In the seventeenth century, slaves became the major focus of trade between Africa and other parts of the world, namely the Americas and Europe. This was known as the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was an involuntary voyage of Africans from their homeland, across the Atlantic Ocean, to the New World. The trans-Atlantic slave trade caused the deportation of millions of Africans to the Western hemisphere of the world. Millions of captives were shipped to their destinations performing hard labor under terrible conditions.
Since the beginning of slavery in the America, Africans have been deemed inferior to the whites whom exploited the Atlantic slave trade. Africans were exported and shipped in droves to the Americas for the sole purpose of enriching the lives of other races with slave labor. These Africans were sold like livestock and forced into a life of servitude once they became the “property” of others. As the United States expanded westward, the desire to cultivate new land increased the need for more slaves. The treatment of slaves was dependent upon the region because different crops required differing needs for cultivation.
The origin of racism originated in the 18th century when Africans were sold in the slave trade, not because they were being prejudiced against, but because the merchants wanted to make a profit. But as economic profit was being made it became common to think of white people as more superior. This view then turned into beliefs, a system that justified slavery and the buildings of empires. When the British had power of countries such as India and Africa they argued that it was for a dignified cause, "white supremacy was necessary for human progress" Racism has deeply embedded itself into our culture, frustrations with difficulties in life such as unemployment, lower wages, crime and lack of affordable housing is often taken out on the minority ethnic groups. Racism becomes more widespread when times are hard; it is often easier to blame people of other races than to work out why inequality and discrimination exist and how to get rid of them.
As slavery continued to develop, and many countries, such as the emerging United States in the late 18th century, had slaves as a major part of their economic model. Then, especially in slave ships and markets, there was a process of dehumanization that made the white sailors disengage themselves from the misery and brutality they were inflicting on people. It could be argued that violence was a necessity from Europeans’ perspectives, to try to keep enslaved people from revolting, and disrupting the flow of wealth they had obtained from the cruelty of slavery. Their wealth, was dependent on the continuation of slavery, which was why this system was so brutal by nature. The people in
The balance of power was beginning to shift as the antebellum South’s dependence on free labor economically tied their existence to the heinous practice of owning slaves. Slavery was in many ways a dream come true for southern culture in its ability to relieve the issue of finding labor and keeping costs low, but this inhumane practice became the downfall of the antebellum South in how its practice became so common in its culture that it became more of an economic addiction. Their entire economy was seemingly tied to this need for free labor under the impression that slavery was there to stay, shamefully allowing the gruesome, inhumane, nature of slavery to transcend societal values to the point of widespread acceptance. This accepting culture marked the downfall of the antebellum South.
African Americans are susceptible to racial discrimination, a reality that ultimately shapes the way of life for African Americans (Hine, et. al., 2012). To many people, the term slavery suggests the enslavement of African people that were transported by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. But to Karenga, the term slave means much more. Karenga defines the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as the “Holocaust of Enslavement,” which is a much more powerful designation of slavery.
Middle Passage European slavers altered the way that different African people viewed one another and themselves. The book by Miguel Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave is a strong account that can be used to explore how Africans changed their perception of each other, and how this change influenced the lives of Africans in the Americas. First of all it is important to examine how many African slaves were brought to the New World. The Middle Passage is infamous route of the ships that carried slaves to the Americas. After the arrival to the New World, the slaves were sold or exchanged for the valuable goods.
Once the introduction to slavery was introduced to America, a firestorm of maltreatment towards human kind ensued. Slaves were an alternative to indentured servants, which proved to be a very popular and cost effective solution to the labor problem amongst farmers. Americans began to import enslaved African workers by the thousands and sold them to land owners as lifelong property. With the indentured population diminished, and due to the low cost of African slaves, popularity and widespread African slavery grew. In the late 1600s, Early America was marred with a myriad of controversies; none more so than the birth of slave labor.
As slaves were legal property and a part of capital. They were bought, sold and sometimes killed, thus they became a means of production and were reduced to a commodity owned by slave owners (Ritzer; 2002:51/53). The relationship between slavery and capitalism can be seen in the context of the creation of the America’s. African and Afro-American slaves were vital for the development of the America’s. An example of this is after the American civil war, even though the North had fought to abolish slavery.
The phenotype, being the “other” was introduced as the main basis of treating somebody like slave. The introduction of the racial quality to the slavery was the resolution to the problem of Native Americans who need to invent new ways of treating their enemies. Also if the person is born to a slave, then he or she inherits the status of slave. Native Americans started trading their slaves instead of integration to their society. Some Native Americans start making profit out of returning runaway slaves to plantations.