How does/did slavery affect whites and the predominantly white society?

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During most of human history, slavery of some sort has been an accepted part of society. Only after the Age of Exploration and the slow development of the North American British Colonies as a place of freedom for every person did slavery begin to carry a truly negative stigma; it took hundreds of years and a Civil War for the United States to shake off the past and move into a desegregated society. Because of the many passionate sides to the slavery issue, the effect on the predominantly white society during slavery was one of benefit; plantations and factories thrived with cheap and free workers. Whites considered themselves able to focus on more important things than menial labor. Major thinkers, however, tended to be critical of slavery even while utilizing it themselves; the notion was that slavery in dehumanizing any group dehumanizes all of humanity.

However, the accurate truth that "All men are created equal" began to take root in the collective consciousness; white society resisted desegregation for a long time, since the status quo is always easier to maintain. The final effect of U.S. slavery on society -- white or otherwise -- is an example of a society that committed the common and accepted sin of slavery during its time, and grew to abandon the practice as inhumane. By showing the world a place where equality is truly practiced, instead of the "some more equal than others" philosophy of other countries, the U.S. demonstrated that freedom from slavery is possible and far more productive. However, the stigma of slavery remains in the collective consciousness, tainting much of politics and society with racial stigmas and prejudices -- these on both sides.

mysticgirl | Student

Slvery affected the whites who were the higher class within society postively as they were provided workers and they got all of the profitss from this. however there was the fear of the blacks overpowering them as the ratio was 1:10 ten blacks per white. this can be proven as the way the whites home was situated: far away from the blacks area of work and homes. Basically the whites feared for thier lives even though they were provided with work benefits and contribution to the economy. You can back up your answers by providing proof of how the whites would suppress the blacks by beating them and uses religion as a main factor of keeping the Africans tame so to speak: they used religion to say that the balcks were treated that way because they were black, that is how god wanted it. they used religoin to their benefit.