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

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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.

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Ancient Egyptian Wall Painting
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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.”

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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

 

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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?

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Do Not Ask What, Ask Why

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We’ve known “What” since stepping foot off slave ships. We’ve known “What” since the crack of the whip. We’ve known “What” since Lynch mobs and sharecropping. We’ve known “What” since overseers, paddy rollers and colored signs. We’ve known “What” since the back of city buses and Jim Crow. We’ve known “What” since crack, ghettos and foster homes. Indeed, if there is anything black people are familiar with, it is what. The question is therefore not what, the question is why? Why the haunting images of public executions of black men? Why does the protests of Black Lives Matter mirror that of the Civil Rights Movement when we should have moved passed this? How is it that what happened 50 years ago and DIDN’T work, will somehow work today? Have we not marched? Have we not protested? Have we not already sang freedom songs and willingly gone to prison? Why are black people at the bottom of every single ethnic group and society there is? Why have we been here for nearly 400 years and have yet to produce the economic standing of nations who have been here not even half that time? The question is not what, the question is why? Why are things always so black and white? Why is it always black against white?

In the book of Exodus there is a story. This story is about the Israelites. Pharaoh said to kill off the Hebrew boys for fear that the Hebrew population would grow and that they would overrun the Egyptian population (Ex 1:9-16). More so, they will do unto the Egyptians what the Egyptians have done unto them. Fears of uprisings among African Americans can be traced back to the days of Nat Turner. To think this fear has been lost or has gone away is not to have been alive.  You see “Why?” has been around for centuries and on the tongues of every prophet. “Why?” is in the blood of every black man and woman walking this earth today. It is in every breath we take, and every move we make. “Why” is in our very DNA, our living souls breathing proof of the covenant we made so long ago. Do not tell black people that they should not be angry when our sons blood cries out to us from the ground. Instead, ask “Why?” Do not ask What, Ask Why because why is the key to everything. Why is understanding that what is happening out there is bigger than any man. “Why?” is understanding there is a reason black lives do not matter in this land. “Why” is understanding the story of Israel, the covenant they broke, and its connection to the black man and woman in America today. You see, “Why” is the key when you are the people of the book, when the police is Pharaoh, and America is Egypt.

My Chicago Trip

Hey there loves! Yall miss me? Yessss…

11043170_371497916384520_3153846018559242267_nFor those of you who don’t already know, I’m a native of Chicago, south side. This blog has been closed because this past weekend, we took a trip up to the windy city for the premiere of “Blakk Amerika: From Prophets to Pimps”, a Stage Play produced by my organization, Israylite Heritage, detailing 4,000 years of history of the so called African American people.

 

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The event took place at The Dusable Museum of African American History. Over 300 people came out to see the almost 3 hour show. Words cannot fully express the empowerment expressed through this event. So instead, I put together a post of pics (as promised yess) to help me to give you an idea of what the play was about.

 

Let’s start with the name, why Prophets to Pimps?

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Larry Allen, & Jeremiah Bright as Moses and Aharon

The History of the African American is always told from the perspective of slavery and the America’s. Aside from the scarce mentioning of life in Africa, rarely is the true story of the identity of the black man and woman told from their glorious past before that. Prophets to Pimps embodies the truth concerning the black man and woman today; who at one point was a nation of Prophets, Prophetess, Kings and Queens. A nation of priest; chosen and set-apart to the most high and charged with the duty of teaching and showing all nations of people his ways.

Mordekiyah, Rhonda Reagor Johnson, and Jessie Bright as the Righteous Angel, Wisdom, and Understanding
Mordekiyah, Rhonda Reagor Johnson, and Jessie Bright as the Righteous Angel, Wisdom, and Understanding

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The costumes were nothing short of amazing. As you can see, many of the actors / actresses are dressed in Egyptian garb. This is to showcase, not only the understanding that the Egyptians were a black skinned people, but more deeply, that the Israelites were also black skinned and that they, the Israelites, are the ancestors of the so called African American people. When they came into Egypt 70 in number, they were freed by the most high through the hand of Moses and led into the wilderness. They are dressed as Egyptians because as citizens of Egypt this is how they would have come out of that land.

