racist and frivolous notions derive from an alleged Jewish organization which is truly a “Hate Group” known as the Southern Poverty Law Center. See Racial bias claims hit Southern Poverty Law Center’s status as arbiter of hate

“Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, took the lead with a letter to the Internal Revenue Service requesting an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the incongruously wealthy nonprofit group, which he blasted as a “racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation.” “I’ve long been troubled by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s activities, which are centered on serial defamation of its opponents, not on civil rights litigation, as its founding charter says,” Mr. Cotton told The Washington Times.“SPLC has lost all credibility,” said the letter, led by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “We call on all media, corporations, social media companies, and financial institutions to immediately stop relying on their discredited and partisan ‘hate’ and ‘extremist’ lists.”

This organization published several articles with the sole effort to associate the term “Sovereign Citizen” with the “Race”/”Nationality” , “Moor“. The articles of this organization has influenced individuals in state and federal government positions who thought they were a credible source to cite from or adopt notions from. This conduct has simultaneously resulted in those government officials committing racial discrimination against several Moorish litigants in state and federal countries in direct violation of the Klu Klux Klan Act.

“These shameful secrets are no longer hidden in shadows. The New York TimesPoliticoNPR and a host of other mainstream publications are reporting on the corruption and widening credibility gap. The SPLC dismissed its co-founder in March, and its president has resigned amidst numerous claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism within the organization — a parade of disgraces that vividly force the conclusion: The SPLC is hollow, rotten and failing at the very virtues it pretends to celebrate. The SPLC, as an institution, has thoroughly disqualified itself as an arbiter of justice. But this country would be a better place if the center’s donors, lawyers and friends would truly believe and apply Dr. King’s legacy — his peaceful pursuit of justice and his love of neighbor.”

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate-based scam that nearly caused me to be murdered

Pete the Moor and European Black Face Traditions

“In the United States of America, Pete has largely been removed from the narratives in Europe where he is basically Santa Clause (Sinterklaas) assistant and enforcer. While many suggest that Blackface is racist and seek for non-Black Europeans or so-called Whites to end the practice, many of the Moors in America point to these practices as a reference as to their true race and nationality as “Moors”. In America, such information is largely esoteric, its as if the Europeans or White Americans do not want Black or African Americans to acknowledge or be aware of their well documented Moorish History.”

“Whites whether from America and Africa commonly come to the Murakush Society facebook page making comments suggesting that the Moors were not Black in color or complexion. This does not seem to be something that actual Europeans have a problem admitting.  I find it comical because it shows that European American’s and European North Africans are just as ignorant as many Black or African Americans about Moorish history. Both groups have become dumber based on the white-controlled educational leadership in the country when it comes to the origins of Black or African Americans.”

“Good news is the actually educated counterparts of White Americans know very well why Black Pete as they call him in Europe is said to have been from Spain and why Europeans dress in Spanish Moor outfits and paint their faces Black.  I’ve seen movies where the narrative turns Pete the Moor into a non-human monster with some sort of evil agenda. In the Dutch narrative, Pete punishes the naughty and takes them back to Spain. “In Central European folklore, Father Christmas is often said to have captured a demon and put him to work as an aide. The character of Krampus, a horned devil who punishes the naughty, is a loose Germanic equivalent of Black Pete, although far more malevolent than his Low Country counterpart.”

See Black Pete: Who is the ‘racist’ Christmas character sparking clashes in the Netherlands?

“The other aspect of this story often overlooks the fact that the original Santa Claus is historically known as Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was from what is now modern-day Turkey, while Americans teach their children that Santa Clause lives in the North Pole. It is said he was a Bishop involved with the historical council of Nicaea, where it was determined that the birth of Jesus Christ would be celebrated on December 25th. The final point as to Saint Nicholas is that it appears he was also a Moor.” 

See SANTA CLAUS WAS AN EUROPEAN MOOR – BY OGUEJIOFO ANNU

“Black Pete’s origins are more problematic. There are suggestions that he started life as a Moorish servant from Spain, a Turkish orphan rescued by St Nick, or an Ethiopian slave freed by him. Some, squirming with embarrassment, explain that Black Pete gets black from soot coming down the chimney. If so, it doesn’t explain why he looks like a Victorian colonialist’s a supposedly humorous caricature of a black person. But perhaps Black Pete’s origins lie further back and raise even more concerns about today’s portrayal.”

