This essay is going to concur with Cesaire's statement that the act of colonizing dehumanizes the colonizer. This paper will deal with the conceptualization of the thesis statement with reference to the course materials with an aim of justifying this inclination. According to Cesaire, we note the process of colonization influences the person who undertakes it. Where the individual fails to accord the fellow human beings the respective dignity and on the contrary view them as animals. This act of looking down upon other human beings degrades the colonizer. Ethnocentrism explains this attitude in a better way where Webster’s defines it as,
“The belief that one’s own ethnic group, nation, or culture is superior” (Unit 1-(4)) that one feels he or she is a better human than the other even takes another human being to be a slave. For instance in Unit 2-(13), we observe a woman and her child lined up for sale, Rio Market of the slaves of 1830s and a Negro hang alive by the ribs.
It is clear that an individual believes one’s group is the best because he or she is part of it while the others’ groups are inferior. The reason being they do not share the culture and views of the world. This justifies why the colonizers went for the people who were not their own. For example, The Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, one of its clauses recommended that the Spanish were not to take the slaves from the Arabic North Africa. This facilitated the drawing of slaves from only Sub-Saharan Black Africa hence there was increase in racial slavery. (Unit 1-(6)) Therefore, we acknowledge the whites were better beings than the Arabs and Africans. In fact according to Unit 1-(5) it recognizes that the racial ranking dates back to 1904 and states,
“The lighter your skin, the higher up the scale you were. Thus white Europeans and Americans were at the top, the Chinese and Arabs in the middle, and Native Americans and sub-Saharan Africans at the bottom” This statement clearly shows the attitude of those who colonized the others because they perceived them to be of low status than they were by just looking at the complexion differences. (Unit 4-(46))
In addition, to the skin tone as a parameter for disrespecting others as aforementioned they furthered their argument by comparing the facial appearances. For instance, from Unit 1-(5) the diagrams of a white’s face in comparison to that of a black African they justified the belief that the latter was in between human and animal. This explains why the whites conducted both slavery and slave trade because they equated black Africans to animals hence one could own, sell and buy them just like any commodity. The slaves provided free labor to the sugar plantations and industries. (Unit 2-(13)) In fact, for the unwilling to work their punishment was cutting their hands as portrayed in Unit 3-(37).
What disturbs very much is how these slave masters handled their fellow beings. Indeed, it was very brutal confirming they took them as animals and this made these masters behave like animals. In fact, we can consider animals better off because they cannot handle their class as these masters did to the slaves. For instance, how they packed them, as in the case of tight packing versus loose packing it is as if they are lifeless. They forced them to climb the deck and dance where this compulsion involved lashing. Moreover, because they knew some will opt to commit suicide during the transportation as they forced them to do things contrary to their will they ensured they sealed all the areas that could facilitate that. They also branded them forcefully and not only once but several times just as we do to animals. When one critically analyses this situation you will notice unless you perceive your fellow beings as animals and you embrace the cruelty of the animals too you cannot involve yourself in such acts. (Unit 2-(13)) When you look at “The Great Chain of Being” one notes that the man and the woman who represent the human beings precede the animals, plants and minerals. (Unit 1-(5)) Distinctly indicating the human beings are of more importance than the last three, thus deserve respect and high regard.
On the other hand, in “The Zong Affair (1772)” we observe a very brutal act where the captain of a 107 tons ship threw 133 ill slaves overboard for lack of water. Unless you have an animal like heart, you cannot do such a barbaric act. Following this loss of slaves, the insurers had to pay for the loss and they later appealed. The enemies sued the captain for murder but to their surprise Mansfield threw out the case by holding that, the slaves were properties just like horses. (Unit 2-(32)) This is contrary to our expectations that ailing human beings that should get treatment end up in the sea rather than receiving medication. The captain does not even empathize with them as fellow beings to offer them treatment but thinks of getting rid of them by drowning them. This character depicts the captain as one who has no feelings at all towards the miseries of others.
We note later the West objecting slavery because they considered it unacceptable since it was unethical and one could not defend it. For example, in Unit 2-(32) it acknowledges that there was rise in belief to show kindness to others which was to be in form of getting rid of the suffering of the others. Through evangelical faith, slavery sin called for cleansing which meant repentance, conversion and forgiveness. Christianity just like Islam prohibited slavery because it felt it was wrong to enslave fellow Christians. Therefore, agreeing with the statement slavery was dehumanizing thus was contrary to the will of God. Similarly, was “The Somerset Case (1772)” that ended slavery in Britain by freeing 15,000 slaves, valued at 100,000 pounds. Mansfield stipulated in his verdict that once a slave was in England was under its laws thus could not be sold without his or her consent. This ruling clearly shows there was need to recognize the dignity of an individual by ensuring you seek one’s consent before doing anything that affects him or her. As earlier mentioned, we note the slaves were doing things under compulsion without any other choice other than executing the directions given.
In conclusion, we note that truly one who colonizes others treats them like animals contrary to the expectations of taking them like fellow human beings. This influences that individual thus he or she ends up exhibiting animal like behavior in the form of brutality. Taking fellow human beings as slaves and slavery exemplify this conceptualization. For instance, people sold human beings like commodities as in lining them up in a market and eagerly waiting for a willing buyer. Similarly, the treatments these slaves got justify this argument. We observe in slavery human beings owned others just like other properties, for instance, as in owning a horse. The masters used the slaves in plantation fields and industries against their wish. They branded them several times and transported them like animals. Killing them was not an issue as exemplified by the captain who threw ill slaves into the sea and the law backed him. In addition, we note religion finds these acts as immoral and unacceptable. The law only considers so when the slave becomes part of that country.