The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead book is a fiction which represents the things that were happening in real life. Most of the sections of the sections of the book reflect on examples of how slaves suffered at the hands of fellow black men. The case of Ridgway’s in section three shows how some black men benefited from selling other black men to the plantation owners. Ridgeway was borne, and at the age of fourteen, he was finding a career which he could pursue when he got introduced to the work of capturing the black men who were escaping from plantations and taking them back to their masters. His father, who was a craftsman, never approved this job but Ridgeway still did it together with other young men. This is a kind of betrayal to the slaves on their own who enjoy seeing them suffer in the hands of the whites.
The slaves were mistreated to ensure they never had a chance to form any form of rebellion (Whitehead, and Serge, 27). The farm owners gave them identity cards with a name to make it easy for them to be identified with a specific farm so that they could easily be taken back to when they run away. The slaves were seen as lesser humans by even the blacks who had been given some privileges by the white men. The blacks who were capturing those slaves who had run away never realized that they were mistreating people who they ought to have helped and supported. It was like they were blind and misused the little powers they were given to smash the few things the freedmen possessed and also raped their women.
Black men helped the white men mistreat fellow black men felt like associating with the whites was a privilege. Even the black men who were mistreating others perceived the white men as superior creatures. Ridgeway says that the white men from Europe deserve to privileges despite him having compared them to trash. But he is more assured that they deserve special treatment than the black men. Ridgeway’s father w a craftsman who was making chains for the white men. These chains were also used to hold the slaves. Although he was criticizing his son’s work, he was also working with other black men.
Economic interests were the drivers of white supremacy and brutality to slavery. Slave catcher and those who were used to force slaves to labor were only interested in the profits they would make. They disregarded the human feelings and morality as they prioritized on their gains. This was selfishness of the highest level. They turned black men into the source of income. They disregarded humanity and morality (Bordewich, 45). Those men who had a close association with the white thought they were superior to other slaves. However, they were assured that the white men were better than them; for example, Ridgeway was able to interact with the White men as he was growing. This is the reason he was so cruel to the free slaves. The agents of the white supremacy were just interested in serving their superiors and never thought of how they could help the others. Only those who were not closely associated with the supremacy were able to recognize that they were being misused. Those who were benefiting from the slaves indirectly never considered their cats as evil.
White slave owners made sure African slaves forgot their culture so that they could not have anything that would bring them together. Dividing the Africans and making them care about their interests was a strategy used by the white slave owners to reduce resistance (Bordewich, 45). A divided community would never succeed in planning resistance since some of the slaves who would wish to be friends with the slave owners so that they could get favors would go and report the plans. The slaves were never allowed to have traditional or religious practices. They were punished for using their mother tongue language.
The treatment the African slaves received at the hands of the white slave owners was humiliating. But it was worse being sold to slavery by friends who you share culture and heritage. The slaves never knew any way out of slavery, and some of them would wish they were dead so that they would end their suffering. An example is Ajarry who was captured as a slave since she was young. Every person likes freedom and the love of a family. Slaves were suffering both physically and mentally due to the conditions they were subjected to and the loneliness they experienced since they were not allowed to have good times.
Women suffered more because they were raped by their owners and slave traders. Inhumanity was a way of life that many people would never care about the others. Ajarry was raped when she was being transported in a ship (Whitehead, and Serge, 27). She was raped six times. This was a painful experience to women who were only seen as sex toys. The treatment Ajarry goes through is so harsh. She is separated with the rest of her family members who were sent Bermuda. It was hard to imagine another person going through a similar situation, and she could only imagine they were working for kind masters. These imaginations gave her comfort after she tried to commit suicide. This was the situation slaves in most areas were going through. Lack of humanity is seen when all the slaves are paraded while naked for the buyers to come and buy them.
Whitehead, Colson, and Serge Chauvin. Underground Railroad. Albin Michel, 2017.
Bordewich, Fergus. Bound for Canaan: The underground railroad and the war for the soul of America. Walter de Gruyter, 2005.
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