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When the Israelites were freed from Egypt, they made a covenant with the most high. In this covenant that they made, they promised to spread his word to the world. As a result, the almighty would in return make them the most mighty and most righteous nation above all the nations of the Earth. However, if they did not obey the covenant they would be the most despised and downtrodden of the Earth. They would be plagued by disease, oppression, sicknesses, be called by the names of proverbs, mockeries, and bywords (such as Nigga, Coon, Black, Afro-American, African American, American, etc.)., hidden in prison houses and go into slavery in ships. All of this, our entire history, is written and recorded in the bible itself. No longer would we be a nation of priest and prophets, but if we disobeyed the covenant of the most high, now we would be a nation of thugs and pimps. Sadly, we disobeyed the covenant that we made and so began our tragic downfall. We’ve gone from Prophets…..to Pimps.

Interesting Fact:
The word pimp first appeared in English in 1607 in a Thomas Middleton play entitled Your five Gallants. It is believed to have stemmed from the French word “pimper” meaning to dress up elegantly. Pimp used as a verb, meaning to act as a pimp, first appeared in 1636 in the book, “The Beautiful Lover.” In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term was commonly used to refer to informers.

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Deu. 28:68 “And Yah shall bring you back to Egypt in ships, by a way of which I said to you, ‘You are never to see it again.’ And there you shall be sold to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one to buy.”

The play covered us being sold into slavery on auction blocks and life on the plantation. The audience really enjoyed this segment. The actors and actresses really put on a good show, causing the room to erupt in laughter and in tears when needed.

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In this scene, the slave John is called as a prophet and sent to the other slaves to explain their oppression to them. As you can see, the play also included video on the projector screen and music. Combined, these elements added to the significance of the performances.

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This is me! Lol….I play Betsy Mae, a slave on Paul’s plantation whose son gets sold away from her. The old me picture is used in a different scene to show to Besty’s great great great grandson Raymond. His mother, Shelia, explains slavery and what happened to her  young son.

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This is Ezkekiel. He plays the part of Besty’s son who is sold away from her. Isn’t he handsome! Awww lol.

Interesting Facts:

• During slavery in the United States, the slaves referred to the slave owner as Masa. This was not a mispronunciation of the word Master. Masa is a Hebrew word that means burden/oppression.

• The famous Negro spiritual song KUMBAYAH was often sung on the plantations by slaves. According to the bible in the book of Psalms 68:4, the name of the creator is Yah. Like in the phrase, “Halleluyah” which is spelled “Hallelujah” but is pronounced, “Hallelu-Yah” because it means “Praise Yah”. The song KUMBAYAH therefore means “Come by Yah”. The slaves were singing to the true creator of all to come by and save them.

• The prophets carried the name of Yah in their names, although it has been changed to -iah, many of their names ended in yah. As in IsaiYah, JeremiYah, ZechariYah, ZephaniYah, ObadiYah, etc.

• The true name of the biblical messiah is Yahoshua. This Hebrew name means Yah’s Salvation or Salvation of Yah. It is equivalent in English to Joshua.

Deu 28:32  “Your sons and your daughters are given to another people, and your eyes look and fail for them all day long, and your hand powerless.
Deu 28:32 “Your sons and your daughters are given to another people, and your eyes look and fail for them all day long, and your hand powerless.

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I also play the Shelia character in modern times, who teaches her son about his great great great grandmother (the Besty character I played in the beginning). The parallel in this scene showcases how our children are still being taken from us. Shelia gets a surprise visit from a DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) agent who tries to take her son away. In this scene, my son is played by Zuri.

11187297_10203804419020186_1788034635715712703_oThe most moving part of the play has to be this scene, when we talk about the lynching of African Americans. The scene begins in a home where a discussion is brewing between a woman who says black men should stand up and defend themselves.

