Essay about The Color Black And The Skin Color Of African Americans

Essay about The Color Black And The Skin Color Of African Americans

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In order to prove his thesis, Jordan uses the theory that whites related the connotation of the color black to the skin color of African-Americans. He begins the book with an explanation of the first interaction between Europeans and Black Africans and explains the theories of the causes of complexion. Two major theories are mentioned: proximity to tropical climates, disproved by the color of natives in the Americas, and that blacks are the religious descendents of Canaan, the son of Ham, cursed by Noah as the servant of servants. He writes that the biblical notation lends to slavery but not skin color but it was widely believed that blacks were the descendents of Ham for this reason.

Jordan also writes about the negative context that the color black has. He quotes the Oxford English Dictionary and its definition of black as deeply stained with dirt; soiled, dirty and foul, having dark or deadly purposes, atrocious, and wicked among others. Whites were the exact opposite and the implications of the color difference, according to Jordan, was the reason that whites took the ethnocentric views of themselves as superior to the Negro race. He also explains that the European view of African religion was heathenism and that they were full of lust, behaved like savages, and were the closest of any human race in facial pattern to apes. Hypocritical to the “libidinous desires” that blacks were said to have is the constant miscegenation that took place mostly by white men with black women, which may have been another way that whites self-proved themselves to be superior to Negroes.

Eventually, these superior ethnocentric views led to blacks becoming indentured servants and finally slaves proven by Jordan’s explanation of the price of white...

... middle of paper ...

...makes these stereotypes seem like they actually could have been. Opposite of this though is the amazement at the ignorance of people in the past. The fact that science tried to prove that blacks were the closest race to apes seems bizarre but obviously early Americans were looking for a way to justify their self-proclaimed superiority.

Reviewers of this book regard it highly opposed to the way that they view the unabridged White Over Black. They believe that with the original book, that Jordan made an attempt at explaining too much and that the abridged version is an improvement. Jordan acknowledges this in the preface of The Racial Origins of the United States. Aside from the criticism that the first book received about its length and scope, reviewers believe that this book has its place in the study of history as one of the most significant books on race relations.

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