The Story We Tell: Pre-viewing Activity

Please answer BOTH of the following questions prior to our viewing Episode Two: The Story We Tell

> How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?

> Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?

25 thoughts on “The Story We Tell: Pre-viewing Activity

  1. How long do you think the idea of race has been around ? The ancient Greeks did not identify people based on race, they were categorized based on class, religion and language. The English language had not used the word race until around year 1508. Where did race come from ? The U.S economy relied heavily on slaves to perform work in an undignified manner. Racism justified white superiority in the United States and racially related laws and practices were implemented in American society.
    2. I believe Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved, this lead them to be generalized and stereotyped resulting in a stigma difficult to remove. This harmed their job prospects and caused discrimination for decades.

  2. 1.) I think race has been around for centuries, since the United States existance. The term is mostly used to categorize people with the same cultural backgrounds. This includes their language, religions, physical attributes, and more. Since many people of different ethnicities came to America as servant and slaves, the US government used the term race categorize people based off of their physical attributes and their geographic origin.

    2.) I think that Africans are deemed as inferior because they were enslaved.

  3. How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    although id imagine this is hard to pinpoint exactly. i think the idea of race in a big way started during European colonization so about mid 15th or 16th century . From what i know it was around this time that we start to see the classification of people based on race mostly by the Europeans. I think it was a way of dividing the people to make them easier to conquer as well as destroying other races ideas of self identity. I’m sure there might of been references about skin color early but probably not with negative intentions.
    > Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    I think they were deemed inferior because they were enslaved. I think it becomes easier for one group of people to commit atrocities on another if that oppressed group is deemed inferior and/or subhuman. I think the elite of Europe and america as well as the rest of the world knew that Africans were not inferior because they knew who created the pyramids, early forms of architecture, language and mathematics. As well as where Aristotle, Plato and Alexander the great were all taught(in Africa). So to me its clear the inferior branding had to come because of reasons to justify enslavement. it something Europeans also did to Indians or indigenous peoples by called them savages and beastly so they could justify genocide and stealing of land.

  4. According to the background reading found on http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-09.htm
    Race in a recent invention and many scholars have declared that the real meaning of race in American society has to do with social realities, quite distinct from physical variations in the human subspecies. This reading was very informative in terms of history of slavery. The author of this article believes that “race was institutionalized beginning on the 18th century as a worldwide, a set of culturally created attitude and beliefs about human group differences.”
    I always thought that African were the only race enslaved, but I found out that Irish and Indians were also enslaved. “The first people that the English tried to enslave and place on plantations were the Irish with whom they had had hostile relations since the 13th century…..Most of the slaves on English plantations in Barbados and Jamaica were Irish and Indians.” Also, “In the latter part of the 17th century the demand for labor grew enormously. It had become clear that neither Irishmen nor Indians made good slaves…Until the 18th century the image of Africans was generally positive. They were farmers and cattle-breeders; they had industries, arts and crafts, governments and commerce. In addition, Africans had immunities to Old World diseases. They were better laborers and they had nowhere to escape to once transplanted to the New World. The colonists themselves came to believe that they could not survive without Africans.” So in my opinion, Africans were better workers than the Irish and Indians, hence became the first choice to be picked for plantation work. I think Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved.

  5. 1. I think the idea of race has been around since before Christ. It didn’t become known as “race” until America started to enslave Africans. Humans always find a way to break into classes and take advantage of those who have less or are different. I think race came from the moment two different cultures met and one started to classify the other as inferior.

    2. Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved. We are talking about people that hunt lions and kill zebras with their bare hands to eat and survive. They never felt or were inferior until America started enslaving them.

  6. > How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    While individuals from various locales around the globe did exceptionally regard bloodline before the fifteenth century, it was more about having prestigious precursors than the shade of one’s skin. While there was an attention to being socially or religiously predominant, race truly didn’t exist. The race is natural when it is all of a sudden, not a few individuals living far away, but rather a few people living where you do.
    > Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    I think Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved.

  7. 1. I think the the term race been around since the trans atlantic slave trade and the colonization of Africa. This term i believe came from the Europeans as a way to refer to people whom aren’t their native citizens. Prior to this time, people were labeled regarding to their status or class and the amount of wealth they had.

    2. I strongly believe that they were deemed inferior because they were enslaved. I believe they became slaves because they were strong and hard workers. Being slaves created a stigma of poor workers of no class or status whom were not fit to be with the free.

  8. I think race, the way we see it, has existed since the colonization of what is now The United States. Before that I think people saw each other as being part of the same “Region”, but the idea of Black/White/Other is a construct of America (North and South).

