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Racism or Slavery, Which Came First?

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Essay title: Racism or Slavery, Which Came First?

Racism or Slavery, which came first?

Racism or slavery, neither, this essay will document the prejudice against Africans from Europeans that led into slavery and racism. Prejudice issues in a dislike for an individual or group of these individuals. This dislike can simulate from many differences that are shared, religion, culture, system of living (government and social practice), or in some cases looks.

"Initially English contact with Africans did not take place primarily in a context which prejudged the Negro as a slave, at least not as a slave of Englishmen. Rather, Englishmen met Africans merely as another sort of men. Englishmen found the peoples of Africa very different form themselves. "Negroes" looked different to Englishmen; their religion was un-Christian; they seemed to be very libidinous people (Jordan, 1)." In this example Winthrop Jordan begins to target the differences that Englishmen seen and identified with from themselves and the Africans. Pointing out an area that differed, which to the Englishmen mirrored the souls and morals of the Africans, religion. Prejudice begins with difference.

"For Englishmen, the most arresting characteristic of the newly discovered African was his color. Travelers rarely failed to comment upon it; indeed when describing Africans they frequently began with complexion and then moved on to dress (or, as they saw, lack of it) and manners (Jordan 1)."

And entering in a river, we see

a number of blacke soules,

Whose likelinesse seem'd men to be,

but all as blacke as coles.

Their Captaine comes to me

as naked as my naile,

Not having witte or honestie

to cover once his taile.

Robert Baker

Jordan and Baker begin to show the Englishmen dislike for the African choice of dress and complexion. Baker includes that African people skin tone embodies their souls, having negativity in them by nature of being black, adds having neither wit nor honesty. "Englishmen actually described Negroes as black-an exaggerated term which in itself suggest that the Negro's complexion had powerful impact upon their perceptions (Jordan, 1)." Black- deeply stained with dirt, soiled, dirty, foulВ…Having dark or deadly purposes, malignant; pertaining to or involving death, deadly; baneful, disastrous, sinisterВ…Foul, iniquitous, atrocious, horrible, wickedВ… Indicating disgrace, censure, liability to punishment, etc. This was Black as described by the Oxford English Dictionary.

In the case of Hugh Davis, who in 1630 was beaten publicly in his town for all eyes to see, for "abusing himself to the dishonor of God and shame of Christians, by defiling his body and lying with a Negro." Davis is not being disciplined for fornication, but for having sex with a black woman. Davis like the definition, had been deeply stained with dirt, become soiled, foul, disgraceful, and made himself liable for punishment.

Black in its definition was an adjective. Able to describe plagues, seas, and days (Black Friday). Holding a meaning of negativity in English minds before being applied to Africans, but not changing once applied.

Everye white will have its blacke,

And everye sweete its sowre.

George Puttenham

The English noticeable difference from Africans became a dislike for those differences. Generally in the aspect of religion, did difference come to a head. The English considered the Africans as being a heathen. "The most important aspect of English reaction to African heathenism was that Englishmen evidently did not regard it as separable from the Negro's other attributes. Heathenism was treated not so much as a specifically religious defect

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