• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Trace the growth and development of ideas on 'race' from the slave trade era to the late 1970s. How were such ideas used and what purpose if any did they/do they serve?"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Angie Kay November 2003 SOCI 223 The Black Presence "Trace the growth and development of ideas on 'race' from the slave trade era to the late 1970s. How were such ideas used and what purpose if any did they/do they serve?" Without examining the past, our views today would be shallow and misleading. In making comparisons it is important to look at aspects of history to provide a more in depth understanding of certain social phenomenon. As comparisons are made, ideas emerge which can raise our levels of such understanding. In this way, by examining the meaning of race two hundred years ago, we can discover that the concept of 'race' has evolved; it has changed over time and remains ever changing. Concepts like 'race' demand us to study broader social structures and their interaction with smaller social life; in order to do this, we must understand history. Before beginning to discuss ideas on 'race' and how they have changed over time, it is important to acknowledge the problematic nature of the term 'race'. Cox (1948) states that there is no universally accepted definition of race. However, in a sociological context, Cox defines race as "any group of people that is generally believed to be, and generally accepted as, a race in any given area of ethnic competition" (1948:319) Racial Ideology refers to a set of ideas which relate to 'race', in the way of actions and consequences, for example, distinguishing between more than one so called race to deem one superior. Ideas about race and racism assume particular condition i.e. ...read more.

Middle

Black Slaves were not treated as equals, which led to the thinking that racism was born out of the slave trade. However, slavery was not the result of racism, but rather the other way around. Throughout this era, British law was constantly changing and in many ways reflected ideas on race at that time. Walvin (1973) refers to 1677, as the Slave Trade began to grow; the Solicitor General was faced with the Acts of Trade, and defining where the African slaves fitted into it. In his opinion, in order to justify the treatment of African slaves whilst travelling the Atlantic, the Africans would have to be regarded as goods and commodities, commonly known as 'Chattel'. It was from this early legislation that the dehumanisation of the African slaves began. Similarly, in 1783, a court case concerning the compensation wanted for the black slaves lost during the transatlantic journey on the ship 'Zong'. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, refused the compensation and justified the huge death toll of the African slaves due to drowning as 'in the same sense as if horses had also been thrown overboard'. This gave legal approval for labelling African slaves as animals. It is clear that by 1789 the dehumanisation process was complete as hostility and brutalisation towards the black Africans grew as a result of the large numbers who had settled in Britain. In order to legitimise the way in which the Africans were being treated, they were newly defined as 'ignorant beasts'. Racial discrimination and exploitation of the most sickening form were not only used to enhance economic growth, but were also used as political tools to influence the legal system and the masses. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also offers an example of how these ideas can change so dramatically over long periods of time. During the Slave Trade, prejudice was supported by great interest and began to grow and become customary. People became unreasonable in their very reasoning as a result of racist ideologies which had that very purpose; They encouraged thoughts which today would be considered foul and dark, and emotions which would be considered brutal and debased. Rex (1986) stated that "The pith of this ideology is not so much that coloured people are inferior, as that they must remain inferior" (Rex 1986:357) i.e. Black people should be have no rights, no status, no function and no mobility. But was this type of racism socially constructed to serve a purpose; economic success? There became an increased anxiety about the growth of the black population in England and how it would threaten the purity of English blood. But by 1760s, intellectual arguments were formulated against black slavery and in the nineteenth century Britain became proud of its role in supporting black freedom, forgetting the role they had played in black oppression and exploitation. The decades after the abolition of the slave trade saw the emergence of new ideas on race, including a scientific approach and the emphasis on equality and the right to be different. The way in which a change in ideas and broader ideologies can affect many aspects of social life is particularly evident as today we find constant emphasis on equality in our everyday lives, regarding rights, status, function and mobility, just what the black population were deprived of in Britain centuries ago. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics essays

  1. Why has GDP growth been so slow in Somalia?

    to accommodate it. If two rural communities merge, or migrate to a more urban area, fewer schools and hospitals would need to be built. It could be argued that fixed costs spread over a larger number of people would lower the per capita costs of public services.

  2. Compare and contrast the levels of economic development in the regions of Europe and ...

    their products and subsidized their exports, which increases competitiveness for their products. This policy is highly controversial as it hampers free trade worldwide (protectionism sparks protectionism from other countries and trade blocs: the concept of trade wars) and is violating the concept of 'fair trade'.15 Africa's economy is more reliant on primary products (i.e, agricultural and mineral)

  1. Where does the World Trade Organisation fit in the overall scheme of international public ...

    The WTO, however, like political life in general, is more complicated than that; there is another, more vexing side to the WTO story. Alarm bells toll on the following counts: standards harmonisation; legalisation; and politicisation. Let us take each in turn.

  2. Was late Victorian Imperialism purely economic in character?

    Lenin concludes that the rise of Capitalism is the factor that had determined imperialism. In fact that imperialism, was merely a stage in Capitalism. He argued using Marxist ideology, that by the 1870s the rise of Capitalism had caused the scramble for colonies.

  1. European background to the scramble for Africa (1850 to 1900)

    in Egypt, merchants poured in * As in most other African countries the pursuit of legitimate commerce led to legitimate commerce led to colonialism * In 1768 the Scottish adventurer James Bruce visited Ethiopia and found its riches, but when he returned to Europe was not taken seriously * Mungo

  2. Free essay

    Globalisation and changing career patterns

    This has been a negative perception of this industry in recent years. However, the call centre is now moving away from the basic, mundane transactions to one that has the potential to interact and sit at the heart of customer relationship management (Durbin, 2004).

  1. International Trade - I have been asked to investigate the possibility of a company ...

    The expansion of David Lloyd's will help the world know that this is one off the best gyms around. The gym in Brussels will continue the expansion of David Lloyd Leisure and this will be the first mainland European club.

  2. A Comparison Of The Path Of Development In

    benefits from the establishment of a colony in New France that Britain was receiving from its thirteen colonies. The responsibility for fulfilling this vision was given to the company. Economically the two objectives: trade and colonialization, were opposed to each other.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work