Racism and the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

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Examining Prevalent Attitudes on Racism and the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

When we look at the issue of racism from a politically correct, nineties perspective, evidence of the oppression of black people may be obscured by the ways in which our society deals with the inequalities that still exist. There are no apparent laws that prohibit or limit opportunities for blacks in our society today, yet there is a sense that all things are not fair and equal. How can we acknowledge or just simply note how past ideologies are still perpetuated in our society today? We can examine conditions of the present day in consideration of events in the past, and draw correlations between old and modern modes of …show more content…

Douglass had the unusual privilege of receiving the beginnings of an education from the wife of one of his masters, Mrs. Auld. Her lessons were cut short when she was discovered by her husband who, "forbade her. . . telling her it was unsafe to teach a slave to read . . . because he would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master". From this experience, Douglass learned that education was his "pathway from slavery to freedom". In essence, the act of keeping the black man ignorant was "the white man's power to enslave the black man"(Douglass 1776).

Africans were brought to America for one purpose; to serve as the work force that would complete the labor needed to develop the land for American profits. Slaves did not receive monetary compensation for their labor. In fact, slaves received in minimum the amount of food, clothes and shelter necessary to survive. Therefore, slaves were completely dependent upon their masters. If a slave did happen to escape from his plantation, he was subjected to survival in the wild, with the constant fear of being captured by bounty hunters. While working for Mr. Gardner in his shipyard, Douglass witnessed the attitudes of whites who refused to work with the freemen blacks. The white carpenters thought "that if free colored carpenters were encouraged, they would take the trade into their own hands, and poor white men would be thrown out of

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