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Difference Between Aboriginal and African

Some may think that both aboriginal and African people are the same as most of them are depicted as dark skinned and that their precolonial cultures were that of the hunters and gatherers. Also, some researchers suggest that the ancestors of the aborigines in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and some South-East Asian countries came from Africa. As for their differences, Africans, are people who are specifically native to Africa while aboriginal is a more general term which refers to a group of people who have been occupying a certain territory from the earliest times or before colonization. The following discussions further delve into such differences.

 

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What is Aboriginal?

Aboriginal came from the Latin word “aborigines” which literally translates to “original inhabitants”. Thus, aboriginal peoples are indigenous to a certain location and they are also termed as “indigenous peoples”. Specifically, “indigenous peoples” is defined by the United Nations (UN) as “those ethnic groups that were indigenous to a territory prior to being incorporated in a national state”.

Some of the countries with a significant number of aboriginal peoples include Peru, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Africa, Bolivia, and Russia. For instance, Peru has the greatest number of aboriginal peoples in South America. As much as 45% of the country’s population are indigenous and they have shaped much of Peru’s traditions and customs. Also, Mexico’s population is around 20% aboriginals and this is evidenced by 62 indigenous Amerindian languages.

 

What is African?

African refers to the people who are native to the continent of Africa and their descendants. There are thousands of ethnic groups in Africa; in fact, the official population count of such aborigines are uncertain due to the rapid increase in inhabitants and limited infrastructure in conducting accurate surveys. The estimated population of Africans in 2018 is 1,287, 920, 518 as they inhabit the second most populated continent.

Regarding its etymology, Africa has a number of hypotheses. “Afri” is a Latin term which used to pertain to the early inhabitants in the west of the Nile river. Some also associated it with the Phoenician word, “afar” which means “dust”. Others assert that it came from the Berber (a branch of the Afroasiatic languages) word, “ifri” which means “cave” in reference to “cave dwellers”. In addition, Flavius Josephus theorized that Africa came from the name “Epher”, the grandson of Abraham, whose descendants occupied Libya. Isidore of Seville proposed that it came from the Latin word “aprica” which means “sunny”.

Difference between Aboriginal and African

Scope

Aboriginal has a wider scope as it refers to the indigenous tribes in all countries worldwide. On the other hand, African only refers to the natives in Africa. Hence, some Africans are aborigines but not all aboriginal peoples are Africans.

Etymology

Aboriginal came from the Latin word “aborigines” which translates to “original inhabitants”.  As for “African”, there are several hypotheses regarding its origin; for instance, some assert that it came from the Latin word “afri” which pertained to the early inhabitants of the territories at the west of the Nile River while some believe that it was based on the Phoenician word, “afar” which means “dust”. In addition, Isidore of Seville proposed that it came from the Latin word “aprica” which means “sunny”.

Accuracy of Census

As compared to aboriginal peoples, the population among Africans would be more accurate. It is usually more difficult to ascertain the number of aborigines since many of them live in inaccessible areas and some of them were displaced due to urbanization. Moreover, it is hard to verify the number of ethnic people or aborigines in Africa due to limited infrastructures in conducting censuses.

Minority

As compared to Africans, aboriginal peoples are more associated with the word “minority”.  The percentage of aborigines in their respective countries are usually, if not always, less. Hence, there are normally special legal provisions for the aborigines as they face higher risks regarding poverty, discrimination, unemployment, and the like.

Skin Color

Dark skin is more often associated with Africans as compared to aboriginal peoples as there are a number of original inhabitants who have fair skin color. For instance, many of the “Igorots” which literally means “people from the mountains”, an ethnic group in the Philippines have light skin tone. Also, the fair-skinned Bretons, a Celtic ethnic group, are one of the original inhabitants in France.

Aboriginal vs African: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of Aboriginal vs African

  • Some may think that both aboriginal and African people are the same as most of them are depicted as dark skinned.
  • Some researchers suggest that the ancestors of the aborigines in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and some South-East Asian countries came from Africa.
  • Aboriginal peoples are indigenous to a certain location and they are also termed as “indigenous peoples”.
  • The estimated population of Africans in 2018 is 1,287, 920, 518 as they inhabit the second most populated continent.
  • As compared to Africa, “aboriginal peoples” has a wider scope.
  • Aboriginal came from the Latin word “aborigines” which literally means “original inhabitants” while Africa has more than several hypotheses regarding its etymology such as the Latin word “afri” which refer to the early inhabitants at the west of the Nile river, the Phoenician word “afar” which means “dust”, and the Latin word “aprica” which means “sunny”.
  • Africa’s population is more accurate as compared to that of the different aboriginal peoples in the different countries across the globe.
  • Aboriginal peoples are more associated with “minority” as compared to Africans. 
  • There are more aboriginal peoples who have fairer or lighter skin tone as compared to African people.

 

gene balinggan

Gene Balinggan is a Registered Psychologist, licensed professional teacher, and a freelance academic and creative writer. She has been teaching social science courses both in the undergrad and graduate levels. Some of the major subjects which she is handling are Theories of Personality, Experimental Psychology, Historical Foundations of Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology.She co-authored a manual in General Psychology and a textbook, “Understanding the Self”. She is also currently the Psychology-Behavioral Science Society adviser in their university. Gene has also been a research adviser and panel member in a number of psychology and special education paper presentations. Her certifications include TESOL (Tampa, Florida), Psychiatric Ward Practicum Certification (Baguio General Hospital), Outcome-Based Education, and Marker of Diploma Courses (Community Training Australia). She finished her BS Psychology at Saint Louis University and her MAT Special Education and MA Psychology at the University of the Cordilleras.

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References :


[0]Ross, Rupert. Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice. Toronto, ON: Penguin Canada, 2006. Print.

[1]Willis, Deborah. Black: A Celebration of Culture. New York, NY: Skyhorse,2014. Print.

[2]Yogerst, Joe. National Geographic. Around the World in 125 Years. Africa. Cologne:  TASCHEN, 2018. Print.

[3]Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/africa-african-african-american-woman-african-tribe-1851535/

[4]Image credit: https://www.maxpixel.net/Papua-Dance-Warrior-Tribal-Tribe-Aboriginal-2005721

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