Racism and prejudice


The Atlantic slave trade promoted a racist ideology with the idea that black Africans were inferior to white Europeans.

It has been suggested that Europeans preyed on black Africans for the slave trade because they believed that:

  • Africans were more suited to this type of work.
  • Africans could cope with harder work and more heat.
  • Africans were less advanced than Europeans.
  • There would have been less criticism in enslaving Africans, compared to Europeans.


Plantation society saw a large black population being ruled over by a small but powerful white minority. Jamaica was like this.

In Jamaica, most whites thought that only the application of brute force could keep enslaved people under control.

During his first year on Jamaica, British plantation owner Thomas Thistlewood lived in an almost exclusively black world.

For weeks on end he saw no European people at all. White planters felt threatened and outnumbered and were fearful of the consequences of losing control over enslaved people.

With almost no restraints placed on their personal freedom, white people ruled over enslaved African people with violence.

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