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Dehumanization and Slavery

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Caitlyn Peterson

on 1 November 2013

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Transcript of Dehumanization and Slavery

Dehumanization and Slavery
Ways to dehumanize:

As soon as they were out of the womb slave babies were separated from their mothers because it was believed to, “hinder the development of the child's affection towards its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the inevitable result" (Douglass, p. 48).
They would not let slaves know their birthdays or age
They would convince the slaves that they were less than human
Rape-by “breeding” with the women it brought the slaves self esteem down (including men, women and confused children)
The greatest form of dehumanization was not giving the slaves a source to develop literacy or intelligence
Slave holders knew what they were doing by withholding information from the slaves
Woah! Think About it...
children were separated from their mothers and families at a very young age
slaves were fed like animals
slave owners did not provide slaves with proper eating utensils
viewed slaves as “pigs” (livestock)
auctioned off slaves as if they were cattle
constant whippings for acting out or attempting to run away
not always supplied with proper clothing, even during the harsh winters
often overworked; not given enough resting time


“Not only is slavery dehumanizing for the slaves, but for the slaveholders as well. Douglass presents the case of Mrs. Sophia Auld. Before becoming a slaveholder, she is pure, kind, and full of generosity. After becoming a slaveholder, there is an obvious transformation in her disposition. The menacing effects of slavery rob her of all her good qualities.”
Real Life Examples:
“It was put into a large wooden tray or trough, and set down upon the ground. The children were then called, like so many pigs, and like so many pigs they would come and devour the mush; some with oyster-shells, others with pieces of shingle, some with naked hands, and none with spoons. He that ate fastest got most; he that was strongest secured the best place; and few left the trough satisfied (Douglass 12).

“...agents for slave traders, flocked into jail to look at us, and to ascertain if we were for sale… And after taunting us in various ways, they one by one went into an examination of us, with intent to ascertain our value” (Douglass 38).
Open ended question: “When it comes to slavery, we wear it, we eat it, and we drive it.” What point was Frederick Douglas trying to make by stating this quote? What does it imply about the dehumanization of slaves?
This is an important quote when trying to understand the demoralizing aspect of slavery. Whether you are against it or not, we are all involved in the modern ways of slavery. Products that are imported into the United States from other countries such as clothes, rice, tea, beans, rubber and plastic are often made by unpaid ‘workers.’ Even though we are not directly aware of this chain effect, our involvement in slavery is still present because it is an unavoidable part of consumerism that is woven into our lives through the simplest things.
Slavery dehumanizes the slaves themselves, but it also dehumanizes the people partaking in it who allow for it to be an occurrence. Frederick Douglas was implying that the morals are tested of each individual involved with slavery. Rather than standing up to this crisis, many of us allow it to happen. The entirety of this global issue displays the human race as unethical; permitting for our kind to be sold and treated poorly when they have as much right to be treated equally and respectfully as the man selling them for profit. By dehumanizing slaves, we are also dehumanizing ourselves through our nefarious acts.
Lo and behold… the WORKS CITED

"Frederick Douglass and the Dehumanization of Slavery." Great Works MW 5:40 Spring 2013. N.p., 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

"The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Notes on the Dehumanization Themes."BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

"A Look at Slavery in the U.S." N.p., 21 Mar. 2007. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

Datzberger, Simone. "Modern Slavery: Why Dehumanizing the ‘Other’ Concerns All of Us." International Affairs at LSE. London School of Economics, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
The people in the movie mistreat Ralph
They tell him he is not good enough
They say that he is the wrong type of person
They degrade him by saying that he deserves to be at the bottom
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