The actual curse was placed on Canaan (Cham's fourth son). Thus the curse of Ham really not found in the Torah. Indeed, Cham's sons were Cush, Mitzrayim (who was the progenitor of the greatest Empire in the world in its time), Put, and Canaan (whom the curse affected). Cush begat Nimrod who was the first emperor before the tower of Babel.
Canaan actually lived in the Middle East and conquered Eretz Yisrael in the time of Avraham Lech Lecha 12:6
The curse is not upon a specific group of people, but upon those who improperly allow their passions to rule them.
And he said, "Cursed be Canaan; he shall be a slave among slaves to
Cursed be Canaan: You have caused me to be incapable of begetting another fourth son (Gen. Rabbah , manuscripts, and early editions
read: a fourth son) to serve me. Cursed be your fourth son, that he
should minister to the children of these older ones [Shem and Japhet],
upon whom the burden of serving me has been placed from now on (Gen.
Rabbah 36:7). Now what did Ham see (what reason did he have) that he
castrated him? He said to his brothers,“The first man [Adam] had two
sons, and one killed the other so as to inherit the world, and our
father has three sons, and he still desires a fourth son!” - [from
Gen. Rabbah ibid. 5, 22:7]
Rav Hirsch points out that this is a reflection on those who allow their sensuality to control them. Rav Hirsch points out
When Noach woke upand got to know of Cham's behavior, his first
thought was: --- the principle that showed itself here in Cham can,
and may, and will -- (for it is no means necessary that ארור always
expresses a wish in the ordinary sense of curse, but rather and
especially here a declaration) -- never be the ruling one. Raw hot
sensuality, which has no control over itself, which has lost all
reserve and respect for anything spiritually high is unfit for ruling,
yea, for freedom, it in itself is unfruitful, is ארור without progress
or blessing, it bears its ruin in itself. ---
freedom is only achieved sand retained by those who can master and