|Feb 7, 2013 - Issue 503|
“Who didn’t have Sex with Neanderthals?” was part of the title of a recent article on the scientific journal website LiveScience. It turns out that the “only modern humans whose ancestors did not interbreed with Neanderthals are apparently sub-Saharan Africans.” New research indicates that those of European white, Asian, and North Africans ancestry “carry genetic traces from Neanderthals, modern humanity’s closest known extinct relatives.” Wow! That is something to think about.
My personal heritage derives from sub-Saharan
Most African Americans’ lineage derives from sub-Saharan West African ancestry but we have almost NO knowledge of specifics. Records are practically nonexistent and the first thing that slavers did was stamp out language and any other practices or indices of the enslaved Africans’ home cultures. Those things that human beings depend on for child rearing, social relationships, and passing on wisdom were stripped away immediately upon landing. The very few things that were hidden, kept, and passed along down generations are in our music, intertwined and camouflaged in Christian religious ceremony, encapsulated in seldom used children’s stories, and buried within our bodies in our DNA. Other than that, black people have cobbled together a defensive subculture out of the English language and elements of a Western culture that is structured to deny the equal humanity of non-Western, nonwhite peoples.
Young black folk are some of the most prolific, most creative, and most popular cultural artist on the planet. Their creativity is born of a need to recognize SELF at a deep level. Blacks have fashioned new “blues/Jazz” cultural forms in the midst of institutions designed to exploit and dispossess us. It takes hundreds of years to properly evolve a mature culture that will sustain and uplift a people in really powerful ways; sub-Saharan African culture, in its wholeness, was cut from African Americans (AA) and those years of positive cultural evolution have been forever lost.
However, any AA, who has walked the streets of
AA have sub-Saharan African ancestry, few AA can claim
to be free of Neanderthal gene fragments. My grandfather, on my mother’s side,
was the unacknowledged son of the white man, Wilbur Paup,
who controlled land that blacks sharecropped in
Broad DNA studies show that Neanderthals emerged out of Mother Africa about
100,000 years ago. Evidence indicates that an “African group ancestral to both
Neanderthals and certain modern human populations genetically split from other
Africans beginning about 230,000 years ago. This group then stayed genetically
distinct until it eventually left
“While modern humans share some nuclear DNA with the extinct Neanderthals, the two species do not share any mitochondrial DNA, which in primates is always maternally transmitted. This observation has prompted the hypothesis that whereas female humans interbreeding with male Neanderthals were able to generate fertile offspring, the progeny of female Neanderthals who mated with male humans were either rare, absent or sterile...” I would guess that we are talking about the rape of Homo sapiens females by Neanderthal males. This gives me pause.
A view of evolution that separately looks at the changes in the physical genes unrelated to the evolution of the environment - including the cultural environment for humans - cannot help but come to wrong conclusions. Since Neanderthals as a species separated earlier from the hominoid evolutionary tree than modern humans did, we can reasonably conclude that those of us with Neanderthal fragments in our genes are less well evolved in some ways. We can also conclude that Neanderthal culture was less evolved and therefore less civilized. When one takes the next step and tracks the evolution of culture alongside those less evolved gene fragments, huge questions and interesting associations arise.
a population sense - not in an individual sense - how
have these cultural elements (memes) interacted with those fractural, mostly
male Neanderthal genes to produce less evolved, less civilized population
behaviors! The source of the most uncivilized aspects of Western culture is
rooted in masculine cultural memes of authority, power, physical control,
territoriality, and individualized ego. Have these Western cultural memes
evolved to stimulate and compliment those Neanderthal fragments predominantly
present in the DNA passed down from the Neanderthal contaminated human
male line? Maleness in the sub-Saharan African cultural tradition has been
often hedged in by matrilineal cultures and cultural structures that balance
male power with substantial female-based community-caring structures; North
African and European imposed cultural memes disrupted these more traditional
arrangements in sub-Saharan
we attempt to recognize Black History Month, I would invite us to look at
history - all of history - not as separate bits but in totality. Black History
is universal human history. To have any real meaning, black history is
and must be human history seen through lenses that have been cleansed of the
biases embedded in white Western culture. Black History is
|BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Wilson Riles, is a former