Essay On Race And Racism

1812 Words 7 Pages
It is a common misconception that slavery grew out of racism, and that whites enslaved Africans because they are black. In actuality, the idea of race developed from the institution of slavery. Whites denied blacks rights and freedoms, and they needed a reason for doing so. Racist ideologies emerged to support the enslavement of blacks. From the first black indentures to reach the colonies, Africans faced an improbable chance of gaining their freedom. Indentured servitude was a lengthy journey that was often elongated. Eventually, outright ownership of human beings replaced the indentured servitude process, and blacks were slaves for life. Even with the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, the institution of …show more content…
In Eastern Africa and Europe, slavery was not deeply associated with race. In the West, slavery preceded racism. In the 17th century, mechanisms arose for creating race. For one, blacks were distinguishable by color. This made African subjugation and dehumanization visibly easy to enact. On slave ships, crewmembers hired by captains were labeled as “white men,” while the transported Africans would be labeled as a “black people” or a “negro race” in American ports (Rediker 10). Skin color was viewed a defining factor that regarded one group more highly over another. But in fact, racism in relation to skin color was, and is, arbitrary. Race, in actuality, comes from one’s bloodline. To continue, blacks were not subject to the rights of the British crown within the colonies. Therefore, whites did not view blacks as humans who had rights, so they were treated as lowly beings. The establishment of the colonies in the 17th century required an extensive labor force. Fortunately for colonizers, Africa could provide the necessary number of laborers; so Africans were chosen to fulfill the role of the permanent labor force within the early American republic. Therefore, race was selected as a means by which colonizers could subdue blacks into a controllable workforce. Racism was not a driving force for the enslavement of Africans; it was a social construct used as a reason for keeping black slaves in subordination. It was created as an unstable political and social category for the enslavement of a people. The idea of “race” is fluid and changes over time and place. But slave owners needed a motive for keeping blacks enslaved and race provided solid

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