Blacks in Britain by 300AD

Feb 28, 2010 12:00 AM
By Reuters
Tests on the skeleton of a rich fourth-century Roman woman found in Britain reveal she was of black African ancestry.
Experts said the discovery proved the island's multicultural origins were much earlier than thought.

Archaeologists from the University of Reading re-examined the remains of the "Ivory Bangle Lady", unearthed in a stone coffin in York in 1901.

Using new forensic techniques that included analysing her facial features, measuring her skull and evaluating what she ate, they were able to say she had both "black" and "white" ancestry and was of high social standing.

The team concluded she was most likely of North African descent.

"Multicultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times," said a senior lecturer at the university, Dr Hella Eckardt who led the research.


What a lovely way to end Black History Month!

After centuries of seeing the world through the eyes of people who never actually went anywhere, but assumed things were just the way they needed for them to be, I've noticed Europeans and European Americans are beginning to embrace the realities of the African influence on the world.  Little stories like the one above amuse me. 
"Guess what gang?  We found black people in Britain!"  Duh.
Yeah, stupid.  All the people in Britain were at one time, black. 
Yes, nice people, today I randomly think (rant) about evolution and how people are just... slow.

Palenotologists and anthropologists have, for quite some time now known that the oldest member of what is know known as the human race, was found in Africa.  They announced this and the immediate response was, prove it?  Which they did. quietly, concisely and without error. Thoughts on the matter have been going downhill ever since.

Historical logic states that humans are a curious sort and with that said, are very likely to move around in search of what is around them.  In addition, depending on the environment around them, they may find it necessary to move to simply survive.  Anthropology shows this happened more than 10,000 years ago.

"Lucy's" family grew and spread out, north, south, east and west.  The family, over the eons, changed, adapting to their new environments, the need and use of melanin in skin changed, the waviness of hair to protect the head evolved.  The family started to change. 

So, by the year 300AD, a Roman woman of African descent (genetically) wouldn't seem such a strange thing. Or would it? 

Probably not to 4th Century Romans. Certainly to 21st Century Global snobs.

It was at the end of the Roman Empire that things got "weird".  Before that time, people weren't distinguished by the color of their skin, but by the culture of their people.  The notion of racism really didn't exist.  Folk didn't like you because "your people slaughted my people, and as soon as we get ourselves together, we're going to return the favor."  It was all so very polite and respectful, and bloody.  Oh how times have changed.

Whenever the shock of discovering black people have some purpose in the world comes up, I am reminded of the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  If you recall, the Iranians kidnnapped a group of Americans.  They first released the women as "they have no purpose and are worth nothing to us" (I'll rant about that notion at another time) and then, to the shock of the world, the black men in the group.  American media went nuts.  Without being vulgar, they basically asked, "why do the niggas get to leave?"  Some insisted it was because, like the women, the blacks were worthless to the Iranians.  The Iranians cleared that up really fast.  They released the black men beacuse they were "our brothers, and we have no quarrel with them."

If you hadn't seen and heard it for yourself, you would probably, at this point, find that statement hilarious.  The response was just that, hilarious.  Suddenly, white folk in America had to see blacks from a global point of view (and didn't want to, naturally) and black folk in America had to catch their collective breath at the notion that someone out there actually loved us.  It was priceless.

That was 30 years ago.  Memories are short, naturally. Truth of that magnitude is hard to swallow.  Gag reflexes were strong and many didn't like the taste.

So, in the interim, the little truths about black folk, who we are, where we come from, how we've evolved, where we travelled to and what we've done for all these years, must be feed slowly, deliberately.  No more shoving it down the throats of the majority (at least in this country); they can't digest it. Spoonfeeding, the babies' tummies are still developing a taste for reality.

I love science and history, don't you?

Did I Mention?

If you are a secret follower of this blog, you know I have two children.  I've written upon occasion about my daughter, who is now a junior in college (in case you care).  I've never really said much about my son however.  Lots of reasons:  I keep forgetting he's in the house, he isn't as high maintenance as his sister was in high school, I really haven't had much to say about him, until today.

He's going to Japan in about 35 days.  We're all very excited about this. 

Just a little background info.  My second born child is 18, male, and a senior in high school.  He has been accepted to a local art school where he'll be studying animation.  He wants to work for Pixar... or put them out of business (that's a quote).  For the past 6 years, he's been studying all things Japanese: the language, the customs, the culture, the people, the politics.  He's just might apply for citizenship if we don't be careful.  Well, the one thing he's always wanted to do was visit the country.  He's finally getting his chance.

It only cost me a hell of a lot of money and a great googob of energy, but, he's going, along with his Japanese teacher (whose apparently his second mother) and 5 other students from his school. The reality of this trip hit me a couple of days ago when the passport finally arrived.

Ma, my passport is here. Look.
I look (I know what a passport is, but part of being a mother is pretending to be dumber than a bag of rocks on cue)

Nice, put it with your other papers.
I watch him as he grins and shows the picture to the half dozing cat purring fitfully under my arm and he leaves the room.  My baby is all grown up and going to Japan.  Hope he comes back.  Hope he brings me something better than a damned tee shirt.