    Before slavery became a legal institution in The US there was indentured servitude that consisted of poor people of every “race”. The idea of Africans being inferior is a result of slavery, in my opinion. It is easy to say a group of people are not as smart as another group if the first group is banned from learning. Even with the prohibition of reading/writing enslaved people we able to accomplish huge things and become a major part of society again.

  9. According to the background reading found on
    http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_03-godeeper.htm
    How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    Race is a modern idea – it hasn’t always been with us. In ancient times, language, religion, status, and class distinctions were more important than physical appearance. In America, a set of specific historical circumstances led to the world’s first race-based slave system. The concept of race did not originate with science. Ideas and definitions of race have changed over time, depending on social and political climate. Historically, racial categories were not neutral or objective. Groups were differentiated so they could be excluded or disadvantaged, often in explicit ways.

    Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    In colonial America, Africans weren’t enslaved because they were thought to be inferior. On the contrary, they were valued for their skill as farmers and desired for their labor. Planters had previously tried enslaving Native Americans, but many escaped and hid among neighboring tribes or were stricken by diseases brought to the New World by Europeans. After several decades, African slaves began arriving in the U.S. and worked side by side with indentured servants. Many played together, intermarried, and ran away together. Racial categories were fluid, and slavery was not yet codified into law. After the system of indentured servitude proved unstable, planters turned increasingly to African slavery and began writing laws to divide Blacks from whites. Coincidentally, African slaves became more available at this time. Poor whites were given new entitlements and opportunities, including as overseers to police the slave population. Over time, they began to identify more with wealthy whites, and the degradation of slavery became identified more and more with Blackness.

  10. How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    The idea of race goes back hundreds of years ago. In the European literature, we learned how race started to play a big role in society by various types of rankings an individual had. We had the nobles, peasants, warriors, etc just to mentioned a few. I think socioeconomic factors played the biggest role in the term race but it wasn’t until perhaps, 1776 that skin color started playing a big role in race differences.

    Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    This is one of those questions I wish I didn’t have to answer. Anyhow, I think Africans were deemed inferior for whatever reason. The Europeans deemed them inferior hence the Americans did the same. This is just my two cents to the question.

  11. I think the idea of race developed as the America’s developed. In the film Race- The Power of an Illusion we heard that it was the Americans that “invented” race. People were categorized by what region they came from or language they spoke before then.

    I think Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved. Like Richard said once a group is completely oppressed it is easier to see that group as inferior. People have been trying to enslave others for centuries, such as the Indians and the Irish. I think part of the reason people tried to enslave others was because they knew these people has knowledge and skills to do the work better than they themselves could.

  12. How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    I think the Idea of race has always been around since the existence of humans according to history, humans always categorized into two races black or white. After human social development there were more racial identifications. If you look at some the religious books race was always mentioned in these books and some of these book date to very old days. I think the idea of race came from or came with the existence of human kind, I think since humans identified two different skin color (black; white) created the idea of race.
    Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    I think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior; they weren’t powerful or didn’t have power to defend against the white man. Being weak, not powerful gave more advantage to be enslaved in the Americas.

  13. How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    I think the Idea of race has always been around since the existence of humans according to history, humans always categorized into two races black or white. After human social development there were more racial identifications. If you look at some the religious books race was always mentioned in these books and some of these book date to very old days. I think the idea of race came from or came with the existence of human kind, I think since humans identified two different skin color (black; white) created the idea of race.
    Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    I think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior; they weren’t powerful or didn’t have power to defend against the white man. Being weak, not powerful gave more advantage to be enslaved in the Americas.

  14. 1- I know that many ancient societies never mentioned race when identifying large groups of people they would us other labels. I don’t know how old the idea of race is, but I do know that the idea of race was made popular in the Americas because of slavery.
    2- I think Africans were deemed inferior because of slavery. I think people would consider them inferior as a way to justify having slaves.

  15. 1) How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    Race has been around for centuries, way before the colonization of the United States. It was used in a different context to describe were a particular race of people originated for example, Persian Race or Mongolian Race. But today, race is used more to categorize you by the color of skin and much less were you originated.

    2) Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    I believe African were enslaved base on of the fact they were inferior. Other than African skin color, the European believe heavily on the class system and education. Which made them believe African were below them in both categories.

  16. I think race started around the time people started dividing themselves into different nation, social class and people started to separate from each other based on different lands, clothing’s, appearances, and cultures. Also maybe around the time when people started to migrate from different countries. Perhaps it started in the United States around the time of the civil war. When people see things that are different, they will label and classify them in order to understand the meaning behind it.

    I think that Africans were deemed inferior in the Americas because they were not white. In order to control Africans and to create superiority, they were enslaved. They were enslaved because the people with high power needed cheap labor to produce products.

