Slave Dehumanization By Carla Cisneros

During the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade slaves had to go through a really hard and horrifying mistreat, dehumanization. There were many ways that white men and women would dehumanize a colored slave and they would find the slightest reason to be able to do it, they would literally wait and watch until one of the slaves made a simple mistake so that they could mistreat them. White people would create tools to be able to torture slave and embarrass them in front of others, this was a way of dehumanization and mistreat of slaves. Some of the tools included shackles, masks and collars that sometimes had bells. The shackles were used so that the slave wouldn't be able to escape from the plantation, the masks were used so that the slave wouldn't be able to talk because slave owners thought that slave's words and thoughts were useless. To add on, the collars with the bells were used to prevent again the slave from escaping and if they do ever try to escape then the slave owners would know because the bells are ringing. These tools aren't even half of what the white people used to dehumanize slaves.

Shackles used on slaves
Collar with bells.

Brutal treatment was also an everyday thing to a slave because slaves couldn't defend themselves when they got punished, and if they did defend themselves they would get punished even worse. Slave owners would brutally mistreat slaves because they deserved it, or sometimes just for entertainment. Slaves would get branded so that others could know where the slave belongs to, they would be seen as animals, so the slave owners didn't care if it hurt the slaves or not. Lots of female slaves would be forced to have sex, no matter the age, sometimes even young males. The most common brutality was whipping and there were many ways that the slave owners did the whipping. Slave owners would tie down the slaves and they would whip them until they felt like stopping, other times they would hang the slaves up from a tree from their hands and they would just whip them, or they just hit them without notice. "Some punishments were associated with certain areas. William Wells Brown argues that in Virginia smoked slaves. 'In his fits of anger, he would take up a chair, and throw it at a servant; and in his more rational moments, when he wished to chastise one, he would tie them up in the smoke-house, and whip them; after which, he would cause a fire to be made of tobacco stems, and smoke them.' Moses Roper claimed that in South Carolina they used to "drive nails into a hogshead so as to leave the point of the nail just protruding in the inside of the cask. Into this he used to put his slaves for punishment, and roll them down a very long and steep hill." ( SE, 1) The quote by William Wells states how there were different ways of torture in different places.

At times the owners didn't even have to make a single move to hurt the slaves they just had to keep quiet and keep things from their slaves, such as their real birthdates and their families. Slaves were also dehumanized by things such as keeping their birthdates away from them, this was to make them feel less human and so the slaves wont feel as if they are the same things as the whites. There was such a thing as hurting a slave emotionally, obviously because they were human, and what they would do is separate the slave's families and get sent to places that were far away. Mothers that gave birth wouldn't even be able to breastfeed their own child because they immediately made the mother work as soon as she got better. Lastly the slave owners would change the slave's names every time they got a new slave owner, simple things like this would make the slave less of a human and they would get hurt because of that. "And so the children began to realize, through this impending separation, that they were slaves and that being a slave meant that you could be sold. ... The pathos is, it's profound. They describe scenes of separation in which a mother just throws herself on the ground. She's begging an owner or a trader to keep her with her children, or, 'Just let me keep even one of my children.' " ( NPR, 1) Slaves tried to keep at least one thing of inspiration so that they can have a reason to keep living such as the quote states a mother asks at least for one of her children. This is what kept them strong in all these hard moments.


Created with images by KlausHausmann - "hands handcuffs tied up"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.