- oD 50.50
Race, ethnicity and belonging
The status of ‘slave’ has been inescapably linked to questions of race and racism since at least the late fifteenth century. The transatlantic slave trade set in motion a process through which slave, and the stigma attaching therein, were bound to Africa and Africans in European imaginations. European pretensions to moral ‘superiority’ were in turn codified and justified through a pseudoscience of race that emerged and flourished from the eighteenth century onwards. This ‘scientific racism’ asserted the existence of distinct and hierarchically ordered ‘types’ of human being, then racialised people from Africa as ‘black’ and encoded blackness with the dirt, dishonour, and dependency attributed to slaves. The history of transatlantic slavery is thus powerfully entwined with: 1) the emergence of the idea that race creates impermeable borders between flesh and blood human beings in terms of their capacities, moral worth and rights; and 2) a very specific form of antiblack racism. Read on...