Colonial and Post-Colonial Mentalities in the Middle Passage

1095 Words Jun 20th, 2018 5 Pages
One of the most baffling aspects of European interest in African people is the civilizations collective distaste of and fascination with people of African descent. The initial journey into Africa, and the planning that preceded it, spawned many of the most enlightening theories about African people. These theories, usually in support of African savagery and inferiority and in favor of European superiority and civility were based in the colonial mentalities of that time. Of the most notable theories is the idea that African religious system was pagan and that African people were inferior because of their darker skin pigmentation and “beast-like” nature. These theories dispersed rapidly across the globe, and even today people of …show more content…
Such, as collectively known, was the initial rationale upon which colonialism was executed. Proponents of colonialism, more importantly the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, used the inferiority of Africans to advance the cause of slavery and the acquisition of African slaves. Africans were cattle: something merely to be herded, transported, and disciplined if they didn't do what they were told or if they acted contrary to the intention of their master. This is evident throughout the Middle Passage, especially in regard to captain Falcon for he held a specific chagrin for the Almuseri. Calhoun states, “A woman pitched her baby overboard…At least two men tried to follow , straining against their chains, and this…brought out the worst in falcon…he beat them until blood came” (Johnson 66). Like many masters, Falcon felt obliged to discipline his slaves in whipping; this helped to draw the distinction between owner and property, European and African, Master and Slave, Superior and inferior.

In addition to highlighting many of the colonial ideologies and mentalities of that time, the Middle Passage also presents Rutherford Calhoun as a middle man between the Almuseri and the Europeans on The Republic. This post-colonial perspective plays out in the idea that although Calhoun is of a lighter complexion, he is no longer wholly African, but he isn't European either. His position is determined by how he relates to the people around him—his shipmates and the
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