How Slaves Were Made And How we are kept that way
Kenneth Stampp’s helpful description of the slave system and its methodology for producing the ideal slaves (in The Peculiar Institution).
Only as one ponders this is it possible to appreciate the varied ways in which black men and women resisted and eroded all mechanisms for the making of slaves.
Using the documents of the nineteenth-century slave owners, Stampp noted a methodology for creating slaves out of free human beings, for developing servile mentalities from childhood, which could be broken into six related elements.
1.The establishment of strict discipline over the captive African community in order to develop “unconditional submission” among them.
2.The development within black people of a sense of rank inferiority as individuals and as a group, especially in relation to their African ancestry.
3.The development of raw fear, “to awe them with a sense of their master’s enormous power.” (Of course, it was always to be understood that behind the power of the master stood the power of the local and federal governments.)
4.The establishment within the enslaved person of a sense that the master’s welfare was really synonymous with his own, and therefore must be defended and forwarded at all cost.
5.The creation of a willingness within the African-American captives to accept the slaveholders’ standards of conduct as their own.
6.The development within the captive people of “a habit of perfect dependence” upon those who claimed to be their masters.
Oppressed black people turned against their own people for various reasons, but most often to acquire advantages over other members of their phenotype. Once those who are set free have been recognized, rewarded and elevated by the dominant society, they are threatened when other members of their phenotype break free or urge them to re-identify with the group. They become conservatives, and like any good conservative, they accept that there must be some losers in life.
They will do whatever is necessary to maintain the status quo between the phenotypes so long as they personally remain elevated. Black conservatives and Sambo’s want more than anything else to live in the class society where they can escape the stigma of being members of the black phenotype that they themselves are degrading.