Throughout American history, were blacks raised as laborers/ workers rather than bosses? Why?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When you use the word “raised,” it implies that you are asking us how the parents of African American children brought them up—what ideas they taught them.  We cannot really know this as we have no access to systematic information about how African American parents treated their children for much of history.  What we can say is that the majority of African Americans for most of American history ended up as laborers or workers rather than as bosses.  This was largely because of the fact that American society was very racist for most of our history.  (It is important to note, however, that there are more white workers than white bosses as well simply because you can’t have most people being “bosses.”)  Therefore, we can infer that most African American children would have been raised in a way that would prepare them to be laborers and workers.

For most of our history, America was an explicitly racist society.  We had slavery almost from the founding of our colonies until the end of the Civil War.  After that, we had legal discrimination against African Americans.  It is only in the last 50 years that we have had a society that does not explicitly treat African Americans as second class citizens.  As part of this, blacks were kept out of good jobs in many areas of work.  They also tended to receive inferior educations, thus making it still harder for them to end up as bosses.  These factors prevented the vast majority of blacks from making a living as bosses.

Most parents raise their children for the kind of life they expect them to lead.  If you believe that it is inevitable that your child will be a laborer or a worker, it is likely that you will raise them in a way that will prepare them for that role in life.  For most of our history, African American parents would likely have realized that their children were almost inevitably going to end up as laborers or workers.  Therefore, it is likely that they raised those children to fill that role rather than to act as bosses.

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