Race And Racism In Marcus Rediker's The Slave Ship

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To be sold into slavery or to be eaten by a shark: The Slave Ship begins with the story of a woman who must make this fateful decision. The author tricks the reader twice, first by making us think that this woman fated to death by a shark or the slave trade will be the focus of the novel, and then again by making us think that nothing could be worse than that. We learn as the book progresses that slaves faced insurmountable obstacles, pain, fear, and humiliation, and that for many the choice to eaten by a shark was one they could only dream of. In his novel he weaves a narrative of many, one with diverse perspectives and experiences that as a finished product reveal the slave ship in its truth. Rediker shows us that the trauma millions faced on the voyage from Africa to the Americas was in service of something of indescribable magnitude. The slave ship built the Western world. In his novel The Slave Ship, Marcus Rediker asserts that the slave ship not only imported African slaves but also carried with it class systems, race, and capitalism; these monumental institutions were birthed on the ship and made possible by unimaginable violence. Class systems on the slave ship were the byproduct of differences in power and condition. Unlike in our current class system, those in the middle saw little to no benefits of being superior to those under them. These class systems worked only to the benefit of the captain. Rediker demonstrates this point primarily in his explanations of the

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