Reproduction In Bondage From Killing The Black Body By Dorothy Roberts

937 Words 4 Pages
Marlene Choi
September 25, 2016
SOC 222: The Family
Instructor: Naomi Gerstel
TA: Yolanda Wiggins 9:05am-9:55am In the reading “Reproduction in Bondage,” from Killing the Black Body, by Dorothy Roberts, the author discusses the conditions black females had to endure during 1800s. During the 19th century, white men dominated the majority of Africans in slavery. Most importantly, black procreation helped sustain slavery and gave slave masters an economic motivation to govern black women’s reproductive lives. It was cruel and horrific the actions slave masters forced black women to do. Roberts mainly focused on the importance of black female slaves during the 19th century and described how many were treated as an object with no self-independence.
…show more content…
It was not because they were motherly, pretty, or nice, but it was the benefit of their labor. “Female slaves were commercially valuable to their masters not only for labor, but also for their ability to produce more slaves” (24) There were two plans that were the primarily the goal of master’s economic stake of his labor. First was the dehumanization of Africans on the basis of race and second, the master’s control of women’s sexuality and reproduction. This idea or goal is sickening to many people today because back then, the American legal system rooted in this monstrous combination of racial and gender domination. White masters increased their wealth by controlling their slave’s reproductive capacity and making them “their …show more content…
Slaves was silenced in two ways. First, parents were “prohibited from teaching freely chosen values to their children.” Second, slave children were “denied both the moral and social heritage of their families and the freedom to develop values in the more flexible and intimate environment of family.” However, the cruel times of slavery did not stop women or families to give up. They believed that family was most important to survival. Whites failed to crush a slave women 's spirit. Black women struggled in numerous ways to resist slave masters ' efforts to control their reproductive lives. Some female slaves refused to bear children by refraining from sexual intercourse or by “contraceptives or abortives.” Many slaves lived in settled, intimate families for a good part of their lives. Most significant, slaves created a broad notion of family that incorporated extended kin and non-kin relationships. The slaves’ community bonds left a legacy that continues to “shape the meaning of family in the Black community today” (56). This flexible family structure has proven to be an adaptive strategy for surviving racial

Related Documents