Graham Hancock – A Crank, Possibly, But Definitely No Racist

My discipline, archaeology, has been massively going after Graham Hancock this week. Hancock’s ah, um,, ‘maverick thinker’, I suppose you’d say, who’s been presenting a series on Netflix arguing that thousands of years ago there was a highly advanced civilisation that perished in a cataclysm, but passed on its secrets to other ancient civilisations around the world. This has understandably annoyed archaeologists and a number have put up videos, some of them lengthy and quite detailed, disproving him. Hancock’s been promoting this idea for some time now. Going back two decades and more, he had a series on Channel 4 with the title ‘Water World’ or something like it, also arguing that there was a global advanced civilisation, whose monuments have been covered up by a flood, as recorded in the Bible and other ancient religions. Now I’m sure that Hancock is wrong, and the criticisms of his dodgy history and archaeology are right. But I take exception to one of the other accusations levelled at him, which is that he is racist.

This accusation is partly based on his false ascription of the achievements of indigenous cultures around the world to this putative prehistoric civilisation. It denies those people the credit for their achievements. But the accusation is also that it’s similar to the ideas of some bonkers White supremacist groups, who are using Hancock’s ideas to promote themselves. One archaeologist posted a video saying that Hancock should have disavowed the use of his ideas by these fascists. It also criticised him for being friends with Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson. There are fair criticisms to be made of both of these men. Peterson’s an arch-conservative and anti-feminist, but hardly a Nazi. Rogan was pushing anti-vax nonsense and is an advocate for some mind-expanding drugs. A few years ago people were accusing him of being a ‘gateway to the Alt-Right’. Possibly, but he also talks to people from the left, who are otherwise denied a platform by the lamestream media. Journalists like Abbie Martin, who talked about Israeli propaganda against the Palestinians and how she found, when she visited the beleaguered Arab nation, that the reality was nothing like the picture painted by the Israeli state. He’s also talked to biologists and journalists exposing the lies of the trans ideology. This is not Alt-Right, no matter what groups like Mermaids, Stonewall, Antifa and the rest say. The people criticising the gender ideology tend to be radical feminists, many from the socialist left. Part of their opposition against it is that it reduces masculinity and femininity to traditional, stereotypical sex roles. One of the feminist vloggers interviewed one of the leading activists against the trans ideology, who was furious that people like her were being presented as right-wing. Another feminist activist criticised Matt Walsh for misrepresenting feminists as uniformly in favour of trans ideology, and then criticising them for it. Rogan gives a voice to people outside the mainstream. Sometimes it’s rubbish, and sometimes it’s immensely valuable. He has also interviewed a number of Black celebs, so again, not a Nazi.

The White supremacist ideas being referred to seem to me to be the Traditionalist ideology of Giulio Evola. Evola was an Italian Fascist and occultist, who was a major ideological influence on the scumbuckets behind the Bologna railway bombing in the 1970s. A fascist group bombed the station, killing and maiming over a hundred people. Evola believed that there was a strongly hierarchical, ‘Aryan’ civilisation in Hyperborea in the arctic, which was responsible for all the subsequent cultural achievements of the civilisations around the world. This is twaddle. But Hancock’s ideas are also similar to those of others, which don’t come from people in the fascist fringe. A couple of years ago I picked up an old book, Colony Earth, which had been published in the 1970s. This claimed that Earth may have been an extraterrestrial colony, whose advanced civilisation was destroyed in a nuclear war. The pyramids may have been fall-out shelters, as were the megalithic tumuli in Britain. It’s an interesting read, but certainly wrong. I think Charles Berlitz, who started the Bermuda Triangle myth, also believed in this, supporting it in one of his books with artefacts from Aztec tombs that look like aircraft. Berlitz is someone else, who I’m fairly certain has absolutely no connection to fascism whatsoever.

And I don’t believe Hancock is either.