 But there’s a knock on the door from the neighbor who says police are looking for black men who they say killed three white women. All of the men ran to the woods to hide except Otis and Lewis who are still in the house. Her voice is filled with fear and urgency.

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Otis and Lois

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Nina Simmon’s Strange Fruit and live footage of hangings occupy the scene.

11182047_391294987738146_8111579501706886796_nFun Fact: The word picnic came from, “Pick a Nigger”. During lynchings, racist whites posed in front of camera’s, gathered blankets, and brought food to the executions. They brought their babies and children along as well. It was an entire event. And they watched as black men, women, and children hung to their deaths under trees. This is why your picnic must be in a spacious land area and under a tree. Lynchings were the first picnics.

 

11174404_10206552193385054_1364747372263971195_o **Disclaimer: We are an organization of all nationalities of people. We believe Yah’s love is for ALL men who accept his truth and walk in his ways. Israylite Heritage does not support any racial superiority doctrine.**

 

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Isa 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

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No longer do our children respect their mothers and fathers. Now, they oppress them. They have no obedience for the elders in their communities. They have no fear.

Isaiah 3:12 “…and women rule over them…”
Isaiah 3:12 “…and women rule over them…” The I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T Women

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No longer do black women look at themselves as princesses and their men as princes; now we are thots and our men are niggas. No longer do we submit ourselves to their authority and recognize them as heads of our households. Now we don’t need a man because we can pay our own bills and buy our own cars. We have made money synonymous with protection. We have turned our glory into shame.

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Isaiah 3:12 “…they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

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The leaders and so called preachers and deacons within the Black community have led them astray. No longer do they teach you about your mighty heritage, instead they rob you physically and spiritually. They teach you to give tithes that were reserved for the Levite priest (of which we have no knowledge of today), and that was not money to begin with. They do not teach you to fear your almighty creator. Instead they teach you to worship the Gods and Goddesses of your oppressors. Our leaders buy million dollar jets, monopolize on our sorrows, and give nothing in return. They have led us astray and destroy the way of our path.

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Deu 28:43 “The sojourner who is among you rises higher and higher above you, but you come down lower and lower. Deu 28:44 “He lends to you, but you do not lend to him. He is the head, and you are the tail.

My husband as Muhammad. Hubby is actually an experienced actor. He has done commercials, voice overs, and has been featured in films alongside Lorenz Tate, Lisa Ray and others. He has many parts in the play but this particular one is that of the store owner Muhammad. It is to showcase the fact that other nationalities of people come into this country and in no time build up businesses within the Black community. We have been in this country for centuries and have not built much of anything, why? Prophecy says this will happen to the children of Israel if they disobeyed the covenant. People wonder why racism in America always surrounds blacks? Because of every nationality in the world, we are the lowest. And that’s just real.

Jer 23:7  “Therefore, see, the days are coming,” declares יהוה, “when they shall say no more, ‘As יהוה lives who brought up the children of Yisra’ĕl out of the land of Mitsrayim,’  Jer 23:8  but, ‘As יהוה lives who brought up and led the seed of the house of Yisra’ĕl out of the land of the north and from all the lands where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell on their own soil.”
Jer 23:7 “Therefore, see, the days are coming,” declares Yah, “when they shall say no more, ‘As Yah lives who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’
Jer 23:8 but, ‘As Yah lives who brought up and led the seed of the house of Israel out of the land of the north and from all the lands where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell on their own soil.”

However, the truth is being restored and we will be made great again.

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Because this is already a long post and does not even begin to scratch the surface, I am going to leave it here. However, there is so much response from this play that we are already booking to show it again 3 more times this year in different states and again in Chicago this fall. It is possible that we will put together a tour. Details are forthcoming. In the meantime, here are some more pics of the family, rehearsals, etc. (They are not professional pictures because we are still processing the footage and pictures our camera guy took).

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