“But with Black people, skin gave them away.”Toni Morrison

“There couldn’t have been another slave society in the world with a Fugitive Slave Law. It could not work with the Greeks and Romans, because they all looked pretty much alike. But with Black people, skin gave them away. You could keep up the remnants and the vestiges of slavery far longer than it ever would have lasted if they had enslaved… suppose they had decided to buy Irish people and just spread them all about, as they did of course. Then when they stopped doing it you could sort of tell by the name or tell by the religion, but you couldn’t have laws–Jim Crow laws. With Black people, because of the physical difference, they could be seen as slaves, and subsequently are now viewed as the visible poor. Black people are perceived as the lowest of classes because we can be identified that way. It doesn’t make any difference what we wear, or what neighborhood we live in, we’re still visible as that. The visibility has made the prejudices last longer. It’s not because one is Black that prejudice exists. The prejudice exists because one can identify the person who was once a slave or in the lower class, and the caste system can survive longer. In Nazi Germany, they found a way to identify the Jews by putting a label on them and to indicate who they were. They needed a mark. But in America you have people who are Black people.” – Toni Morrison

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