Racism In 'Ancient Aliens'

Racism In 'Ancient Aliens'

Could the History Channel hit be a product of internalized racism?
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We all know the famous History Channel TV show, Ancient Aliens, and have likely watched an episode or two out of curiosity, interest, irony or boredom. It can be both obnoxious and entertaining. Disclaimer: There is sufficient reason to suspect the presence of extraterrestrials. That being said, the rhetoric spewed by the experts in Ancient Aliens can be equal parts outlandish and racially charged. I don’t mean to say that the experts are racist, I’m sure they’re lovely people despite their tragic hairdos. What I mean to say is that the idea of ancient civilizations needing extraterrestrial assistance to accomplish anything could be a sign of internalized racism.

The vast majority of the civilizations that Ancient Aliens references are of those of people of color. Now, some of what they say is merely along the lines of contact with aliens, but there remains a large portion of their statements that claim that the reason ancient civilizations did so well is not because of their own expertise and excellence, but because they had help. I hear mumblings from people concurring with these ideas, considering the possibility that maybe such excellence is only possible in the modern world, where the west dominates. It confirms the suspicion for many that ancient peoples were just not intelligent enough to build the Egyptian, Aztec and Mayan pyramids. Insinuating that they weren’t coherent enough to communicate in such complex and diverse ways that were needed to build up their incredible civilizations. Ancient societies are perpetually a mystery in how intricate they are, how much was actually invested and created. It can be daunting to think that without modern machinery and knowledge, such accomplishments like the pyramids, would be near impossible. But what we must understand is this: just because it’s daunting, just because it’s incredible, just because it’s excellence, doesn’t mean it’s inconceivable.

There has been concrete data and proof that these ancient civilizations had their methods, that they had writing systems and machinery that allowed them to cultivate their cultures. Take the Teotihuacan for example. Their civilization built more pyramids than any other Mesoamerican society and the Aztec traced their origins to them. They built their pyramids and temples over piles of rubble secured by retaining walls which were then covered with adobe brick and limestone. The Pyramid of the Sun, a famous Teotihuacan pyramid in their capital city also called Teotihuacan, is 730 ft per side with five terraces coming to 200 ft in height. A cave was found underneath the pyramid that led into a shrine in the shape of a four leaf clover. The ancient Egyptians used a system of levers and pulleys to lift materials to build monuments, temples and pyramids as well as emery to cut solid granite. By saying that they couldn’t have done those things because they were essentially too stupid and not advanced enough to do so is insulting the excellence of the targeted cultures. Again, these are mostly people of color.

Looking at some of the “evidence” Ancient Aliens has provided to prove their often radical claims, the pattern often goes: there are similarities in cultures around the world, ancient people are not advanced enough to make a wheel, therefore (and here comes the meme we all know and love) ALIENS. Although it seems reasonable enough (depending on what you define as “reasonable”), we really have to look at it from a more practical angle. We are all of one species. As is the case in every other species on the planet, we do some things that are the same or similar to each other without having even met. Systems such as counting, alphabets, speech, construction, how to prepare food, how to raise livestock, etc. are systems we share as a species. These are things that make us human. Without these systems that Ancient Aliens so often denotes as extraterrestrial interference, we would lack much of our humanity. In other words, if we didn’t have things in common, would we really be of the same species? They make examples out of our use of eggs in ancient legends and of certain numbers like nine and three. But just looking at this objectively, you can see why this is such a weak argument. Cultures borrow and all it takes is one person to transfer information. With world trade and travel and our inherent similarities, things are going to get mixed up along the way no matter how old or stupid you might think the world is at a certain point in time.

The accomplishments of people of color are consistently diminished on Ancient Aliens and I think this is partially due people inherently questioning the accomplishments of ancient civilizations because of their own internalized racism. People want answers. It’s only natural of us to look into every corner, no matter how far fetched the claims may be. It’s one thing to believe aliens have made contact with us and it’s another to believe that aliens cultivated our societies based largely on the idea that people of color lacked the intellect to become the backbones of our modern societies. There is adequate evidence to support the theory that we as a human race descended from ancient Africa and that many aspects of our lives are based off of ancient civilizations of people of color. We always wonder how history happened and instead of looking at ancient civilizations and wondering how we did such things as humans, we wonder instead how we did such things with the help of aliens. The absurdity and offensiveness is indicative of a larger issue that diminishes and demeans people of color. It’s an issue that persists into today that says that people of color aren’t as capable as white people. The argument goes that if people of color aren’t as successful now, then they never were to begin with thus discounting thousands of years of excellence and evidence proving otherwise. We all want to satisfy our beliefs and this is particularly the case with internalized racism—a disease not all of us seem to acknowledge nor know that we possess.

