The Domino Effect of Slavery

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The Domino Effect of Slavery
Today, every child in America is entitled to a free education to prosper later in life, as well as freedom of speech and freedom of making his/her own decisions to a certain extent. No child is alienated or denied any freedom based on the color of their skin or their racial or cultural background. Imagine living in an America where certain children are denied the right to pursue an education, and are not entitled to freedom of speech or freedom of making his/her own decisions to any extent. Believe it or not, blacks like Frederick Douglass were abused and abnegated the right to any kind of freedom in America during the 1800s. Revoking basic human rights from people and enslaving them revokes their humanity and the humanity of all involved in the situation. In the memoir, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass written by Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass is a slave who yearns for what seems to be the impossible: freedom. Through the years of the dehumanization of slavery, he ultimately found a spark of humanity within him and rejuvenated the spirit in his heart. Sweepingly, slavery dehumanizes not only the slave, but also the slaveholder and the slave instituting society. Slavery dehumanizes slaves themselves in an unsubtle manor. To begin with, slaves are not allowed to know of their family's background. Frederick Douglass did not know of his mother or father; he only knew of his mother's name and did not have a clue as to why he could not see her. Additionally, when his mother died, he had felt no emotions towards her death. In a sense, the absence of his mother acted as a lack of emotions prescribed to Douglass. Humans generally feel sympathy towards the event of a death, especially when it involves the death of a family member. The fact that Douglass did not feel any emotions toward his mother's death confirms that slavery had dehumanized him by deducting his emotional state of mind. (Douglass 16) Furthermore, slaves were being treated worse than animals. Female and male slaves were forced to sleep on the cold, damp floor, until they were awakened by a horn. Slaves were also whipped until they bled. In fact, Mr. Severe, an ironically well-named slaveholder Douglass had to tolerate, whipped a woman in front of her children for half an hour and watched her back bleed, disregarding her screams. Douglass wrote, “I have seen him whip a woman, causing the blood to run half an hour at the time; and this too, in the midst of her crying children, pleading for their mother’s release.” (23) It is discernible that slaves were treated not as humans, but as animals. Evidently, slavery was very dehumanizing to slaves considering it deducted the quality of human emotions within them and exposed them to conditions not even animals had to face. Along with slaves, slavery is also dehumanizing to slaveholders themselves. Initially, owning a slave would corrupt the human mind itself. Hugh Auld's wife had never owned a slave before Frederick Douglass, so she didn't understand much about owning a slave. Throughout the process of being in possession of Douglass, Mrs. Auld demonstrates that slavery is a terrible thing for white people, too. When Mrs. Auld was first introduced to Douglass, she was a “woman of the kindest heart and finest feelings...she had been in a good degree preserved from the dehumanizing effects of slavery.” (41) In fact, she had treated Douglass just as he appeared to be: a small child. She even taught him the alphabet! However, throughout the experience of owning Douglass, her mind finally became corrupted by slavery. She had changed from a warm-hearted, sympathetic woman to a cruel, envious tyrant (43). Some slaveholders also performed horrible deeds on their slaves, which were executed with pleasure. horrible deeds with pleasure. Douglass writes, “Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder…He was a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slaveholding. He would at times...
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