Just some graphic designer who's passionate about radical politics, video games, and dumb internet humor. Don't be afraid to send a message, I like new internet friends. I run another blog (descentintotyranny) where I repost important news stories I find.
By 1680, you see the beginning of the changes. What had happened - and this is a complicated story - was that colonial leaders had to deal with Bacon and that rebellion. The British sent a fleet of three ships and by the time they got to Virginia, there were 8,000 poor men rebelling who had burned down Jamestown - blacks, whites, mulattos. And it was quite clear that this kind of unity and solidarity among the poor was dangerous.
After that, they began to pass laws, very gradually. They passed laws that gave Europeans privileges while they increasingly enslaved Africans. They passed a number of laws that prevented blacks, Indians, and mulattos from owning firearms, for example. Everybody had firearms. Everybody in Virginia still has firearms!
Then there was another change: There was a decline in the number of European servants coming to the New World. At the same time, there was an increase in the ships bringing Africans to the New World. By the 1690s or so, the English themselves had outfitted their ships to bring Africans back from the continent, and this is the first time that they had had direct connections.
But the Africans also had something else. They had skills which neither the Indians nor the Irish had. The Africans brought here were farmers. They knew how to farm semi-tropical crops. They knew how to build houses. They were brick makers, for example. They were carpenters and calabash carvers and rope makers and leather workers. They were metal workers. They were people who knew how to smelt ore and get iron out of it. They had so many skills that we don’t often recognize. But the colony leaders certainly recognized that. And they certainly gave high value to those slaves who had those skills.
After 1690 things begin to change. All of the Europeans become identified as “white.” And Africans take on a different kind of identity. They are not only heathens, but they are people who are perceived as vulnerable to being enslaved. And that’s a major point. Africans were vulnerable because it became part of the consciousness that they had no rights as Englishmen. Even the poorest Englishman knew that he had some rights. But once a planter owns a few Africans, the idea that the Africans had no rights that they had to recognize became very clear. And that’s why they were vulnerable to being enslaved, and kept in slavery. The laws that were passed after that all tended to diminish the rights of African people. But between 1690 and 1735, even those Africans who had been free and who had been there for many generations, had their rights taken away from them.
Once you magnify the difference between the slaves and the free, then it was possible to create a society in which the slaves were little better than animals. They were thought of as animals. And the more you think of slaves as animals, the more you justify keeping them as slaves.
After a while, slavery became identified with Africans. Blackness and slavery went together in the popular mind. And this is why we can say that race is a product of the popular mind, because it was this consciousness that blackness and slavery were bound together, that gave people the idea that Africans were a different kind of people.
Think of the early 17th century planter who wrote to the trustees of his company and he said, “Please don’t send us any more Irishmen. Send us some Africans, because the Africans are civilized and the Irish are not.” But 100 years later, the Africans become increasingly brutalized. They become increasingly homogenized into a category called “savages.” And all the attributes of savagery which the English had once given to the Irish, now they are giving to the Africans.
Why were Africans the slaves of choice?
Audrey Smedley is a professor of anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is author of Race in North America: Origins of a Worldview.
Every year white people add 100 years to how long ago slavery was. I’ve heard educated white people say, ‘slavery was 400 years ago.’ No it very wasn’t. It was 140 years ago…that’s two 70-year-old ladies living and dying back to back. That’s how recently you could buy a guy.
Enslaved women working as domestic servants in Southern plantations were taken from their families and forced to nurse white babies while their own infants subsisted on sugar water. They were not voluntary members of the enslaver’s family; they were women laboring under coercion and the constant fear of physical and sexual violence. They had no enforceable authority over their white charges and could not even resist the sale and exploitation of their own children. Domestic servants often were not grandmotherly types but teenagers or very young women. It was white supremacist imaginations that remembered these powerless, coerced slave girls as soothing, comfortable, consenting women.
Melissa V. Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen
This reminded me of that picture of a slave woman breastfeeding a white baby that was circulation a little while ago.
One of Federick Douglass’s most famous quotes is “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” But for the life of me, I just can’t seem to track down this quote’s source, so I can’t share it in its full context (and now I’m questioning if he even said it). However, I DO remember a pretty moving passage in his “Narrative,” which is where I’m guessing this notquote originates from:
"Very soon after I went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Auld, she very kindly commenced to teach me the A, B, C. After I had learned this, she assisted me in learning to spell words of three or four letters. Just at this point of my progress, Mr. Auld found out what was going on, and at once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her, among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read. To use his own words, further, he said, "If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master—to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now," said he, "if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy." These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought. It was a new and special revelation, explaining dark and mysterious things, with which my youthful understanding had struggled, but struggled in vain. I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty—to wit, the white man’s power to enslave the black man. It was a grand achievement, and I prized it highly. From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom."
