Black History Fun Fact Friday – Mostafa Hefny and The Race Card

black-history1

What if you identified as one race but because of geographical differences you were told you were another race? Even if your skin tone said otherwise? Is it right to determine race by skin tone alone? Does race itself even exist?

In today’s episode of Black History Fun Fact Friday, we will explore The Race Card and how it has handicapped the life of one man who is still fighting to reclaim his identity. He is quickly becoming an important part of history as his story tells us so much about race.

This Aug. 8, 2012 photo shows Dr. Mostafa Hefny in Detroit. Hefny, an Egyptian immigrant who lives in Detroit wants the U.S. government to classify him as black, not white. The Egypt-born Hefny, 61, says he's easily identifiable as a black man, but when he was admitted to the U.S. decades ago, he was classified on government papers as a white person. Hefny says he's a Nubian, an ancient group of Egyptians considered more African than Arab. According to government directive, a white person is defined as "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East." (AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT
Dr. Mostafa Hefny in Detroit.(AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT)

Introducing Mostafa Hefny, an Egyptian Immigrant who came to the United States and was told he was white, despite his skin color. To understand this, let us first establish the U.S. racial classification system. The U.S. Census Bureau defines race as “a social category recognized by the United States and does not attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically”. The Census Bureau recognizes five categories of race:

• White (people with origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa,)
• Black or African American (Africa)
• American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian,
• Native Hawaiian
• Other Pacific Islander

Nicknames for race has also been applied to colors: White, Black, Red, and Yellow.

The census also includes a Hispanic ethnic category. It is an ethnic category rather than a race category because the Latino community is said to include many races, such as White, Black, Native American, Asian, and mixed. Keep in mind these are not classifications based on culture, land, or language, but skin tone alone. This means that anyone from Europe according to the lands designated for the specific color is considered white and anyone from Africa (according to the lands specified) is considered black.

In the ancient world, the Greeks, Romans, Israelites, Egyptians, Ethiopians, e.g. did not have racial categories. Rather people were divided according to their nationality. People from Europe may identify themselves as Irish, Russians, Greeks, Swedish, so forth and so on instead of simply whites. Likewise, people on the continent of Africa may refer to themselves as Ethiopians, Somalian’s, Nigerians, Egyptians, Israelites, Ghanaian’s, so forth and so on instead of simply blacks. The ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Libyans didn’t speak of a place called Africa even though they were indigenous to that continent.

Since 1997, Mostafa Hefny, has been suing the U.S. government because when Hefny immigrated to America, the U.S. government told him he was no longer a black man. This is because according to the U.S. racial system of classification, we’re not supposed to realize that Egypt is in Africa, just that it is the Middle East, and as such anyone from the Middle East is considered White; obviously despite their skin tone.

“Dr. Hefny was a Bilingual Resource Teacher with Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency (Wayne County RESA) in Wayne, MI, USA for thirteen (13) years. When he stated on his employment records that he is black the Director of Human Resources sent him a letter which was copied to the Superintendent threatening him that his education career will be ruined if he did not change his racial classification on his employment records from black to white. A few days later one of the top administrators told him “If you ever say that you are black again no one will hire you and if hired you will be running from one job to the other for the rest of your life”. Even though Wayne County RESA provides support and consultant services to all of Wayne County which is 30% black, the Superintendent was white, his four Associate Superintendents were white, and 95% of the administrators and consultants were white.

Wayne County RESA did not fire Dr. Hefny, instead they denied him promotion twice, persecuted him, harassed him, called him nigger, and psychologically tortured him to the point that he left on social security psychiatric disability which lasted ten (10) years (1989-1998.) Additionally, he was hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals twice(1992 & 2000.) All the doctors who treated Dr. Hefny stated in their medical reports that his psychiatric injury was work related. When Dr. Hefny recovered and returned to the work force Wayne County RESA followed up on their threats and he was fired five times in one year.”

– Move On Petitions at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/justice-for-an-indigenous

How did Hefny respond? He was shocked when his government-issued identification classified him as “white.”

