Is Slavery Immoral?

Georgia Scott and Alan Koo

Thesis

With slavery imposing such harsh treatment for so long, popular media has portrayed the fact that slavery has been taken to the point where it is so conventional that it is not immoral anymore.

Hidden Messages of the time period by Georgia Scott

In the media of this period, one of the most subtle ideas expressed is that white people did not feel that they were hurting their slaves in anyway. With images of slaves smiling and associating with their white counterparts, it seems as though the slave does not experience a hard life full of labor and subjugation but rather enjoys his time as a slave. Although this is not the case, the media makes it very clear to the people of this time period that slavery is not a bad or immoral thing to them.

What is Surprising? by Georgia Scott

In the visual aids of this time period, it is very surprising that the slaves are seen smiling in their time of subjugation. This is such a false image that it almost seems more immoral to promote the idea that slavery was enjoyable for the African Americans than the action of slavery itself. For example, in an advertisement from the time period, a slave is seen holding flowers and smiling, an image that never would have appeared during this time period. That is why it is so surprising that the media would promote such false images during this time period.
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This doll shows how slavery was intertwined into daily American life. The slave in this doll is seen as equal to the white girl she shares a body with, showing how slavery was not portrayed as something bad anymore in society.
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On this plate, the slave is shown helping his owner through a traumatic experience. This shows how the media portrayed the role of slavery as more of a human experience than a laborious life.

Subtle Messages By Alan Koo

During the slavery era, visual media and art tended to convey the idea that racism and prejudice were acquired characteristics, as is shown through the portrayal of innocent Eva, who spends time with Topsies and Uncle Tom unaware of society’s attitude towards Blacks. Other visual mediums portrayed slavery as an everyday aspect of life, so conventional and firmly in place that any abolition legislation would rip apart an integral fabric of Southern life. Visual art conveyed this attitude by drawing slaves as happy, in better clothes, and rarely laboring, therefore glorifying their position in society.

Surprise, Surprise by Alan Koo

The surprising part of the images we examined was the lack of acknowledgment of slavery being such a cruel and offensive subjugation of people. The way that political correctness and self-awareness has evolved today was very surprising to me, as some companies used Uncle Tom and the book's storyline to advertise their products, despite slavery being such a sensitive topic.