Summary’s excerpt:

According to bell hooks in her first chapter of Ain’t I a Woman, it is necessary to analyze the intersectionality between racism and gender during the 19th century for an understanding of the Black Female slave experience. Sexism was a European construction and ideology brought to the US. At first, colonizers prioritized black male slaves as the main labor power for their higher economic value. Because of gender imbalance, white women were asked to have relations with them to get more laborers. Then, in 1664 the first anti-amalgamation law, which banned interracial relationships, resulted in more frequent captures of black women slaves. They represented a large minority on ships. These included not only the ones sold because of the tribes’ disobedience but also some important tribeswomen used to attract more black males. Indeed, by observing African societies where women worked in agricultural fields, European-Americans saw the opportunity to use them as a plantation workforce. In contrary to black male slaves who were in chains by fear of uprisings or rebellion, black women were considered as submissive, obedient and powerless by white male traders, which at the same time made them vulnerable to any psychological and/or physical torture while on board. Each slave had to be branded with a hot iron. In the case of clamor, they were lashed.

During the transatlantic, all traumatic experiences – acts of violence, beatings, rapes – were aimed at reinforcing white male power over black bodies and beings, to transform individuals into docile and inferior people to work on American plantations. This dehumanization and acculturation process – by removals of names, cultures, languages, identities – served to make them obedient to a new rule. Moreover, the terrorism and brutalization of black females, for instance, the violent experiences of childbearing, were crucial as they worked surrounded closely by white folks. The new status given to white women in the 19th century caused a paradigm shift. From perverted in the Victorian era they became idealized. As a result, the power dynamics of patriarchal and sexist politics of that time exposed black women as an ideal target for sex exploitation by mainly white males.

Despite the violence imposed on black slave females, pro- and anti-slavery white women commonly agreed to sympathize with white men and encouraged them to stop sexual intercourse with jezebel. Not only white women, who recently gained more privilege, did not protect Black women from white males but also from black male slaves, who also raped them. Breeding was another form of exploitation of black women. The more children they got, the more they could except in rewards – food, goods or more money. Of course, so many forced pregnancies caused many miscarriages and deaths that again had severe consequences on slaves’ psychological state. […]

Publié par :Julie