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White Over Black

2015-06-20 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Report范文


这是一篇关于书籍《White Over Black》的观后感Report

The relationship between white people and nonwhite people has been hotly discussed by the public for a long time. After reading about the thesis of Myne Owne Ground recommended by our tutor, I have a consultancy to many materials. Here I want to share my ideas with you. In this essay, it aims to solve the following two questions: firstly, what were relationships did white Europeans and nonwhites have during the 17th century? Secondly, what factors do they influenced the relationship between white Europeans and nonwhites during the 17th century? In this essay, it will first give a short summary and comment on the book Myne Owne Ground and its author, T. H. Breen. Second the essay will give a short introduction about the origin of white Europeans and nonwhites in America. Third the essay will give a detailed description about the relationship between the white Europeans and nonwhites in early America. Lastly the essay will analyze the reasons for the factors that influence the relationship. 


Breen is a specialist on the American Revolution; he studies the history of early America with a special interest in political thought, material culture, and cultural anthropology. He has won many prizes for his achievement in the study of early American history. Myne Owne Ground is one of his great books finished with another author named Stephen Innes. This book tells the readers about the lives of blacks in Virginia Era who struggled for a free live. It also tells readers about their process to conquer the unavoidable difficulties, establish their plantations and amass property step by step. It also tells the readers about the relationship between white people and nonwhite people in this Era. This book is highly recognized by the public. Ross Frank, professor from University of California remarks that, it’s an excellent book that introduces the complexities of American slavery during the colonial origins.( Jordan 110)

First, the essay will give a short introduction about the origin of white Europeans and nonwhites in America. Before the discovery of new continent by Columbia and colonial activities by European countries, there were no white people in America. The first group of white people arriving at America was Vikings, who were adventurous fishermen. The mass scale of white Europeans in America began after the arrival of “May Flower”, meaning from the establishment of Jamestown and thirteen colonies. Nonwhites include those whose color skin being not white. Here the essay will focus on the discussion about Indians and African immigrants.(Bernard 77)  About 20 thousand years ago, there were some wanderers from Asia. These were the ancestors of Indian. When Columbus discovered new continent, there were 20 million Indians living there. Among them about 1 million lived in the current Canada, middle and northern America. Gradually, people from other European countries began to settle down in the continent of America and thirteen colonies established. Due to different background, these white Europeans and nonwhites have many differences in the aspects of economic forms, political system and values. 

Then the essay will give a detailed description about the relationship between the white Europeans and nonwhites in 17th 18th century. In the beginning of 17th century, a slave ship took several nonwhite people and arrived in Northern America. This marks the beginning of the relationship between European white people and nonwhites in the history. In 1661, Virginia took the black people to the America and made it legal to sell slavers. Black people were then become the synonym of Negros. The black people were always regarded as inferior people who were dirty, unenlightened and rude. So until now, when people talk about black people, the image appears would be someone who were locked by handcuffs and shackles. Comparing to the white people, black people means evil. In 17th Century, the existence of black slavery and phenomenon of black people being oppressed had always been a severe problem in American society. The black slavery had hindered the political and social development in America by the middle of 19th Century and the influences of slavery lasted for a long time. (Thompson 280) The invisible chain, meaning oppression and discrimination to the black people, influenced a long time. The slavery system is the historical source of the race relations. After American Civil War, black people had become freedom and their rights had been confirmed in the American Legal system. However, due to protest from white supremacists, in 1883, the Supreme Court in America denied the decree of canceling the racial discrimination. In 1896, the Supreme Court in America claimed that to separate but to be equal. In any public area, no black people can enter the zones for the white people. With the prosperous development of civil movement, racial segregation was abolished again. This kind of policies had weakened the social status of black people and on the other hand, it had increase the discrimination and hatred to the black from the white supremacist. So, from the end of civil war to the beginning of 20th Century, black people kept being persecuted by the white supremacists. According to the legislative regulations, all the rights of slaves are deprived of rights. Black people were unsatisfied with their social status and then rise up. (MacPerson 35) The economy in the America in 17th century belonged to the colonial economy. In the Northern part, it is the capitalistic commercial economy. In the middle part, it produced wheats and its southern part was the slavery plantation economy. 

Then the essay will analyze the reasons for the factors that influence the relationship between white Europeans and nonwhites during the 17th century. First, the reason is their belief in racial superiority. In the decree of Christian, it tells the followers that African black people are superior since they are lazy. In European, it is widely believed that people with white skin color are most superior while those with dark black are most inferior. In their opinion, the color of the skin can reflect the situation of each people. People with light color have the power to create civilization while who with dark skin color will be ruled. In the culture of white Europeans, white represents kindness, purity and beauty while black represents evilness and ugliness. The culture of racial superiority begins in the Anglo-Saxon Era. In American people’s eye, only English people who have the same blood relationship can be called as the most excellent ethnic group. The rest should be called as inferior people. This kind of cultural value has influenced the relationship between white Europeans and nonwhites in early America deeply.( Ralph  89)

The second reason dues to the change of slavery system. With the arrival of African slaves in America, the racial discrimination appeared. In 1619, with the arrival of the black slaves, the white Europeans from England regarded them as servants and released them a few years later. After their release, they competed for the limited resources. Meanwhile, it needed some people to replace the physical labors. Considering about their vague social status and its difficulty to force people from other nations to do the work, white Europeans began to make slavery legal. The black slaves were the private possessions of the slave owners and they were sold like livestock. They were forced to work for 18-19 hours per day and oppressed by the slave owners. Slave Trade made the social status of black people decrease and discrimination from white Europeans became more severe. 

The third reason is due to white Europeans’ sense of mission. Its core idea is that invasion is reasonable. White Europeans believed that they were selected by the God and had their missions. In 1620, a crew of puritans arrived at Northern America by “May Flower” and thus turned a new page for the history of America. These puritans were forced to run to this new continent since there was religious persecution in their hometown. However they did not be grateful for the help of Indians with their settlement in new place. Instead, they were ambitious to prove that, they are selected by the god and are endowed with talents and wisdom. They did make achievements in this new continent. In their eyes, the other nations’ benefits are unimportant. Their ideas of mission had make them feel that those nonwhites are inferior. 

In conclusion, the relationship between white Europeans and nonwhite in 17th century is poor. The local Indians helped with the settlement of European immigrants when they first arrived at the new continent. However, these new settlers did not feel grateful for the native Indians. Instead, they tried to conquer them and dominate the new continents. After the arrival of black people, they regarded them as inferior people and their discrimination towards them appeared. The reasons for the relationship between white Europeans and nonwhites are three. They are white Europeans’ firm belief in the idea of racial superiority, the change of slavery system and the white Europeans’ sense of mission. 

Reference
Jordan, Winthrop D. White Over Black. New York: Chape1 Hi11, 1982.

Thompson, Kenneth W. Traditions and Values in Politics and Diplomacy. Louisiana:Louisiana State University Press, 1992.

Bernard  Bailyn. The  Great  republic:A  History  of  the  American  People.Boston:little,Brown  and  Company,1977.

C.B.MacPerson. The  Political  Theory  of  Possessive  Individualism: Hobbes To  Locke. America: Oxford  University  Press,1962.

Ralph  H.Gabriel.The  course  of  American  Democratic  Thought: An Intellectual History Since 1815. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1940. 


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