Degler (1959) in his article, Slavery and the Genesis of American Race Prejudice emphasizes the point that the white man’s prejudice against the Negros did not have its beginning during slavery, but was already carved out in a system that relegated the black people to a class…
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Degler in this statement puts a halt to the discussion on what came first between slavery and discrimination and asserts that slavery evolved from the continued discrimination of the Negro by the white man, partly because there were no structures to protect Negros in America. Consequently, slavery evolved as a legal status and an epitome to discrimination. Degler seeks to differentiate the difference in the treatment of Negros in the Spanish and Portuguese Iberian region to that of the British. He explains that the major differences were that while the former had already fixed legal status to deal with the Negro even before they ventured into America, the same structures lacked in British territories. Secondly, Degler explains that the “the discrimination against the negro antedated the legal status of slavery” (Degler 52). These were the main facts that differentiated British treatment of the Negros from the Spanish and the Portuguese.
Degler in his argument makes a clear statement that slavery in the North American region left a considerably different mark on the status of Negros compared to the South American region, which according to Degelr explains the current cases of racism in America. Degelr asserts that as Handlin asserted, before the seventeenth century, the term slavery was not in use. However, Degler is fast to clarify that the fact that the discriminatory name did not exist does not indicate there was similar treatment between the Negro and the freeman. The gradual slipping of the Negro into slavery marked a period when institutions were being developed to establish a discriminatory status that led to slavery. This was particularly observed in the great variations in the nature of slavery across the British North America, “the important point is that from the 1630s up until slavery clearly appeared in the statutes in the 1660s; the negroes were being set a part compared to the treatment accorded to Englishmen,
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