 

See A Christmas controversy by Mark Mardell 

“The Fight Against Black Pete is a never-ending Battle. Opposition to end the Black Pete theme argue that his character is not human, thus he is not supposed to represent a Black man, clearly, that is bullshit, based on the fact that he was referred to as a Moor and dressed in Spanish Moor attire, the thought is reminiscent of the fact that Moors were dehumanized during slavery which went hand in hand with the Christian discovery of America that followed the fall of Granada. One thing I notice is those who oppose Black Pete do not oppose White Saint Nicholas.” 

“Thus we have an issue where both personalities were Moorish or at least Moor and Turk or Turk and Moor, yet the Protestors against Black Pete do not also Protest the White Washing of Saint Nicholas, as far as I have observed, that is. Protestors including Zwarte Piet Is Racisme project co-founder, Jerry Afriyie briefly brought the November Sinterklaas arrival parade to a halt by blocking the path of men dressed as Black Pete. (Hans Mooren).”

“However, those against the tradition quickly point out that the character comes from the 19th-century children’s book “Saint Nicholas and His Servant,” in which the servant, Black Pete is described as a Black Moor from Spain. While Black Pete may be part of Dutch folklore, his portrayal is part of historically negative stereotypes of Black people dating back to colonialism.” See The Fight Against ‘Black Pete’, a Holiday Blackface Tradition “

“Illustrations from Schenkman’s story depict Pete wearing the traditional dress of Spanish Moors, the Muslim people expelled from the devoutly Catholic country to North Africa in the early 17th century. Schenkman is also thought to have taken inspiration from the 13th-century medieval manuscript Legenda Aurea, compiling accounts of the lives of the saints, which suggests Saint Nicholas once freed a slave from the court of the Emperor of Babylon, who stayed with him thereafter as a devoted familiar.” See Black Pete: Who is the ‘racist’ Christmas character sparking clashes in the Netherlands?

“In sum, it seems to me that Black Pete represents the Moorish characteristics of Saint Nicholas. It appears that both Santa Claus and Black Pete are fictional characters made from the historical Saint Nicholas the Moor and or the Turk. This practice seems to be a common European revisionist practice in terms of taking Moorish historical personalities breaking their characteristics up into two or more characters. Robin Hood would be another example of their revisionist strategy.”

“Black demons are said by the 6th century Pope Gregory to have carried off wicked souls to hell (Arjana, Sophia Rose, 2014, p. 49), just as “black Peter” of the Germanic countries was traditionally believed to have been originally a Moor of Spain who used to kidnap European children. Peter, who had apparently converted to Christianity and became Saint Nicholas’ helper in his early folkloric depictions “frequently held a sack which was supposed to be used to carry bad children off to Spain, once a stronghold of the ‘Moors’” (Sexton, 1999). The custom of blackening the face at festivals to represent Peter is found not only in Europe, but in Dutch and German communities in America as well.”  See FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen”

“The Moorish “henchmen” and their ruler are said to live in tents and in a white manors or towers by the sea.  In another tale, Marco, in order to achieve one of his heroic deeds at one point when he is in the accursed dungeon of “Azak”, takes black dye “and dyed black his white face, he made of himself a black Arab, and let out his good brown steed”.  (p. 111).” See FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen”

 “In Bulgaria, as among the Roma, black face is often used for the Arapi, i.e. Arabs, in mumming or mummers parades. In certain villages “entire faces are blackened, and not just with soot but with a dark-black greasepaint or polish” (Creed, Gerald, 2011, p. 190).”  See FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen”

The U.S. has more governors who have worn blackface than actual black governors. No African Americans currently govern any of the 50 U.S. states, which makes a tweet by an activist both arresting and accurate: More governors exist who have worn blackface than there are black governors in the U.S., tweeted civil rights activist Samuel Sinyangwe in late August 2019. In 2019 alone, two governors, Ralph Northam of Virginia and Kay Ivey of Alabama, respectively a Democrat and Republican, both apologized for wearing blackface decades ago during their college years.

See Does America Have More Governors Who Have Worn Blackface Than Black Governors?

Mayor Kenney said on Twitter, “The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable:

“The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable. This selfish, hateful behavior has no place in the Mummers, or the city itself. We must be better than this. The group was disqualified and we will be exploring additional penalties.”

Source: Blackface controversy casts a pall over 2020 Mummers parade in Philadelphia