As with our daughter, we worked hard to guide and support the dreams of "the boy".  Again, he has been a joy to raise: low maintenance, few behavioral issues, generally easy to deal with on the social level.  Hell, he might even graduate with his class (ha, he better)

He's chosen compatible friends, stayed away from the temptations of the hood, including drugs, gangs and as he puts it, smelly skanks.  He will be a talented artist and animator one day.  He loves his mother, respects his father and shows just the right amount of tolerance for his big sister.

So, as the day of emancipation draws need, you'll hear more about the phantom son of mine...I'm sure his sister will let him know I wrote this, and he'll comment on the invasion of his privacy and all that crap.  Oh well, I'm still the mama, deal with it son.


Angels in Our Midst

I made the mistake of telling someone I was thinking about taking a day off. I made this wild statement way back in January. I haven't done it yet.  I ran into the person I told the other day.  Yes, she asked if I'd taken my day off.  I had to tell the truth, the woman has lie radar.

What is it about you short people?  Yall work too hard.

So, as I stood there defending height challenged people and making my excuses for not taking a day off, it occured to me that maybe, just maybe, she had a point.  Not about the short thing, but, that I could benefit from a day off.  Every Saturday for the last 2 months has been filled with some thing to do or pretend to do, or I was comotose from the week before.  The next couple of weekends will be the same. 

I was brought up by a workaholic, I suppose some of it rubbed off on me.  I can't help it; there's always something else that needs to be done, considered, looked into, finished up.  Just before I wrote this, I was on the phone with someone who told me how I should seriously consider teaching at the college level; right after I get my Masters Degree.  He understands me.  Never stop moving; moss might start growing, and we can't have that.

Back to my angel... she's right. I need a day off.  A day to just do nothing.  A mental health day, or better yet, a weekend.  I'm overdue, yes. I used to take mental health weekends all the time; just to sleep and stare out of a hotel window and maybe write in one of my notebooks for a few hours. 

The angel in my midst has delivered the message.  Its time to stop and take a few minutes for me.  Let me add that to my list of things to do.  Ha!

thanks M....

Good Question...

the question has been batted around this month... "Is Black History Month Still Revelant?" 

I always ask, relevant to whom?  still waiting on a response to that.

Seriously... who was black history month created for, and is it still relevant to those people? I did a little research, checking biographies of Mr. Woodson, the founder of the weekly observance that eventually became Black History Month.  All I can find is that he felt it was important that "black studies" should be taught in schools and colleges.  What high schools?  What colleges? 

Now, so you know, the people asking this poignant question are black.  This in itself, fascinates me.  Assuming that Woodson's focus group was blacks, what would make black folks  honestly believe black history month has become irrelevant.... unless of course, they don't actually know any black history.  Anything is possible.

On the other hand, there are non black people of various sorts who "tolerate" this esteemed month of regiritation of all things King, X,Tubman, Douglass.  I had a white student of mine, seriously ask me... what's so damned important about Black History Month? (yes, she cursed... yes, I reprimanded her).   I told her simply, BHM is important because it is part of the history of this country, same as all the other "histories" of this country. 

Its important to understand that nothing happens in a vacuum.  Perhaps, that's why, in the minds of some, BHM has become irrelevant.  They can no longer see it as part of the big picture.  Few see how Harriet Tubman's work with the Underground Railroad was just part of her glorious life... because of her lurking around behind Confederate lines during the Civil War, she was able to be a spy, one of the few women that were able to help the Union Army.  No vacuum there.

Few get how Martin Luther King resisted the desire to become the spokesman of his people, but had preachers who came before him (including the one that stood in the pulpit at Dexter Avenue just before him) helped him see how his words could bring about change.

There are so many stories... of how the little people, us... who will never have our names in histories books, had, have and will change history in the small things we do daily.  One day a child I've taught might find a cure for a disease that has eluded doctors for decades.  That would be ME... making BHM relevant to me. 

Which begs the question... how are you making BHM relevant?  What have you done, do, or will do in the future to make history come alive?  What will you say to change the history of this country, this world?

Is Black Hsitory Month still relevant?  Only if you think you are relevant...

When I was a kid in school, and Valentine's Day came around, the teacher would have us decorate brown lunch bags with hearts and kisses and tape them to the sides of our desks.  At the appointed time, we would run around the room and drop our little cards in the bags of those we wanted to be our valentines and the teacher would give us all candy and a special card for each of us.  We'd run home with our bounty and read each little card to see who loved us enough to scribble their name on the card.  It was heaven.

Whatever happened to that?

When I was dating in college, depending on the guy I was hanging out with, Valentine's Day could be anything from a romantic dinner at some overpriced restaurant he couldnt' afford, in his attempt to both impressed and seduce me... or simply laughing and watching a "chick flick" in the dorm.  It wasn't as simple as when I was a kid, but it was nice. 

