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And once the black skin ancestry was linked to slavery, racism took on a power of its own and continued unabated even when slavery came to an end.
However, they were not enslaved even in the Deep Southern states where slavery was defended vociferously.
In fact, it would have been cheaper to have enslaved these Europeans than to spend money to buy and transport black slaves from Africa.
Slavery developed for over four centuries into a major industry especially in the US that, in the 18 century, drove and powered the world economy.
Owners of large properties in the colonial era only wanted profit and would have enslaved anybody to increase their revenue, irrespective of their origin or colour.
If it is a given that the main function of racism is to deny some people equal access to resources, then it is apt to intensify radically when the authority instituted by slavery is disputed, as happened in the United States when slavery was abolished.
The struggle against and later the abolition of slavery did not lead to a race-free social order.Racism has its origins in the very beginning of the human society as there has always been prejudice, fear and hatred towards people who are different in their colour or place of origin.Ruth Benedict was one of the first scholars to define racism in her book thus: “the dogma that one ethnic group is condemned by nature to congenital inferiority and another group is destined to congenital superiority”.The Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 served to change the basis of slavery from one founded on economic standing to one based on the colour of the skin.This is because of the divide and rule policy of the owners who wished to subdue the rebellion by isolating the poor whites from the Africans thus preventing the united strength of the two labour forces.In fact, slaves in Greece were deemed as barbarians and could belong to any race.The ancient Greeks and Romans knew nothing about race.They had another standard – civilized and barbarian – and you could have white skin and be a barbarian, and you could be black and civilized.During the 17 century, there was a great inflow of poor white people from Europe who came to America to work as indentured servants: there was not only a great rise in the population of Europe, there was also a move to relocate people who were considered to be undesirable in their own country such as vagabonds, convicts, dissenters, poor or prisoners of war.Slavery not only originated in ancient countries such as Greece and Rome, it was first institutionalised by Greece and later spread to other civilizations.When slaves were freed, they then mixed with the general population and enjoyed rights as any of the other citizens.