Slavery and Racism

Good Essays
Jack O’Donnell
Development of Western Civilization
Dr. Carlson
November 17, 2011

Slavery and Racism: Are They One in the Same?

Aphra Behn was an extremely significant and influential English writer in the 1600s. One of her more famous works, Oroonoko, discusses the issues of slavery and racism in the Americas. Many people believe that slavery and racism go hand in hand. In fact, these two ideologies are awfully different. Slavery is the act of forcing humans to be treated property whereas racism is the belief that discrimination based on inherently different traits is justifiable. Behn, in Oroonoko, makes the fundamental differences between slavery and racism apparent. With the philosophical views of Rousseau and Trouillot’s
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He would criticize Behn on her opinion of slavery saying that all men are born and should remain equal (Rousseau). Behn is very passive about her views on slavery where Rousseau is active in his writings. Even though he disagrees with Behn’s view on slavery he still believes slavery and racism are different. Rousseau would not dispute Behn over her view of racism. According to Rousseau, racism contrasts with his view on the rights of man. He believes all men are created equal; race should not be a reason to discriminate. He would also affirm what Behn has to say about the horrible treatment of Oroonoko by the white males throughout the story. They kept deceiving and leading Oroonoko on when they knew he would never be freed. Rousseau would say he should have received better treatment. The color of his skin should not matter in his given situation. Rousseau’s belief on the equality of mankind can be used to critique the works of Behn (Carlson 11/10). Even though there are disagreements between the views Behn and Rousseau, both see that racism and slavery are two different ideas and should be treated separately. The Haitian revolution also witnessed severe racism and slavery. In Haiti, slaves occupied about 85% of the population while the free men only occupied about 15% (Breen 10/31). The sugar plantations needed these slaves to run the production which was a gruesome process. Through this horrible procedure, many people
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