ARU Social Science Chiaramonte Slavery Discussion Response


Calie Chiaramonte

Dr. Tomasz Stanek

Discussion Week 2

           Slavery is a huge part of American history dating back to the beginning of our country’s origins. Slavery was not particularly new to the world, but America exploited so many people and owning slaves became a new normal at a fast pace.  Reading these articles are eye opening in so many ways and really shows how our country was founded on the blood, sweat, and tears of slaves.

           Colonizers in Virginia were struggling to survive. The men and women in these early colonies were dying at such a fast rate and they needed help. There was not enough of the “white man” to force labor on them, and the Native Americans could not be forced to be slaves. If the settlers tried to enslave the natives, they would have just fought back and they had the upper hand due to knowing the land and having larger numbers (Zinn, 1). But something had to be done and fast or the colonizers were not going to make it in the New World. This is where they turned to slavery and buying people from Africa. This was the start of exploiting the African people for the gains of the White man (Zinn, 2).

           Slavery was not only an early American problem. Slavery went well into the 19th century and lasted hundreds of years. One mechanism that was used to keep slavery at an all time high, was stripping Africans from their home and their culture. They took the black slaves and stripped them from their land, their language, their dress, customs, and family (Zinn, 2). The Indians had their land and families, and the Europeans had their culture, but when you take everything from a person, they can do nothing but survive. Not only were they taken from everything they knew and loved, but they were also put in the worst possible situations. They were packed into cages, chained together around the neck, whipped, and sat on ships in their own feces (Zinn, 3). What a horrible way to treat someone. I could only imagine how degraded and awful these people must have felt.

           Another mechanism that was used was making black slaves feel they were inferior to white slaves. Zinn states, “The slaves were taught discipline, were impressed again and again with the idea of their own inferiority to “know their place”, to see blackness as a sign of subordination” (Zinn, 5). It was pressed on these black slaves that though there were white slaves also, the white slaves were treated harshly, but never as harshly as the black slaves. This was bred into their minds to see themselves as less than and inferior and this was a way the slaveholder took control of their minds. Impressing on them that they were not as important because of the color of their skin and that is all they are good for. Virginians saw whites and blacks banning together to go against racism and slavery and they could not have this, so they created the slave codes (Zinn, 6). Virginia passed that “all white men were superior to black, went on to off their social (but white) inferiors a number of benefits that were previously denied to them” (Zinn, 6). They did not do this for the same black codes. It was a form of racism and control to “teach” the black slave that they were inferior.

           There were many ways the colonizers and Americans dehumanized the Africans as slaves over the centuries. It was disgusting and awful how they demoralized them, hurt them, and killed them all for their own self gain. Why stop slavery when it was benefiting the white man? I believe it was easy for them to disregard what was going on and they out a stamp of Christianity on it to make themselves feel better.

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