This post on Chapter 3 of Nell Painter’s book, The History of White People, is part of an online book chat sponsored by the Beyond Black and White Facebook discussion group. For more information on the book and the Beyond Black and White book club, follow this link.
Many thanks to Simone L. Brickers, for the following summary and discussion prompt:
Chapter 3White SlaveryNell Irvin Painter wrote, “A notion of freedom lies at the core of the American idea of whiteness.”During the eleventh century Dublin was Europe’s largest slave market as Vikings slave traders fueled the slave trade. The over arching implication for white slavery was dictated by the demand for labor in the fields on sugar plantations. The history of white slavery fails to include incidents of brutality, poverty, or disenfranchisement at least no mention of abusive treatment was highlighted; however, the suggestion that people enslaved were different was implied. John Wintrop, governor of Massachusetts, proclaimed that, “…mankind as in all times some must be rich, some poor, and some high and eminent in power and dignity, others mean and in subjection according to God Almighty.” The social justification for slavery appears rooted within the Anglo-Saxon Christian belief of hierarchal order… White slaves were primarily convicts those identified as socially unacceptable…With this said, can you wrap your heads around white people being slaves?Do you think that white slavery can compare to black slavery?Does it appear that white slavery encroached upon the lives of whites people in ways making it challenging for them retain human dignity?