Africans have for a long time been considered to be an inferior race when compared to the other races. Many think that the racial attitudes have always existed and that, contributed widely to the emergence of transatlantic trade. However, the reverse is true. The modern ideas on racism emerged to explain about the societies that rose as a result of slavery. In as much as the discrimination against the Africans did not stem from the trade, it did legitimized slavery ( Foner ). This was possible through the triangular nature of the trade. This paper thus explains the role that race played in enslaving of Africans by Americans.
The Atlantic trade played a major role in promoting slavery of the Africans. This trade placed the colonial merchants at good position to transport as many slaves from Africa as possible. According to Foner, the physically built nature of blacks signified strength which attracted the merchants. They saw the need to have these Africans work for them as they would be assets to them. This became the norm and with time slavery became associated with the color black and white with liberty. The slaves that got to America accounted for only 5% of the total slaves shipped from Africa, but with time the population grew through natural reproduction. The Africans were being used as slaves for a long time until the race became connected with slavery.
The African kings equally played a significant role in contributing to slavery of their people. The king of Benin was but the only exception. The strong and able bodied men were captured and sold into slavery leaving only the weak and women behind thus disrupting the societies and economy at large. The Africans then largely depended on the trade not knowing that the merchants benefitted more by subjecting the slaves to extreme hard work and pressure to produce under unbearable conditions. The kings thus contributed in slave trade and thus made it seem as though the slave trade was legitimate since they did not oppose it this is according to Foner. The further enhanced the stereotype that the African race was naturally made to be slaves. From my perspective, the kings used their powers to betray the trust accorded to them by their people. The kings ought to have protected their people from the wrath of slavery. Having separated them from their wives and children. I also believe that slavery largely contributed to colonization of the African colonies later on. The majority of the strong men had been shipped to serve as slaves leaving behind only the weak and women who could not defend their communities.
Americans used indentured servants; this was until they realized that the class of these servants was moving upwards thus posing a threat to them. The servants had worked through their terms and had become competitors. It was at this time that the African slavery was introduced. This was around the year 1724. Africans because of their black race were considered as moveable property incapable of working on their own. Some skewed scientists even went further to come up with theories to justify slavery. They claimed that blacks could be mistreated and regarded as property since they were not humans and were not entitled to humane treatment.
In conclusion, it is evident that the division of classes and racism brought forth the issue of slavery and not the other way round as usually perceived by many. Racism placed the Africans at the bottom as inferior beings meant to work under tough conditions states Foner. This therefore explains the relation between race and slavery of Africans in colonial America. I am not in support of the idea of slavery regardless of the race. All human being are equal and deserve to be treated right and work under conducive conditions to be productive. If only the Africans were treated right during the colonial times in America, then maybe they would have been more effective in delivering their services. I am however glad that the reign of slavery was abolished and Africans came to be accepted in America. This does not mean that slavery was eliminated. There exist new forms of slavery in which Africans are lured into other continents with the promise of a better life only to be exploited on arrival. It therefore will take the coordination of all of us to create awareness about the rights and freedoms of human beings. In addition, it is also our responsibility to protect the vulnerable from slavery.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! : An American History
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