Color Complex Essay

753 Words Mar 31st, 2008 4 Pages
The “Color Complex” and It’s Persisting Effects on the Black Community
As African Americans came to the United States the “color complex” was implemented upon them by their white captors. The “color complex” became a means for which white slave owners could divide and conquer their black slaves. With black slaves outnumbering whites on many southern colonies as well as in many of the Caribbean islands, such as Haiti, whites realized that they needed to divide their captors against each other. Through this system of separation based on color and physical features, white conquerors were able to impose on Blacks throughout the New World a “color complex” which plagues Blacks, especially in the United States, to this day. In this paper
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The hair, was a means for African people to express their heritage, marital status, tribe, age, wealth and even religion. “Nappy” hair, as it is referred to in the American context, was necessary in continental Africa as it was a means to keep the sun off as well as insulate their heads. As Africans were taken to the colonies much of that tradition was lost as time to do hair was lost along with many of the other notions of African beauty. This is the beginning of the color complex.
As slaves came to the states they became property to the white slave owners. The white slave owners believed that they could do with their slaves as they wished to. This notion of property, a dehumanizing act, lead to slave owners fathering nearly half of their slave children. This lead to a diversity in features within the slave community, many Black slaves began having more white features. The white slave owners saw this as a problem; the solution to their problem came in instituting the one drop rule. This meant that anyone who had just one drop of African blood was Black. White slave owners looked at this as an opportunity to divide the Black slave community while at the same time maintaing “purity” within the upper class slave owning elite.
The opportunity for white slave owners to divide the slave class was by inviting slaves with more white characteristics into the “Big House” to do household, less physically
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