AT: Economics Prove
You don’t understand economics—slave trade was driven by the triangular trade where Europe sent cheap guns and manufactures goods to Africa in exchange for slaves—it was where slaves were the cheapest and most convenient for trade
Race is a construction borne of economics—change in the definition of whiteness proves
Gans 05 (Herbert J., merican sociologist who has taught at Columbia University between 1971 and 2007, “Race as Class”, Contexts 4:4, November 2005, University of Michigan Libraries)//AS
Race became a marker of class and status almost with the first settling of the United States. The country’s initial holders of cultural and political power were mostly WASPs (with a smattering of Dutch and Spanish in some parts of what later became the United States). They thus automatically assumed that their kind of whiteness marked the top of the class hierarchy. The bottom was assigned to the most powerless, who at first were Native Americans and slaves. However, even before the former had been virtually eradicated or pushed to the country’s edges, the skin color and related facial features of the majority of colonial America’s slaves had become the markers for the lowest class in the colonies. Although dislike and fear of the dark are as old as the hills and found all over the world, the distinction between black and white skin became important in America only with slavery and was actually established only some decades after the first importation of black slaves. Originally, slave owners justified their enslavement of black Africans by their being heathens, not by their skin color. In fact, early Southern plantation owners could have relied on white indentured servants to pick tobacco and cotton or purchased the white slaves that were available then, including the Slavs from whom the term slave is derived. They also had access to enslaved Native Americans. Blacks, however, were cheaper, more plentiful, more easily controlled, and physically more able to survive the intense heat and brutal working conditions of Southern plantations. After slavery ended, blacks became farm laborers and sharecroppers, de facto indentured servants, really, and thus they remained at the bottom of the class hierarchy. When the pace of industrialization quickened, the country needed new sources of cheap labor. Northern industrialists, unable andunwilling to recruit southern African Americans, brought in very poor European immigrants, mostly peasants. Because these people were near the bottom of the class hierarchy, they were considered nonwhite and classified into races. Irish and Italian newcomers were sometimes even described as black (Italians as “guineas”), and the eastern and southern European immigrants were deemed “swarthy.” However, because skin color is socially constructed, it can also be reconstructed. Thus, when the descendants of the European immigrants began to move up economically and socially, their skins apparently began to look lighter to the whites who had come to America before them. When enough of these descendents became visibly middle class, their skin was seen as fully white. The biological skin color of the second and third generations had not changed, but it was socially blanched or whitened. The process probably began in earnest just before the Great Depression and resumed after World War II. As the cultural and other differences of the original European immigrants disappeared, their descendants became known as white ethnics..
Slavery was not initially associated with Africans – capitalist economics, not racism, perpetuated slavery
Drescher 97 – Ph.D @ U of Wisconsin-Madison, Professor of History and Sociology @ U of Pittsburgh (Seymour, Slavery & Abolition, 18:3, pages 212-213, “Slavery and capitalism after fifty years”, 1997, RSpec)
Perhaps the best point of departure is the collective volume that emerged from the fortieth anniversary conference on Capitalism and Slavery, held at Bellagio, Italy, and was published in 1987. The editors, Barbara L. Solow and Stanley L. Engerirían, divided the non-biographical contributions into three parts, corresponding to three major hypotheses on the relationship between economic development and slavery in the British empire. We may appropriately test the first hypothesis most briefly. Williams only briefly broached the subject and his assessment has not been of major historiographical interest in the subsequent literature. Williams took the position that economic factors rather than racism occupied pride of place in the switch to African labour in the plantation Americas, that slavery 'was not bom of racism' but rather slavery led to racism. Although some recent interpretations make racial preferences and inhibitions central to the choice of African labour, Williams's order of priorities, if not his either-or approach, is supported by a survey of hundreds of articles. They show virtual unanimity on the primacy of economics in accounting for the turn toward slave labour. Non-economic factors, such as race or religion, entered into the development of New World slavery only as a limiting parameter. Such factors affected the historical sequence by which entire human groups (Christians, Jews, Muslim North Africans, Native Americans) were excluded from liability to enslavement in the Atlantic system. Since Williams published his book, the main change in the historiographical context of origins is an increase in the number and variety of actors brought into the process. That broader context complicates the role of any exclusively 'African' racial component of the slave trade. From the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, slavery, even the English colonial varieties, was hardly synonymous with Africans. Nor were Africans synonymous with slaves. In the African sector of the Atlantic system Europeans were forced to regard Africans (and Afro-Europeans) as autonomous and even locally dominant participants in the slave trade. They were often dominant militarily and were certainly dominant in terms of their massive presence and limited vulnerability to local diseases. Even in the Americas, Africans did not arrive only as captives and deracinated slaves.
The concept of race did not exist before capital—racial divisions are created and maintained to sustain the labor force
Brodkin 2000 (Karen, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, “998 AES Keynote Address": Global Capitalism: What's Race Got to Do with It?”, American Ethnologist 27:2, May 2000, WILEY)//AS
Soon after the reopening of immigration in 1965, a Federal Interagency Commit- tee was formed to create for the Bureau of the Census a classification of race and eth- nicity reflective of the nation's new immigration and attentive to the progress of af- firmative action. The result was the now-familiar four racial groups: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, black, and white. The committee de- cided that the fifth group, Hispanic, was an ethnic group but not a race. The govern- mentese term Hispanic emphasizes the Euro-origins of Spanish speakers from many nations. These "Hispanics" are not exactly white, which they were in the 1960 cen- sus. Rather they are modified, not-quite whites, as in Hispanic whites (Wright 1994: 50-51). In sum, although race was initially invented to justify a brutal regime of slave la- bor that was profitable to Southern planters, race making has become a key process by which the United States continues to organize and understand labor and national belonging.Africans, Europeans, Mexicans, and Asians each came to be treated as members of less civilized, less moral, less self-restrained races only when they were recruited to be the core of the U.S. capitalist labor force. Such race making depended andcontinues to rest upon occupational and residential segregation (Massey and Denton 1993). Race making in turn facilitated the degradation of work itself, its or- ganization as "unskilled," intensely driven, mass-production work. Race making is class making, just as much as class making is race making. They are two views of the same thing.