Africans have for a long time been considered to be an inferior race when compared to the other races. Many think that racial attitudes have always existed and that, contributed widely to the emergence of the transatlantic trade. However, the reverse is true. The modern ideas of racism emerged to explain the societies that rose as a result of slavery. In as much as the discrimination against the Africans did not stem from the trade, it was through it that slavery was legitimized (Foner 65). This was possible through the triangular nature of the trade. This paper thus explains the role that race played in the slavery of the Africans by the Americans.
The Atlantic trade played a major role in promoting slavery of the Africans, A series of trade routes crisscrossed the Atlantic (Forner 89). There were a series of trade routes that crisscrossed the Atlantic. This placed the colonial merchants at a good position to transport as many slaves from Africa as possible. The natural physically built bodies of the blacks made it possible for them to work very hard and long hours which attracted the merchants. They saw the need to have these Africans work for them as they would be assets to them. This became the norm and with time slavery became associated with the color black while on the other hand white with liberty. The slaves that got to America were few about 5% but with time the population grew through natural reproduction. The Africans were being used as slaves for a long time until the race became connected with slavery.
The African kings equally played a significant role in contributing to the slavery of their people. The king of Benin was the only exception as explained by Foner With the exception of the king of Benin, most African rulers took part in the slave trade (78). The strong and able bodied men were captured and sold into slavery leaving only the weak and women behind thus disrupting the societies and economy at large. The Africans then largely depended on the trade not knowing that the merchants benefitted more by subjecting the slaves to extremely hard work and pressure to produce under unbearable conditions. The kings thus contributed to the slave trade and thus made it seem as though the slave trade was legitimate since they did not oppose it. The further enhanced the stereotype that the African race was naturally made to be slaves.
Americans used indentured servants; this was until they realized that the class of these servants was moving upwards thus posing a threat to them. The servants had worked through their terms and had become competitors. It was at this time that the African slavery was introduced. This was around the year 1724 (Foner 78). Africans because of their black race were considered as moveable property incapable of working on their own. Some skewed scientists even went further to come up with theories to justify slavery. They claimed that blacks could be mistreated and regarded as property since they were not humans and were not entitled to humane treatment.
In conclusion, it is evident that the division of classes and racism brought forth the issue of slavery and not the other way round as usually perceived by many. Racism placed the Africans at the bottom as inferior beings meant to work under tough conditions. This, therefore, explains the relation between race and slavery of Africans in colonial America.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition. Vol. 1. WW Norton & Company, 2013. Print.
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