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

Moorish Origins of “Flags” As “National Device Standards”

“The most likely source of this knowledge is the First Crusade. During the struggle for the possession of Jerusalem in the summer of 1099, Robert of Normandy, in personal combat, seized from one of the Saracen Emirs an object which is described as a very long pole covers over with silver, having at its top a golden ball or apple (pomum aureum). This was called a standard, a word which was evidently at that time of recent introduction, for the contemporary historians, some of whom had been eye-witnesses of the events they relate, have various ways of spelling it, and usually refer to it such a way as to indicate that the word was not in familiar use.”

“According to Albert of Aix this standard was borne in front of the army of the “King of Babylon” and was the center around which the flower of the army gathered and to which stragglers returned. A few year later Fulcher of Chartres notes the capture of three more “standards,” but does not describe them.”

“We have already noticed the name “standard” appears first applied to a Saracen ensign. Further corroboration of this is supplied by the Chanson d’ Antioche and Le Conquete de Jerusalem. In the poem the author (Richard the Pilgrim) has imagined a wonderful standard carried on an iron chariot and made of ivory and various precious woods, and of an enormous height: L. toises longes I puet on brachoier Onques nus homs de char ne vit si haut clochier.”

Source: British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device. by Perrin, William Gordon, 1874

Flags of maritime nations. Printed by authority by United States. Navy Dept. Bureau of Equipment Publication date 1899

Dark-skinned Muslims found in medieval plasters, paintings, poetry and romances are not always monstrous, but their blackness indicates that they are evil…The monster that encapsulated all three of these entities – Saracen, Jew, and black African – is the Black Saracen. This is a hybrid monster, an African (implicated as Satan by his dark skin), Jewish (depicted executing a saint), and Muslim (by the monker “Saracen” as well as by the turban he often wears)”(Arjana, 2014, p. 49).

Source:   “FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen” 

Gloucester Cathedral 13th century effigy of Robert Duke of Normandy William the Conqueror’s eldest son who died in 1134.

“The eighth scene in the series has given rise to much discussion. It portrays a Christian knight in the act of unhorsing a pagan warrior with a mighty thrust of his lance and bears the inscription: R DVX NORMANNORVM PARTVM PROSTERNIT. Robert’s legendary combat with the emir ‘Red Lion’ during the great battle of the Franks against Kerboga, as related in the Chanson d’ Antioch”

“The Chanson d’ Antioch also narrates another spectacular exploit in which Robert overthrew and slew the great emir ‘Red Lion’ during the same battle…..The later compilation of the Godfrey matter, edited by Reiffenberg, contains no mention of Robert’s combat either with Kerboga or with Red Lion; but it relates a very similar exploit in which he overcame a ‘Saracen king of Tabarie.’ With his lance at thrust, and raising the triumphant war cry “Normandy!”, he bore down upon the Saracen with such force that he pierced his shield a full palm’s breadth and a half, and wounded him deeply “between lungs and liver.:” Finally, mention must be made of Robert’s prowess in the legendary battle on the plain of Ramleh before Jerusalem, as told in the fantastic account of the Chanson de Jerusalem. This time it was a Turkish King Atenas whom he slew, and many others besides, so that the ground was strewn with the enemy dead.”

“It may be noted in passing that the battle of Ascalon Robert performed an actual feat of arms (cf. supra, pp. 115-116) which may perhaps form the basis of all legendary exploits which we have been passing in review. The references to the enemy’s ‘standard’ in Wace (supra, p. 190) and in the Chanson d’ Antioch (supra, p. 195) would seem to lend some color to this view. But it should be borne in mind that such exploits of knightly valor are commonplace of the chansons de geste, and are attributed to Godfrey and to other chiefs as well as to Robert.”

Source: Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy By Charles Wendell David

“Tabarie. The identity of this name has a number of possibilities. Perryman observers “Tabarie may refer to a famous battlefield near the sea of Galilea…but it is common in romances as a Middle Easter kingdom” (p. 114n1117). Like the name of the kings, it is likely just an exotic flourish, though there may be some connection to the brief romance “Hugh of Tabarie.”

