During the Enlightenment, to be human a man must be reasonable. To have reason, a man must understand the European arts and sciences and be literate. Writing was to the Europeans “… the most salient repository of genius the visible sign of reason itself” (Gates 10). When Europeans first encountered Africans they did not have a writing system and obviously did not have the same language, religion, or view of art and science. Therefore, to the Europeans, these individuals lacked reason and were not considered hu...
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...color” (151). If race standards were biological they would be permanent, not varying by location. A text is made to fit ideas of a particular society. If race were biological it would be evident from the moment of birth, however it is not. Jacobs describes a white girl happily playing with her half black sister, “I saw them embracing each other and heard their joyous laughter” (28). The girls did not know the concept of race, they only saw one another as human. They did not see race, as society had not taught them to see it yet. Race is an invented concept, perpetuated by stereotyping and ignorance. Race can be overcome through talking and writing, this leads to cultural understanding. The slave narratives such as Jacobs’s were crucial to the abolishment of slavery, and continue to inspire others to dissect the myth that is race to create a more understanding society
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