Tag Archives: Race

Week Six

This week’s lecture was a reminder of the horrors that existed during slavery as well as those that still exist today even over a hundred years after its abolishment.

Millions of slaves were captured and transported to the Americas and approximately one million died in transit because of the awful conditions they had to endure. According to the Professor Beasley-Murray, six times more Africans had reached the Americas than Europeans by 1800. I’m still astonished that three million slaves were brought to Brazil and even more so that over half of the Brazilian slaves died within three years of their arrival.

I live in the Midwest of the United States where race is not often acknowledged. Many people believe that a good “solution” is ignoring race or being “colorblind” to race which means completely disregarding heritage, traditions and identities. Closer to Chicago, the after effects of slavery and segregation are extremely prominent. Many more people of color are stopped and sometimes even shot by cops in and around the city than white people. Awareness is growing however, for example the Black Lives Matter movement is becoming more and more active in the Chicago area.

How can we do justice to such histories? We can acknowledge this awful part of history, learn from it, and teach as many people about it as possible so that no such thing is ever repeated again. I am white and therefore benefit from white privilege especially in the United States. I think it’s important to use this privilege to take action for what is right. The lasting effects of discrimination are still prevalent and certainly won’t disappear by ignoring them.

Other examples of unresolved conflicts or tensions include the Holocaust (as mentioned in the lecture). One of my neighbors, Mr. Walter Reed (who unfortunately passed away a few years ago), was a Holocaust survivor. He escaped Nazi Germany when he was a teenager and fled to the USA where he completely changed his identity. It is through people like him that the stories of the Holocaust came to life for following generations to learn about.

Returning to the topic of this week’s lecture, I found it intriguing to consider that the abolishment of slavery didn’t solely come from people in power like Abraham Lincoln, but by the slaves themselves every single time they acted out. I guess I just never questioned what I had been taught when it came to abolition. It’s also interesting to recognize that rights are interpreted differently by different people.