Although Ancient Aliens is just a science fiction TV show, it’s rhetoric is symptomatic of the larger issues we face today. Movements such as Black Lives Matter have emerged to remind each other that people of color have value and worth along with everyone else on our planet. With shows lurking around that deliver low blows like insulting ancestry, damage could be done to our global society’s subconscious. Shows like Ancient Aliens leave behind scars in people’s minds that devalue the achievements of people of color while raising up the achievements of Caucasians as if to say the rest of the world is lost without western technology and influence—as if we were nothing before it. Implications can be everything in a debate such as the one we face regarding race, and with many more shows like it, Ancient Aliens can prove to be more than just entertainment.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Not to be dramatic, but the Vine app was the best thing to ever happen to me.

The Vine app truly understood me and my extremely odd sense of humor. When it was shut down, I felt like a part of me shut down with it. Luckily, I still have the ability to reflect on the good times that I had with Vine. Although there aren't any new Vine videos keeping my spirit alive, the Vine videos from the past are enough to keep me going.

This is way overdue, but here are the 100 best Vines to ever exist (in no particular order).

1. You better stop.

2. Come get y'all juice.

3. WTF is up Kyle.

4. That is NOT correct.

5. Mr. Postman.

6. Good evening.

7. This is your space, this is your area.

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15. #1 Dad.

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43. I don't even understand this one.

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52. Living with Nicholas Cage.

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Cover Image Credit: NY Mag

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12 Not-So-Boujee Must Haves For Your First Home/Apartment, If You Want To Actually Survive

Broom > Swiffer. Trust me.

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Whether a college student or just moving into your first home or apartment, here is a list of things you probably didn't know you needed.

1. Shower Curtain Rod. 

In my furnished apartment, I was thinking the past tenant would have left this item. WRONG. Walmart is going to be your best bet for getting this, I went to at least three other stores first, and none of them had it so save yourself time and just go to Walmart.

2. Organizers. 

I was lucky enough to already have one. However, drawer organizers are so important. Not only do they save space for me in my apartment and on my desk, but it acts as my nightstand. Living on the fourth floor of my apartment, the last thing I wanted to do was haul a wooden nightstand up to my room. So get an organizer that has wheels, they usually have colored drawers so they can follow whatever color scheme you have going on.

3. Wall Decorations. 

I'm usually not one worried about decorating, but the walls will feel empty without even a cheap poster from Walmart or family photos. Something about decorating just really makes it feel more like home, than if you had just an empty room.

4. Oil Diffuser.

This was new to me. However, not only does my oil diffuser give a little extra light when it's on, but my room always smells amazing now, even if the rest of the house smells like food. Scentsy pots work too, but with the oil diffusers there's less mess and you can use oils similar to DoTerra for health and mood benefits.

5. Tinfoil. 

We all eat food. And let's be honest, college students are lazy and life is so much easier when you can just throw tinfoil on top of your dish and toss it in the fridge. Especially when you're in a hurry. Yes, that's also what Tupperware is for but you also can use it for cooking in the oven.

6. Rugs. 

Most kitchens are hardwood or tile of some sort, having a rug in front of the entrance and in front of the sink are essential to creating less mess to clean. We have a lot of guests in our apartment and since we don't have carpet anywhere but our rooms, it is tough to ask for shoes off so having a rug at the front door can cut down the amount of dirt tracked in.

7. Lamps. 

Lighting can be limited in rooms so it's nice to bring some sort of extra lighting. Either a stand up lamp or just a desk lamp can make a huge difference in the lighting of your room.

8. Dry Shampoo. 

This is less of a need for your home and more of a need for you. I have recently jumped on the dry shampoo trend and it's a life-saver. If you have a long night of studying or wake up late and don't have time to wash your hair, it's a great fix and easy way to keep from looking like you are losing your mind.

9. Extension Cords. 

If you didn't figure this out in a dorm, you are now. Outlets can be in inconvenient places, and as a college student, you have to have space to plug in a laptop, printer, phone, lamps, and anything else that you need to plug in. Extension cords and power strips will solve that problem.

10. Broom. 

Yes, a broom. Not a swiffer. Sadly, if you have more dirt than dust, a swiffer will do you no good. You can get a cheap broom at just about any store that carries any cleaning supplies.

11. Paper Towel Holder. 

I mean you could go without but it does make things more convenient. Also looks nicer than just having a roll of paper towels sitting on the counter.

12. Cooking Oil. 

Super easy to forget, but used more often than you think. Cooking oil is used for so many things, and if you have a kitchen, make sure you have it. Nothing is worse than having a meal planned and finding out you don't have cooking oil.

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