Slavery’s Injurious to All
Slavery’s Injurious to All During the time of slavery, being black meant you were probably a slave and being a slave was brutal. They were treated more like animals than like humans. In Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, he said, “slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me” (22).
I disagree however as well as agree with him on this, because being a slave you went through ridiculous amounts of punishment and torture that nobody else went through at that time.
But, slavery did change the owner’s personality as well. Being a slave meant going through struggles, hardships and not having any family around to help. Their masters were not the nicest people. When they were twelve months old they were taken away from their birthmothers and given to another female slave who cared for them. Children should not be taken away from their mothers at such a young age. They are supposed to have the nurturing care of their mother. When taken away from their mother after being with them for quite some time children get a sense of loss.
Not only did they get separated from their mothers, according to Frederick Douglass it was common for their masters to be the father of some of the slave children. The masters would sell their black kids “out of deference to the feelings of his white wife” (3). It was cruel to sell any human being let alone their own children just because of their class/race difference. If he did not sell the slave, the father would have to whip his own child and watch his white sons tie up his own brother. Slaveholders did not have to go through any of that cruel and unusual punishment as the slaves did.
Slaves suffered greater hardships than any other person during this time period. They did not receive sufficient clothing to keep themselves warm during those winter days. And if they ever ruined their clothing they would have to wait till the next “allowance day”. As well, they did not have any beds to sleep on, they slept on the floors with the little blankets they had. Their slaveholders did not have to go through that suffering of sleeping on a hard floor. They do not compare to what slaves go through. Slaveholders are the wealthy ones compared to slaves; they got to live in comfort while slaves did not.
So when Douglass states “slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me”, about his mistress, I believe he was wrong. Compared to the slaves, the slaveholders and overseers lived a luxurious lifestyle. They did not have to work hard in the fields just to earn the clothing on their backs and their daily meals. No matter what the slaves did it was never the right thing to do to please their masters. Not only did were slaveholders and overseers able to order around their slaves but they also made their lives a “living hell”. They were whipped for doing wrong or for no reason at all.
According to Douglass he had a few masters who were really brutal. For instance, Mr. Severe, Douglass wrote, “he was a cruel man. I have seen him whip a woman, causing the blood to run half an hour at a time” (7). When an overseer could be as cruel as that, they would never be able to know what the other side of slavery was like. Gore was another cruel man. He was about to whip a slave, Demby. When Demby ran into a creek and stood there. Gore gave Demby three chances to come back to him so he could whip him, he did not listen to him, so Gore shot Demby.
After shooting him, Colonel Lloyd, had asked why he resorted to shooting him, his response was, “he was setting a dangerous example to the other slaves, – one which, id suffered to pass without some such demonstration on his part, would finally lead to the total subversion of all the rule and order upon the plantation” (14). Demby was shot and killed for wanting to get away from being lashed and was punished for that. Slaves were not allowed to have a say on what goes on in their lives, they were a piece of property.
Being a slave took a toll on the slaves and their emotions. While slaveholders lived their lives, slaves were depressed. They had endured torture, pain and many more difficulties in their lives. Douglass wrote, “I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead” (24). Slaveholders cannot and should not be compared to how the slaves felt and were treated. They got to choose the way they lived their lives so they had no regrets doing what they did to the slaves. It was not the slaves fault that they were born into that social class.
However on one occasion, slavery does prove to have been as injurious to the slaveholders as to the slaves. When Douglass talks about his mistress, Mrs. Auld, he described her as a very kindhearted woman. She was teaching him how to read and write, since slaves were not allowed to become educated. She had clothing and food ready for him as well. Mrs. Auld was the only slaveholder to treat her slaves so kindly. After her husband banned her from teaching Frederick Douglass, she became coldhearted like all the other slaveholders.
Douglass said, “she now commenced to practice her husband’s precepts she finally became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself” (22). Mrs. Auld had never had a slave before so she did not know what it was like. Douglass was her first slave to own. In this situation, slavery had then become injurious to slaveholders as it did to slaves. Slavery changed the mistress’s personality, she became cruel. Mr. Auld In conclusion, even though slavery maybe injurious to the white owners, it is proved to be more injurious to the slaves.
They are the ones treated unfairly; the owners had a choice the slaves did not. Just because one instance can prove that slavery affected the slaveholders like it did to the slave, it does not justify it one hundred percent. Slaves were the ones getting beaten every day; they had no control over their lives. They were treated like property because of their skin color and the social class they were born into. Some slaveholders enjoyed whipping their slaves, it just goes to show that slave owners did not care about their slaves.