Did Racism Precede Slavery?

Topics: Slavery, Black people, Racism Pages: 3 (996 words) Published: April 21, 2013
There have been debates among scholars over whether racism preceded slavery or vice versa. Present an argument on this question using course materials (lectures, readings, film) While some argue that racism preceded slavery, I firmly believe that racism did not precede slavery. Before examining the reasons behind my opinion, it is important to note how race feeds into racism, and how slavery then latches on to racism. Race is a socially constructed idea through which a hierarchy largely stemming from the fairness of skin color is formed. As a result, different racial groups are formed with the White race occupying the top position of this hierarchy. Because of this skin-color based hierarchy, White people developed a sense of superiority and dominance over the Black people who lie at the bottom of this hierarchy. This perception of being superior and dominant over another race based on this hierarchy is racism. A connection between slavery and racism can then be formed when the White elites decide to only enslave the Black people when they feel their dominance and superiority is jeopardized in one way or the other. Therefore, the components of racism and slavery together form racialized slavery. Holistically speaking, a three-part system involving race, racism and slavery is effectively formed. While keeping components of this system in mind, it is also necessary to consider how money, productivity and social relations influence my view. When British settlers entered the New World, among their priorities was to hire relatively inexpensive slave labor to generate profits for them. While the freely available, local Native Americans were auditioned, the White settlers realized they had to look elsewhere. Native Americans died via diseases contracted by White settlers, and as a result were neither fully adaptable to slave labor nor productive. Instead, White settlers turned to indentured servitude. As discussed in lecture, indentured servitude saw White...
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