This was one of the more enjoyable sections to read in the additional reading this week. Again, I am left somewhat speechless over the amount of information about African American life and realities that we are not taught in school regardless of our race. It is new to learn that slave owners did not want to convert their slaves on the grounds of dehumanizing them. However, what is not traditionally expressed within our educational system is this rather ironic reality. We are all familiar with the creation story. It is because of the impulse of Eve, that humans to understand the concept of free-will. By disobeying the word of God, man then became self-aware (i.e. being naked 27/4 is not really the coolest thing.) Take this concept and apply it to the minds of slave-owners. Raboteau notes how slaveholders were also motivated not to Christianize their salves, because it would change the chain of power. By allowing their slaves to be religiously educated, they would then have a higher self-respect for themselves. And their free-will would also be heightened. We educated throughout high school that slaves had no deeper purpose then to work. We have it drilled into us that all masters hated their slaves. As we have seen, the reality was literally not so black and white. There is a famous quote that goes something like this, “Knowledge is power.” By denying education, slave holders were set on the idea that if slaves were kept in the dark, they would to some degree be dumber. This mindset implied that slaves were not born with average intelligence, they were too far gone to even be considered for religious education. This brings up an old debate. Are we born with basic intelligence, or is everything we know instructed? Do we all have a set limit of capacity for all things in life, or is everything constantly evolving?
Ps. This made me think in a different light. Maybe you will too.