What Slavery left to the modern Society?

In order to address the impact of slavery in today’s society, it is important to address why slavery happened in the first place. Among the most common arguments in support of slavery in the colonial era include the fact that it was a way of life and it led to the economic development of most world powers. Individuals who defend the act look at it as something that was inevitable, where it was used to provide the much-needed labor for economic development. While this may have some truth on the surface of it, the underlying reason for slavery has everything to do with superiority. Slavery was not just started because of the need for economic development. Rather, it was a vice that was tamed from the need for superiority, where the white race saw a vulnerable people and decided to exploit them. Hence, one can infer that racism was an integral aspect of slavery.

Racism, which was the subconscious reason for slavery, is still very much alive in today’s society. It is a direct repercussion of the need for one race to become superior to another. Slavery bore the seeds for racism in the society today. It provide a sense of entitlement for individuals belonging to a superior race and created an inferiority complex among those people who belonged to a marginalized race. The lines that were drawn between black and white begun in the days of slavery, where generations grew up with the notion that this is the manner in which the two races are supposed to co-exist. The same explains why black people have to fight for their freedom and rights through powerful movement. The white superiority ideology was already created and gave one race a powerful position over the other, which is still being showcased in the society today.

Many people would like to believe that racism ended when slavery was abolished and black people fought for their rights in different movements. However, the reality is that racism, which is a direct result of slavery, is still rampant today. It is showcased through racial profiling, the lack of equity when it comes to the distribution of resources, and schools that still showcase segregation. Take, for instance, the case of Tyre King, a 13-year-old who was shot by the police when he reached for his BB gun. The police assumed he was armed and dangerous because of his skin color, when in fact he was just a harmless young man. The shooting brought an outrage in the public over what many termed as police profiling. Protesters opined that a young black man cannot walk in the neighborhood with a particular dress code or with their hands in their hood pockets because they are assumed to be armed. The protests brought back days when young black men feared the streets because they could not walk without being gunned down by the police. Unfortunately, the case of Tyre King is not the only one that has been in the limelight recently. There are similar shootings of unarmed black teenagers such as Michael Brown in the media, a situation that has sparked a black lives matter campaign and raised questions about racism. In most of these cases, the conclusion has always been that the police would not have shot the young men had they been white and reached into the pockets of their hoods to retrieve a toy gun. The situation thus sheds light on the racism that is still apparent in the society today, where blacks are still regarded in the very stereotypes that come with being inferior to white superiority.

Photo Credits; BBC worldwide

Slavery had a direct impact on the classism system that is still very apparent in the society today. Slavery brought about the ill-treatment of African Americans that was manifested in a society that is divided into classes. The system still exist today in all facets of life, where it is felt in the political, social, and economic demographics. In the argument about reparations, proponents posit that slavery lessened any chance that African Americans had of being competitive. They have to work twice as hard to be at the same level with their white counterparts because opportunities are not available to everyone in the society today. For this reason, African Americans still account for most of the poverty in the United States, given that the unemployment percentage among them stands at 13%.

African Americans and other minorities are at the bottom of the income percentile while their white counterparts remain at the middle-class and upper level. The rationale is that opportunities have always belonged to the superior race from the days of slavery. Even after slavery was abolished, it proved difficult to find a balance in which African Americans would still get the opportunities afforded to the former, and the same struggle is still present today. Take, for instance, the education sector. Segregation is believed to be something of the past that was abolished in the decision in Brown v. Education Board. However, as Lauren Camera says, “But not only do students of color and poor students often lack equal opportunities, segregation, it turns out, is still alive and well. The segregation is experienced in the fact that poor schools, which are often dominated by African American students, lack the resources that would enable effective learning. There are still schools that have a 75% population of black students and others with a population of 90% white, mainly private schools that have vast opportunities for students. Research indicated that blacks and Hispanic students are dominant in poverty-stricken schools that seem to be forsaken by their districts. Such raises issues about the impact of racism and slavery, which brought about this need for classism that is still alive today.

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Photo credits; USN

Had American been founded on better principles, equality would have prevailed. However, slavery brought about the ideals that one race has to be superior over another, which thus brought about the current disparities being experienced by African Americans and minorities as well. Even though recent years have seen the rise in the number of African Americans who hold powerful position and are well-endowed financially, the same can be traced to their personal efforts as opposed to what the system created for them. Most of the African American tycoons are singers, actors, and sportsmen. Such aspects appear to be among the few avenues individuals in this cohort can excel, as opposed to their white counterparts who have a sense of entitlement that was created by the vice of slavery.

All in all, slavery and its effect are still being felt today through acts of racism and the classism that exist in the society. Even as the world become more prosperous, there is no denying that modern slavery is a concern, and it is one that has its foundations on the roots the society built decades ago.