  17. 1) I think race has started centuries ago because people were always making differences based on religion and wealth. But it wasn’t until the United States started using this word to differentiate whites from people of color that this word started to have a strong discriminatory meaning against some people, especially against African Americans.

    2) In my opinion, Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved. People from the United States felt that they could dominate people from other countries because they had the power and the resources to do it.

  18. How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    I think the attitude of race has been around since the 1600’s when the English colonists began to enslave the African people. As we have all learned by watching ” Race: The Power of Illusion” race is a modern idea. This idea was created in order to justify slavery, and the inferior treatment of others.

    > Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?

    I think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior. I believe that this concept of inferiority is what lead to slavery. A slave is someone who has all of their rights taken from them, so in order to do something so inhumane I believe they must have had to have thought that they were superior because if not then they would have been ready to deem anyone a slave not just one particular race.

  19. 1. > How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    The idea of race has been around probably for a very long time, way before i was born so i can’t say. I think it began when people started moving to other countries during the wars. Might have started in the U.S during the time of the civil war. But i think it was still way before that. I also think it has to deal with skin color, the way an individual dresses, and their language

    2. > Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    Thats a very broad question, and its very hard to tell which was first. I think that Africans were deemed inferior because they were enslaved, and different from whites. The whites probably didn’t see Africans as humans. I also think that blacks were enslaved because whites saw Africans as different, so they felt superior enslaving them.

  20. 1) I think the idea of race has been around for the longest but race began to be used alot in the united states when african american were enslaved and they started to categorize people into different races based on their skin color and the idea is still being used today and it will keep on going.

    2) i think africans were enslaved because they were deemed inferior because whites in the united states saw them as different and they feltsuperior to them so they felt the right to enslave them.

  21. > How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    I think the idea of race has been around since slavery. I think that Europeans who came to explore the Americas and who who traveled to the Caribbean. They were look down upon as inferior to the Explorers.
    > Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    I think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferiority because they were enslaved. The explorers thought they were high and mighty because they were educated in ways Africans weren’t.

  22. For most of human history people were segregated and divided by religion and wealth status. Division within and between societies has been around since human beginnings have existent. However, the concept of race as a divider between societies was created to justify the practices in America and its treatment of African slaves. The American society and economy heavily relied on the slave labor that was being imported from Africa. The different complexion and features of the African slaves were easily distinguishable from the European land owners and it was used to justify their treatment of them as an inferior race who did not deserve to be treated as equals.

  23. According to the website “http://www.understandingrace.org/history/history_trans.html” it describes about the race and race history. The answer can be found in the long and complex history of western Europe and the United States. It is that history—influenced by science, government and culture—that has shaped our ideas about race. The way we view race and ethnicity today is far more complex than the simple categories in the first U.S. Census. In fact in the 2000 census the “mark one or more” standard allowed for 63 possible racial combinations, reflecting the diversity of the country. By the year 2010, the U.S. population will barely resemble what it was 400, 100,even twenty years ago. That means we will probably have to reconsider the term race, and whether it is relevant to describing who and what we are.
    In colonial America, Africans weren’t enslaved because they were thought to be inferior. On the contrary, they were valued for their skill as farmers and desired for their labor. Planters had previously tried enslaving Native Americans, but many escaped and hid among neighboring tribes or were stricken by diseases brought to the New World by Europeans.

  24. 1) in my opinion, race been around for a quite time , long way before my great grand parents were born. all over the world, people have an issue with the word RACE. But, for United States the meaning of race definitely has a deeper signification. American people are using this word in order to start a war between Black or white. Or to make one feel way superior than others.Honestly, i really don’t know where Race come from. According to Wikipedia it was first created by an anthropologist back of the 17th and 18th centuries who proposed various systems of racial classifications based on such observable characteristics as skin color, hair type, body proportions, and skull measurements, essentially codifying the perceived differences among broad geographic populations of humans.

    2) Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior. The white believed they were more important as them. i believed if everybody were white, slavery would never happen. Back in the days, light skinned person had receive a different treatment from the whites.Those people usually worked offspring such as in homes, etc…

  25. 1.How long do you think the idea of race has been around? Where did it come from?
    The idea of race has been around since the start of civilization. As people started settling down and farming and starting organized lives I think they started to also start differentiating between themselves and others. Little differences even then ,such as skin color, hair type, or even cultural differences, has led to the idea of race.

    2.Do you think Africans were enslaved in the Americas because they were deemed inferior, or were they deemed inferior because they were enslaved?
    They were deemed inferior because they were enslaved. In one of my other classes we were watching a video about how African kings willingly sold/traded their subjects into slavery. If that never happened, there probably wouldn’t have been a transatlantic slave trade and they would not be deemed inferior as a result.

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