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            Race, class, gender and sexuality
play a massive role in the way institutions and practices oppress people for
simply being themselves. Oppression has been going on for decades, people are treated
cruel and unjust simply because of their race, gender, sexuality and class. Angela
Davis discusses how oppression is correlated to gender and sexuality in her work,
Women, Race & Class.

For black women
the concept of motherhood was basically nonexistent during this time. Black
women were viewed as assets to the slave owners. They were treated like objects
and breeders who were only good for increasing the slave population. Since the death-rate amongst slaves were
relatively high due to diseases, women were forced into breeding children in
order to maintain the slave population. Slave owners sought out to guarantee
that their breeders could produce children quite often. There was no preferential
treatment or maternity leave for females that were pregnant or had a newborn
child.
Davis states in her work how slaves’
mothers were expected to leave their baby with an older slave and continue to
work in the fields with only days of giving birth. Many female slaves would tie
their babies on their back and continue to work. One constant fear and struggle
their faced everyday was that their kids could be sold into slavery at any
given point. Black females at the time were defined in terms of capacity of
labor and their ability to reproduce the future generations of slaves. Women worked the same hours as the men. Regardless
of their gender, enslaved African received equal treatment when it came down to
method of punishment. Both genders received the same violent punishment such as
whipping and poor living conditions. With respect to manual labor, the slave
system knew no gender and the only different between genders was that sexual
violence was more toward female slaves than males. Slaves were viewed as
economic property. Female women were not considered wives and mothers.

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  Male slaves were emasculated and were
pressured to be dependent, passive and unassertive if they acted any other way
they were subjected to beatings. Male slaves’ masculinity was basically
nonexistent. Male slaves were unable to
demonstrate any power in their families. Since all
slaves whether they were males, females or children were provider for the slave
owners, basic roles like family provider or head of household did not exist for
enslaved Africans

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