This Aug. 8, 2012 photo shows Dr. Mostafa Hefny in Detroit. Hefny, an Egyptian immigrant who lives in Detroit wants the U.S. government to classify him as black, not white. The Egypt-born Hefny, 61, says he's easily identifiable as a black man, but when he was admitted to the U.S. decades ago, he was classified on government papers as a white person. Hefny says he's a Nubian, an ancient group of Egyptians considered more African than Arab. According to government directive, a white person is defined as "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East." (AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT
(AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT

According to the Detroit News: “As a Black man and as an African, I am proud of this heritage. My classification as a white man takes away my black pride, my black heritage and my strong black identity.” – Mostafa Hefny

This begs the question, what is black and what is white? We use them for clarity, but are they colors or nations of people? What about other nations? Asians, Chinese, Japanese?

According to the Office of Management and Budget Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, citizens are designated as White if they have “origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.” For this reason, because of Hefny’s geographical location, his classification makes sense within the context of America’s definition of race. Again, according to the U.S. racial system of classification, we’re not supposed to realize that Egypt is in Africa, just that it is the Middle East, and as such anyone from the Middle East can be considered White; obviously despite their skin tone.

“Egypt is on the coast of Africa. It is not some small village in Sweden.” – Paul Mooney

From the foundation of man, we have been divided according to our nations and lands. In Genesis Chapter 10, we find the Table of Nations. After the flood Noah and his sons and their wives were saved and from this family repopulated the Earth. How they were divided is found in The Table of Nations.

ancient-egyptian-wall-painting
Ancient Egyptian Wall Painting
jet
JET Magazine Cover, Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time”

Since Ham had the most descendants we are not going to go through every last one, but he birthed the African nations populating Africa and other parts of the “Middle East.” The word Ham in Hebrew is Khwam, and it means “hot, burnt, and black.” The first-born son of Ham, Cush, forms the Kushite nation. They were also called and known as the ancient Ethiopians. Ethiopia comes from the Greek word, Aethipos, which means, “burnt or black face.”  The Greeks applied this name to the people living south of Egypt. The name Egypt comes from the word Aegyptus though the Egyptians called themselves Khemet / Kemet, which is a variation of the Hebrew word Khawm (Ham).  It means, “People of the black land.”

de35641a49f23bad91b1f49c1df2418a

While many of us are already familiar with Ham’s sons, Shem’s descendants are not always acknowledged. Though not “Africans”, they were also black as were the Israelites who were often mistaken for Egyptians. Paul was mistaken for a black Egyptian (Acts 21:38), Moses passed as the grandson of Pharaoh for 40 years (Acts 7:22-23) and the messiah hid in Egypt:

“Now it’s very unlikely that Jesus would have been able to be HIDDEN in Egypt, if he had a very different color of SKIN from the people in Egypt.” – University of Birmingham historian, Dr. Mark Goodacre, BBC program called The Complete Jesus, 2001

 

kingtut
Statue of King Tut

DETROIT IMMIGRANT RACE

I am not sure where Henfy is today with his case. Last I read he was still fighting to be classified as black and this was back in 2012. The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century B.C.E., described the Egyptians as black-skinned with woolly hair and anthropologist, Count Constatin de Volney (1727-1820), spoke about the Egyptians that produced the Pharaohs.  He later paid tribute to Herodotus’ discovery when he said:

“The ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans.  That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Romans and Greeks, must have lost the intensity of its original color, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mold.  We can even state as a general principle that the face (referring to The Sphinx) is a kind of monument able, in many cases, to attest to or shed light on historical evidence on the origins of the people.”

How do you think race influences our society today?

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Black History Fun Fact Friday – Mostafa Hefny and The Race Card

  1. Given the fact that our modern world is beset by racial hatred, cultural intolerance, and violence, perhaps we need to step away from these identifiers. Hello, I’m John Fioravanti; I’m human from planet Earth. Thanks for this thoughtful and well-researched article today, Yechielyah!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hebrews and Israelites are not from the continent of Africa, but the continent of Asia. While ancient Israel/Judea shares a border with Egypt, it is not an African locale, but a Middle East Asian one. This is simple geography. Even the African Jewish tribes, whether Lemba of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa or the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, have the very same Patrilineal Jewish DNA as the fairest Ashkenazi from Europe, and that DNA is Middle Eastern in origin. It is not European or African. It is Asian, properly. Please amend.