When he was travelling the world on his Channel 4 series he was accompanied by his wife, who is Sri Lankan. Now, White supremacists do not, as a rule, marry dark-skinned people from outside Europe. If they do, they’re angrily denounced as ‘race traitors’. In one edition of this earlier series, Hancock reported on the mysterious ruins of ancient city found off the coast of the Bay of Bengal. He was shown talking respectfully to an Indian gent, who told him how such findings tie in with Hindu ideas of the antiquity of civilisation and ancient Indian legends of flooded cities. Again, this isn’t quite behaviour you’d expect from a genuine White supremacist. He also travelled to South and Central America, where he proposed the old theory that the Mayans, Aztecs and other ancient Amerindian civilisations must have learned how to build their pyramids from someone else. I think this was once again ancient Egypt. But who brought that knowledge to the New World? Black Africans. He pointed to an Olmec bas relief of a warrior’s head, and declared its features to be ‘proudly African’. If this is racism, then its Afrocentrism rather than White supremacy. As for the ancient race behind these monuments, Hancock doesn’t say what colour they are. In this, he breaks with some of his predecessors, who say they must have been White because the legends of numerous Amerindian peoples state that vital parts of their culture were brought to them by White gods. Hancock is therefore less racialised in what he says than his predecessors.

I disagree profoundly with Hancock’s ideas, but he has a right to say them like everyone else. And if it piques people interest in these ancient cultures so that they want to find out what they were really like, that’s all to the good. But I do think it’s profoundly wrong to accuse him of racism. That just further cheapens the word and weakens it as a weapon against the real thing.


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6 Responses to “Graham Hancock – A Crank, Possibly, But Definitely No Racist”

  1. trev Says:

    I’ve read some of his books in the past, over the last 20 – 30 years or so, and at the time found them to be interesting and entertaining. He makes much of the Piri Reise map and links this with Prof. Charles Hapgood’s theories of earth crust displacement, concluding that Atlantis lies under the ice of Antarctica. I’ve seen pictures of the Olmec heads and personally don’t think they look at all African. His investigations or examination of the building of the Egyptian Pyramids was quite interesting, but then again within the wider context of esoteric beliefs such as Edgar Cayce’s assertion that the Great Pyramid was built in one night by an Atlantean magician who levitated the stones into place, which were said (by Cayce) to have “zinged” through the air like bullets! Entertaining if taken with a pinch of salt. But racist? No I don’t think so. Hancock used to work in Africa as a journalist I believe, can’t recall if it was Kenya or somewhere else like Uganda.

    • beastrabban Says:

      That’s interesting. He was interviewed by Joe Rogan awhile ago, and pondered the possibility that the pyramids were built using telekinesis. Perhaps he’s been influenced by Edgar Cayce’s story of the magician?

  2. Brian Burden Says:

    It’s in his favour that he’s not MATT Hancock! I suppose all these world religions which say that man could have achieved nothing by himself without the guidance and approval of a Supreme Being must be racist too? I’m not too struck on Ancient Astronaut theorists, but I’m even less struck by people who resort to these quasi-moralistic arguments to debunk them. By the way, you can get your fill of UFOs and Ancient Astronauts on Blaze – Channel 64 on Freeview.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Oh, Graham Hancock is far better than Matt. Graham Hancock just spouts pseudo-historical, pseudo-archaeological speculation, without leaving people starving or denied medical treatment and telling them it’s for their own good because millionaires need their tax cuts.

      Kayleigh, of the ‘History with Kayleigh’ channel on YouTube has put up a couple of videos debunking Hancock’s claims. The accusations of racism come from a segment where he talks to Marco someone about the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico. This is the largest pyramid by volume anywhere in the world. There’s a local legend that claims it was made by giants, but this arose after the conquest of the area by the Spanish, ‘who had their own agenda’. Hancock interprets this as referring to intellectual giants from his ancient civilisation, rather than physical giants. This is where he’s been accused of denying indigenous people the credit for their own achievements. Also the other fellow, Marco, has written an obscure book on the monument also ascribing its construction to outsiders, and which has also been accused of racism.

      I still don’t believe Hancock is personally racist, however, just too taken with his idea not to be careful whom he talks to, to support it.

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