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman escaped to the North in 1849. But she returned into slave territory at least 13 times, escorting dozens of escaped slaves to freedom. She was known for being tough: She carried a revolver not only to ward off dogs and slave owners, but also to threaten frightened fugitives with should they lose their nerve. According to one tale, she once held at gunpoint a man threatening to turn back, telling him, “You go on or die.”She supported women’s suffrage and donated land to a church for a home for the elderly and indigent.
A banner of the 22nd Regiment of the United States Colored Troops, featuring the motto “Sic semper tyrannis” with the image of an African-American trooper bayoneting a Confederate. Sic semper tyrannis, indeed.
One of today’s biggest human rights crises is the international trafficking of women and girls (and, to a lesser extent, boys) into sex slavery. Human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world, outranked only by arms and drug dealing. The United Nations estimates that trafficking in persons generates $7 to $10 billion annually for traffickers.
How Does Human Trafficking Take Place?
Traffickers acquire their victims primarily from developing countries where poverty is rampant, commonly through some means of force or deception. Victims are typically very young, most ranging in age from eight to 18 years old. Some are as young as four or five years old. A common scenario involves a poor Asian or Eastern European girl who is offered a “better life” as a housemaid, restaurant server or dancer in a wealthy country such as the United States, Great Britain, or Italy. When she arrives at her destination, her passport is taken away, she is physically and sexually abused, and she is forced into prostitution in a country where she neither speaks the language nor has any friends, relatives or means of support. She is forced to service 8-15 clients a day and does not receive any pay. Rather, the money is used to pay off her “debt” to the trafficker and brothel owners for transportation, food, lodging and so on. After some period of time, she will be resold to another brothel owner, often in another country, and the cycle will continue all over again. She is likely to acquire HIV/AIDS, and to pass it on to her clients and their wives, all around the world. She has a greater chance than most of dying early, and is certain to live a horrible existence in whatever short years she has. Even if she is eventually rescued and repatriated to her country and community, she is likely to be ostracized as a result of her involvement in prostitution.
Government and police corruption, primarily in under-developed countries, play a large role in the perpetuation of the sex slave industry, with blind-eyes being turned toward openly active brothels and payoffs being accepted by those officials charged with the enforcement of national and international laws prohibiting trafficking, prostitution and child sexual exploitation.
According to the history books, the Civil War officially ended in 1865 with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate army. But on the streets of a newly reunited nation, another fierce battle was just beginning.
In 1866, the year immediately following the end of the war, America was supposed to be reuniting, healing its wounds, and moving past years of civil unrest. However, a closer look into this historic time reveals a sinister snapshot of a discordant nation caught in the midst of deadly race riots and angry insurgencies. In this compelling program, THE HISTORY CHANNEL examines the disturbing reality behind the murder, terrorism, and chaos that marked the uncertain period of Reconstruction in America. While a new government struggled to gain control, the subjugation of “free” black men and women continued in the former Confederate states - terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were formed, and widespread riots in Memphis and New Orleans left hundreds dead.
AFTERSHOCK: BEYOND THE CIVIL WAR provides a revealing look into the true horror of the Civil War aftermath - a story which, until now, has gone largely untold.
I find this Chris Rock backlash absolutely ridiculous. Really? Someone tells the truth and you mad? I’m American. I never claim otherwise. I never give the “We didn’t land on Plymouth rock” speech unless its in a really funny way. But part of being American, to me, is that I have to acknowledge all the bullshit that comes with it. Basically some folks came over, stole other people’s land, killed them, then started a country on the backs of my people, while killing them, and then at some point they freed the slaves but then oppressed them and killed them some more. Do I have the ability to do things here that I wouldn’t in some parts of the world? Yes. But my family paid the price for that in actual blood, sweat and tears. If more people were like Rock and acknowledged the truth maybe we’d be in a better place as a Nation.
Seriously. I always have to try to put this into perspective for people. People act like slavery was so distant. My mom is older in relation to my age (she had me at 43), and her father was older when she was born (in his early 50’s) and was born in the late 1800’s. One of his PARENTS was born into slavery. For people like my mom, this isn’t the least bit distant. My mom grew up in the Jim Crow south. History is so depersonalized that people can act like slavery, Jim Crow, and blatantly racist institutions existed in 1800 BC