Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Slavery was all about the economics

Published:Friday | August 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM


In his article appearing in The Sunday Gleaner of July 29, Orville Taylor writes 'Slavery was a deliberate attempt to strip an entire race of its humanity, instilled self-hate, and institutionalise a sick sort of sado-masochism among black people'. Really? I doubt six.

Almost certainly the overriding motivation behind the enslavement of Black Africans by Europeans was economic. When the Americas were discovered by Europeans, the Europeans recognised that there were vast opportunities for economic development. But a crucial problem was obvious. Who would do

the work, initially of development, and thereafter of exploiting the opportunities that had been created? Especially in the subtropical and tropical regions the indigenous populations were clearly not capable of providing the labour that would be required. Unfortunately for the West Africans, they seemed to fit the bill. They were accustomed to a climate that was hot and humid, and they were physically robust. Furthermore, in terms of intellectual development they were approximately 2,000 to 3,000 years behind most of the Middle East and Europe and, as a consequence, were easy pickings.

So why does Mr Taylor introduce such notions as those mentioned above in the first paragraph? Almost certainly because he sees such traits in those persons around him and is anxious to blame someone else for their problems. But I doubt if the Europeans buying or selling slaves or engaging in the slave-trade ever gave a thought to the motives mentioned by Mr Taylor. Their overriding concern was to generate a profit one way or the other.

Brian Sale