The Legacy of Slavery and Welfare

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The Legacy of Slavery and Welfare

The justifications that white Americans made for this racial distinction was that the African race was inferior to the white race based on their rationalizations on the skin color, intelligence, and sexuality of the African people. The main focus of attack was the sexuality of the African woman. Incidentally, the ‘Jezebel' woman directly caused the development of another stereotype upon the African American woman, "Mammy' who was the African American female slave considered the complete opposite of ‘Jezebel'. Collins observes, "… the Black woman as welfare mother remains essential to White hegemony because the White culture blames the woman for her impoverished condition and again deflects attention away from White, racist, patriarchal structures. African American mothers were also subjected to ‘"suitable homes"' rules in which states could deny benefits to mothers who were declared to be living immorality as stated by a judge "that having babies out of wedlock reflected weakness in the women's character" and such children were living in neglectful homes. The welfare queen image has continually been used to instill disgust for the welfare state. Mainly as the reproduction of African American children is no longer economically beneficial to the American people there have been many methods coerced upon African American to govern their reproductive habits. In August of 1619, twenty African slaves arrived in America in the colony of Jamestown via a Dutch warship. Upon their arrival, they were immediately sold by the captain for much needed ship supplies. Although it's widely believed that that these African slaves were treated as white indentured servants there isn't any clear and concise documentation regarding the treatment of them as slaves. It isn't until 1640 that the true nature of these African slaves is revealed through documented cases involving slaves such as John Punch and others. John Punch was an African servant sentenced to serve his master for a term of life for the crime of running away even though two white servants were sentenced only to an additional four years of service for committing the same offense There are even incidents of the sale of African servants for terms of life that included any possible descendants they may eventually have. The heredity status of slavery was made possible by a 1662 Virginia law that declared the status of children would no longer be paternally decided but decided maternally. At this point the clear distinction between African slaves and white slaves is made as the perpetual enslavement of African slaves also included their descendants. The justifications that white Americans made for this racial distinction was that the African race was inferior to the white race based on their rationalizations on the skin color, intelligence, and sexuality of the African people. White Americans believed that the African race was "destined by God" to serve them based on the blackness of their skin which they considered an abomination. A stance stated by Oliver Goldsmith in his 1774 volume History of the Earth, "that variations of human color"' are actual marks of the degeneracy in the human for; and we may consider the European figure and colour as standards to which to refer all other varieties, and with which to compare them."' The fact that African babies are born with a white complexion initially gives credence to this viewpoint. Another stance that is rationalized about the enslavement of the African people concerns the intelligence or lack thereof of the African people. It is believed that due to their savagery behavior that they didn't have the necessary intelligence needed to survive within society on their own and that in actuality their enslavement was a benefit that gave them much pleasure. This was declared by South Carolina Governor George McDuffie in 1835 in the following, "the Negroes were ‘"destined by providence"'...
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