Source: The King of Tars edited by John H Chandler

“The Emperor of Persia, named Barbaquan, whom one of the Tartar princes had overthrown, as I have already described, came with his army into the kingdom of Jerusalem, and took the fort of Tabarie, which had been by Monseigneur Eudes de Montbeliard, the constable, who was the lord of Tabarie through his wife”

Source: Saint Louis, King of France

“Henceforth I wish to put my effort into rhyming and relating a tale I have heard told, of a king who was of great lordship in pagan lands, and who was a very loyal Saracen: his name was Saladin. In the time of this king, the Saracens inflicted much damage on the people of our faith, by their pride and by their outrage, until on one occasion a prince came to the battle. His name was Hue of Tabarie, and he had with him a great company of the kings of Galilee, for he was lord of that country. They did great deeds of arms that day, but it did not please the Creator, Him who is called the King of Glory, for our men to have the victory, for Prince Hue was taken there, and led through the streets straight before Saladin.”

The word “Moor” is older than “Negro” according to Century dictionary & cyclopedia By Benjamin Eli Smith

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“In the Century dictionary and cyclopedia By Benjamin Eli Smith  the terms Moor and Negro are found.  Moor is defined on Page 3852 Moor, n. [Earl mod. E. also Moore, More; <ME. More, Moore, Moore = D. Moor = , MLG. Mor (ef. equiv. MLG, Morian = Dan. and Sw. Morian, Dan. also Maurer) = F. More, also Muare = Pr. Mor = Sp. Moro = Dan. and Sw. Morian, Dan. also Maurer) = F. More, also Maure = Pr. Mor = Sp. Moro = Pg. Mouro = It.  Moro, < L. Maurus, M.L. also Morus <Gr. Maupoc, a Moor; perhaps <……., dark (see amaurosis); but perhaps the name was of foreign origin. Cf. blackamoor. Hence Morian, Moresque, Morisco, morris.] One of a dark race dwelling in Barbary in northern Africa. They derive their name from the ancient Mauri or Mauritanians (See Mauritanian), but the present Moors are a  mixed race, chiefly Arab and Mauritanian origin. The name is applied especially to the dwellers in the cities. The Arabic conquerors of Spain were called Moors. The folk of that Country be blacke now, and ore black than in the other parts; and there ben ckept Moures. Manderville, Travels P. 146″

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“When we turn to the definition for Negro we find negro (ne’ gro), n. and a. [= F. negre O E. ne- ger, now nigger = D. Gr. Dan. Sw. neger = Buss. negru: see nigger^), < Sp. Pg. It. negro, black, as a noun, negro, m., negra. f., a black person, a negro; It. also nero = Pr. negre, nier = OF. negre, nigre, necre, ner, neir, F. noir, black, < L. niger (nigr-), black, dark, dusk, applied to the night, the sky, a storm, etc., to pitch, ete., to ivy, etc., to the complexion (‘dark’), etc., and also to the black people of Africa, etc. (but the ordinary terms for ‘ African negro ‘ or ‘ African ‘ were ethiops and Afer); also, fig., sad, mourn ful, gloomy, ill-omened, fatal, etc. Cf. Skt. nig, night; but whether Skt. nig, night, is related to nahta, night, or either to L. niger, black, is not clear. From L. niger are also ult. E. nigrescent, nigritude, Nigella, niello, anneal1 (in part), etc.”

The words Moor*, blackamoor, in the same sense, are much older in E. ] I. n. ; pi. negroes (-groz). A black man: specifically, one of a race of men characterized by black skin and hair of a woolly or crisp nature. Negroes are distinguished from the other races by various other peculiarities — such as the projection of the visage in advance of the forehead; the prolongation of the upper and lower jaws; the small facial angle; the flatness of the forehead and of the hinder part of the head; the short, broad, and flat nose; and the thick projecting lips.

The negro race is generally regarded as comprehending the native inhabitants of Sudan, Senegambia, and the region southward to the vicinity of the equator and the great lakes, and their descendants in America and elsewhere; in a wider sense it is used to comprise also many other tribes further south, as the Zulus and Kafirs. The word negro is often loosely applied to other dark or black-skinned races, and to mixed breeds.

As designating a “race,” it is sometimes written with a capital. Toward the south of this region Is the kyngedome of Guinea, with Senegal, Iaiofo, Gambra, and many other regions of the blacke Moores called Ethiopians or Negros, all which are watered with the river Negro, called in olde tyme Niger R. Eden. See First Three English Books on America [(ed. ArberX p. 374. H. a. Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of black men or negroes: as negro blood; negro dances. It is often asked what Races are Negro, as the meaning of the term is not well defined. . . .The word is not a National appellation but denotes a physical type, of which the tribes In North Guinea are the representatives. When these characteristics are not all present, the Race is not Negro, though black and woolly-haired. R. N. Oust, Mod. Langs, of Africa, p. 53.

See The Century dictionary and cyclopedia By Benjamin Eli Smith