Racial Inequality By Phillis Wheatley

Decent Essays

The racial inequality in the US in the 18th and 19th century is a commonly discussed topic around the world. The US’s racial hierarchy –a social pyramid– reflects the belief that some social groups are viewed as superior whereas others are looked at as inferior. People having white skin and the most power and influence at the same time are at the top of the social pyramid. The inferiors, mainly black slaves, are far down at the hierarchy’s bottom. Phillis Wheatley’s poem On being brought from Africa to America broaches the issue showing the inequality between black slaves and white people. The racial hierarchy in the history of American society incorporates an exceedingly asymmetrical association of power. In the beginning of the poem the …show more content…

One factor that has to be taken into account while looking at the racial inequality in the US is power. The power imbalance is very high in a process called oppression (Feagin 21). White slave holders had full control over their black slaves, more precisely you can say that they could force blacks to do whatever they wanted them to do (Feagin 21). Thus, blacks were not allowed to carry their lives in their own hands, making almost no decisions on their own (Feagin 21). Moreover, this means that black people did not have any privileges in any situations of their enslaved lives. This was completely withheld for the whites located on top of the pyramid (Feagin 22). Therefore, slaves were oppressed and exploited and slave-owners had a lock on the slaves’ lives. Thus, blacks were excluded from public accommodations, housing, school, political life, health care and even churches (Feagin 22). It is also partly picked up in Wheatley’s poem: “Some view our sable race with scornful eye, / ‘Their colour is a diabolic die’” (Wheatley 5-6). So this is also a factor which proves that they are

Get Access