— Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, from “Thiefing Sugar” (via ethiopienne)
"Plans for slave galleys calculated the difference between kidnapped females and males only as one of volume occupied on board: five females were allotted the same cargo space as four males…Once ships landed…cane fields continued the dehumanization and/as unwomaning begun at sea…For one, females were employed in cane gangs in equal or higher numbers than males, performing the same tasks but living up to five years longer. But West Indian planters’s strategy of “buying rather than breeding” - working slaves to death - also meant that pregnant workers received no differential treatment, and slave motherhood was not a way for females to become women. Conscripted to cut cane even in the ninth month of pregnancy, most enslaved females never gave birth at all due to miscarriages, amenorrhea and abortions….To justify this treatment of kidnapped Africans as neuter work units, imperial narratives insisted that ungendering preceded slavery…and that something in the [Black] race’s physical makeup made its members’ animal sexual differences incapable of adding up to recognizable, desired femininity….[they] saw African females not only as beasts but as beasts of burden, noting that their “masculine physique” matched males’ in “enduring toil, hardships and privations” - proving the sexes EQUALLY fit for slavery"