Whatever happened to that?

While in the throes of courtship with the man I eventually married, a silly little ritual begain.  I mentioned, the year we met (we met about a month before Valentine's Day, actually), that I loved Pez... and Jelly Bellies. On Valentine's Day, I got both and the most beautiful hand made, hand drawn card.  I still have the card, I have no idea what happened to that first Pez dispenser.  The Jelly Bellies were heaven.

Over the years, the general gifts have remained the same (I really do love Pez and Jelly Bellies) and the hand made cards are tied up neatly and in a box in the back of my closet.  I get dinner some years, jewelry others, all sorts of surprises too.  Its been... loving.

Yet, somehow, I want the dumb little card with his name scribbled on it.... and the candy hearts and the teddy bear and all the other stuff I got when I was younger.  I just what I really want is... younger.  Its gone tho... I know.

Valentine's Day has become this day of remembrance... joy on a quite level, happiness contained.  Its good, very good.  Even without the scribbled name on the card.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone...

Unless you've been under a rock or something for the past few weeks, you should know that today is Superbowl Sunday. I am an Indianapolis Colts fan, and my team is playing my husband's team (the New Orleans Saints) today.. This friendly rivalry has been the highlight of the season and as our daughter is proud to say, a true measure of how we much we love each other. I'm taking a moment from my preparations to do what I always do on Superbowl Sunday... panic.

I am a football fan.  I've been a football fan for as long as I can remember.  Saturday afternoons propped up in front of the television with my father or uncles, Sunday afternoons learning the minor details of the game.  I love football.

This time last year, I muttered about how NEXT week would signal the end of the football season.  Since the Pro Ball was moved to the week before the Superbowl this year, I realized this is it... the season is over tonight.  I think I need to be put on suicide watch.

The really sad thing about the end of football season is there's 8 weeks before baseball season starts.  The eight weeks in between are torture for me.  Even with the winter olympics this year, I just don't know what to do with myself.  I only like skiing, and not even that much.  Hockey is out of the question, and basketball, ugh... tall, skinny people in baggy shorts shooting balls at baskets just doesn't move me.

So, the orgasmic high that is the Superbowl will end with a bang... tonight.  After nearly 20 weeks of foreplay, teasing, moments of joy, tears, sadness, confusion, amusement, my annual affair with football is over.  Tomorrow at school, I'll discuss the game with students and teachers and by Monday night, I'll be circled up in a ball in my bed wondering if I will survive.  Its over; I can't stand it.

Although I'm not as big a fan of college ball as I am of pro ball, I will, if not otherwise occupied, watch the draft and at some point in July, I'll begin my flirtation with the sport again.  Then, as always, I"ll be back here, the first weekend of February, suffering... interruptus.

Lord help me....

On Being "Retarded"

Okay, its time for the political correctness police to dust off their robes and wander around aimlessly as people make excuses for saying what they say.

In case you've weren't aware, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmauel, behind closed doors (where most of us assume we're safe from the PC Police) called a group of liberals who wanted to run ads against conservatives "f*ckin retards".  Somehow, our favorite Republican Barbie Sarah Palin found out about his comments and noted that what he said was inappropriate. Remember, Sarah is the mother of a child with cognitive and physical disorders.   I, as a teacher, a parent and a citizen of the world, agree with her, that word is not on the cool list. (don't panic, I'm allowed to agree with her sometimes, ok?) 

In the meantime, our favorite Republican Mouthpiece, Rush Limbaugh used the term publically during his radio program basically denouncing Sarah's need/desire to make that word go away. When asked about what she thought of his use of the term publically, Sarah, kinda, sorta, reprimanded him.  Go figure.

Tim Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics isn't happy about any of it.  He jumped on both Emmauel and Limbaugh about it. Emmauel apologized.  Limbaugh hasn't yet (and knowing him, probably won't; man, I hope I get to eat those words)  As part of the Special Olympics' "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign, a website has been set up to pledge not to use the "R-Word" anymore.  Shriver has also sent our dear Mr. Limbaugh a very strongly worded email that in part makes it clear that members of our society with intellecual disabilities are human, same as he is (personal tongue bite), and that his position as a public figure and commentator has an enormous influence on others.  Basically, Tim told Rush to quit being a retard.(yay for Tim!)

I, as a teacher, mother, daughter of a special education teacher, and member of the world, have always tried to be sensitive to the hearts and emotions of my fellow humans.  I am female, of African descent, height challenged, sight impaired, intelligent and outspoken: all of the stuff that is foder for comment and ridicule.  I've been called a "dumb girl/woman", nigger, midget, blind, wannabewhite and bitter, arrogant bitch.  I can relate to not wanting to be called something negative. 

I join Sarah, fellow female, sight impaired, intelligent and outspoken, who also happens to be mother of an intellecually impaired child, in saying to Rush, just shut the hell up man.  This time, you are really out of order.  Apologies are in order, you know it, get to it.

Everyone, make the pledge, make the "R-Word" go away.