As an American anglo, have likewise run into signs of discrimination abroad, like the mama-san running a hotel in Tokyo, who pointedly showed me the ‘no Gaijin’ sign she posted at the front counter. But still gotta say that white folks seem to have been particularly ‘aggressive’ about their prejudices, like the little-known Hamitic Hypothesis, which basically sez that everything of value in the world is derived from some long-lost race of Whites who supposedly migrated out of Africa long ago. And this ‘theory’ has been used by everyone from the Spanish conquistadors to Stanley & Dr. Livingstone, to show how whites are “entitled’ to take over lands and other religions and cultures, so that they can be put to better use!
In The Lost White Tribe, Michael Robinson traces the rise and fall of the Hamitic Hypothesis. In addition to recounting Stanley’s “discovery,” Robinson shows how it influenced encounters with the Ainu in Japan; Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s tribe of “blond Eskimos” in the Arctic; and the “white Indians” of Panama. As Robinson shows, race theory stemming originally from the Bible only not only guided exploration but archeology, including Charles Mauch’s discovery of the Grand Zimbabwe site in 1872, and literature, such as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, whose publication launched an entire literary subgenre dedicated to white tribes in remote places. The Hamitic Hypothesis would shape the theories of Carl Jung and guide psychological and anthropological notions of the primitive.
The Hypothesis also formed the foundation for the European colonial system, which was premised on assumptions about racial hierarchy, at whose top were the white races, the purest and oldest of them all. It was a small step from the Hypothesis to theories of Aryan superiority, which served as the basis of the race laws in Nazi Germany and had horrific and catastrophic consequences. Though racial thinking changed profoundly after World War Two, a version of Hamitic validation of the “whiter” tribes laid the groundwork for conflict within Africa itself after decolonization, including the Rwandan genocide.