    Like

  3. Also, the White Man’s Roman Bible is not ever a text one should consider historically accurate. If you want biblical facts, you must learn Aramaic and Hebrew, and read from the Torah and Tanakh. The white man’s bible is inaccurate, deliberately so, and is skewed to the European agenda, not that of our ancient Hebrew people.
    Since I doubt you read Hebrew and Aramaic whilst attempting to steal Hebrew and Israelite identity, here’s a cheater version:
    http://thetorah.com/decoding-the-table-of-nations/

    Like

  4. Regarding the “color of skin” of Egyptians in the time of Jesus, a prophet, not messiah: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, was at least half Macedonian through her father. That’s Greek/European. By her era, Macedonians had sat upon the Egyptian throne for centuries. Egyptians were already largely of mixed race long before the fall of the Second Temple or the birth, or death, of Jesus Christ.
    Yes, he was Semitic. Brown. Hebrew. Jewish. There’s no evidence he was Black, nor is it plausible given he was an Israelite from Judea.
    Your interpretations and mistranslations of our texts is sad. Black Jewish tribes exist. Most live in Israel and have for generations now. Ethiopian beta Israel and Lemba included. But their Hebrew DNA is Middle Eastern. It matches the Kaifeng of China, the Bene Israel of India, Mizrahi of MENA lands, Sephardi, and yes, even the Ashkenazi who were forced into the European diaspora in Roman Slavery and by Arab colonization and imperialism. DNA doesn’t lie. If you want to be a Jew, convert. But you’ll never be a Hebrew unless you’re Lemba or Beta Israel or Mizrahim. Which you clearly are not.

    Like

    1. It is clear you practice Judaism which I do not nor do I strive to. Being an Israelite is not about religion but nationhood. Those who convert to Judaism are not following the same laws and biblical principles of ancient Israel.

      Speaking of the bible, it is not “the white man’s” book since there’s no such thing as a “white man”. Since we’re going there though, the bible talks of the so-called “Black” man from Genesis to Revelation. His entire history, nationality and culture is in what you call “the white man’s” book. Moses, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, his twelve sons, the Messiah (whose name is Yahoshua meaning Yahs Salvation, not Jesus) and all the apostles were black skinned people. The Egyptians, Cannanites, Philistines…all black skinned. There’s record of this. Look it up.

      You say I have to learn Hebrew and Aramaic to understand scripture. This is not true. Yah’s (and I do mean YAH not Yahweh or anything else) understanding is not relegated to a language but it is the set-apart spirit that gives life (Isa 6:63).

      It may be a requirement for you to learn a language to better understand your religion, but as for understanding the bible in general, it is not necessary. Yah is greater and far more powerful than any language. Yah supercedes language itself.

      The Torah (Law) is simply the first five books of the bible. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. If anyone wants to study The Torah they need look no further than the opening of their bibles. Its really that simple.

      My people’s identify has been taken from them due our disobedience to the law of the most high and given to another people.

      Jer. 17:4-5

      ‘And you, even of yourself, shall let go of your inheritance which I gave you. And I shall make you serve your enemies in a land which you have not known, for you have kindled a fire in My displeasure which burns forever.”

      5 Thus said Yah “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from Yah.

      I don’t have to steal what is mine.

      Jews are not the true descendants of Israel but descend from Noah’s son Japheth and are the European nations today, known to Israel in that day by the generic term Gentile or Goyim meaning Nation or Nations.

      This has been done by YAH’S hand. It is prophecy that we (so-called Blacks, African Americans) lose our identity and knowledge of who we truly are and this man’s case is among many others that prove this is exactly what has happened:

      Isa 3:1

      “An ox knows its owner and a donkey its master’s crib – Israel does not know, My people have not considered.”

      Rev. 2:9, 3:9

      “I know your works, and pressure, and poverty – yet you are rich – and the blasphemy of those who say they are Israel and are not, but are a congregation of Satan.

      “See, I am giving up those of the congregation of Satan, who say they are Israel and are not, but lie. See, I am making them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved another.

      Like

Don't Forget to Leave a Comment on the Table

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s