Servants and Slaves - Essay Example

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Harvey Mudd College
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Critical thinking
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Howard Zinn in Chapter 2 of the Drawing the Color Line posits that racism in America was mainly fueled by the human decision as well as historical forces. Historical forces involved the formulation of an ideology premised on the conventional and traditional way of thought while human decision involves undertaking actions beneficial to an individual rather than to all the humanity. Zinn samples lots of epitomes of slavery that was predominantly in the United States during the early 17th century. The United States actively participated in slave trade while racism was widespread across states. According to Zinn, racism in America was as a result of political, economic and social systems established by the elite colonizers. Zinn gives a narration of the horrible truths of slavery, racism as well as origins of the ancient America. It details on the slave trade, how it occurred as well as the numerous conflicts that resulted from the slave trade. A starving nation as well as low labor to work on the fields in the 17th century created room for slavery. However, the fact that they had no guns gave the whites an upper hand, and they made the blacks fight against themselves. To grow food, corn, and tobacco, the Virginians enslaved the blacks as African slavery was an ongoing and booming business. According to Zinn, American slavery was among one of the worst forms of slavery of the century. About 50 million Africans perished out of death and cruel slavery. However, where the whites and blacks interlocked with unified problems, standard work, a common enemy in their master, they would tend to work as equals. The fear that the discontented whites would team up with black slaves and overhaul the existing order was indeed a nightmare to the colonizers. The sense of white superiority was engraved in the society. The blacks were brain washed, stripped off their culture, land, dress, customs as well as family relations. It thus became essential to establish a system of equality where the black would be considered equal to the whites.

The Middle Passage

Ideally, this is the second narrative and was outsourced from Chapter 2 of the Interesting Narrative. The Middle Passage talks about the journey to slave land through the vast seas and gives an account of the suffering that captives underwent as they were shipped to slave area. The experiences of the young Equiano who happened to be on board on the slave ship during their voyage from Africa to the New World. The Equiano passage was located between West Africa and the Caribbean island of Barbados. During their voyage, there was a stench which emanated from the passengers on board, and it was so immense that they had to remain on the deck for fresh air. The climatic conditions and the clumsiness of the rooms almost suffocated the slaves! Moreover, the slaves got sick, and many of them gave up the fight of their lives and died painfully! The hunger strike, the groans of the hungry, crying and dying infants added to their misery! The narrator was placed on the decks. The slaves longed for freedom, something which seemed like a distant wind! Fellow countrymen who attempted to escape were dragged back, and frog marched back to their slavery. The writer posits that some of his comrades tried jumping off from the ship to the seas. However, the ship crew quickly stopped the ship to chase after the defecting members attempting to elope! The most active members including the narrator were immediately put under the deck, and a stampede quickly arose amongst the people sailing in the ship. The next move was to move the ship to chase after the slaves who had broken away. Two of them drowned while one was captured and dragged back mercilessly. The captive was then punished for attempting to force his way out of slavery. Such actions were detrimental to the whole group as the attempt of few to escape led to the addition of punishment of the group as a whole to warn those with similar intentions not to have even a hint of following the same direction. The narrator craving for freedom was severely in need of returning to his former land. Looking at the sky, he realized that he was in a new foreign land, another world of its own and everything seemed magical. Finally, the shipped docked at the Barbadoes Island where the whites on board joyfully welcomed the new recruits.'

Work Cited

DeCosta-Willis, Miriam. "Meditations on history: The middle passage in the Afro-Hispanic literary imagination." Afro-Hispanic Review (2003): 3-12.

Zinn, Howard. "Drawing the color line." nd), http://www. wodd-freeinternet. net/archive/arc9. htm (1980).

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