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Shades of Freedom, "The Precept of Inferiority" and "The Anc
Transcript of Shades of Freedom, "The Precept of Inferiority" and "The Anc
What is a "precept"?
a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought; a principle, canon, doctrine, or command.
The Precept of the Stoplight
American Identity and the Precept Black Inferiority
"The circumstances of the birth of nations deeply affect their development.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville
• Along with its dedication to the principles of human freedom and equality, the U.S. was born out of its dedication to the doctrine of white supremacy—
“The doctrine of white supremacy and its corollary precept of black inferiority made us who we were a very short time ago and, inevitably, who in part we still are today.” (p. 8)
Black inferiority becomes the law of the land without ever being written into the Constitution or the American legal system.
1.) 1619-1662—the legal process presumed, without defining, the precept of black inferiority.
2.) 1662- 1830s—the legal process carefully defined and, when necessary, ruthlessly enforced a precept which before then it had taken for granted.
3.) 1830s- end of the Civil War (1865)—the legal process defended and protected from attacks the crumbling institution of slavery and the precept of black inferiority
4.) Beginning during Reconstruction (1865)—the legal process attempted unsuccessfully to break free from the legacy of the precept of black inferiority.
4 Stages of the Precept of Black Inferiority:
- Plessy v. Ferguson
(“separate but equal”) encourages the precept of black inferiority to hide in the interstitial (gaps in between spaces filled with matter) spaces of the law
- Brown v. Board of Education--
attempts to eradicate the precept of black inferiority from the interstitial spaces.
- Africans are brought to the Americans against their will—unlike most indentures who volunteered.
- The English made negative associations with the word “Black”
- Blacks were “heathens” and therefore inferior to the English Christians.
Initial precepts of inferiority:
Ancestry of Inferiority
1) Establish white superiority
2) Establish black inferiority
3) Enforce the notions publicly
4) Enforce the notions by way of theology
Four essential steps in the first stage of establishing the precept of black inferiority:
The Doll Test
1662 Va law:
“WHEREAS some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should be slave or ffree, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ ffornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act (Hening 1809–23 Vol 2:170).”