The ability to choose

I don’t have a clue what to blog about tonight. I am forcing myself to keep up with this at least once a week, but I am aiming for two. I have a piece of paper that has many topics on slave life written down so that I may enlighten my readers, but tonight, I just don’t feel like using it.

So instead, I will use some of the recent conversations I’ve had with a friend guide me. Of course I will relate this all to slave life…somehow. But the discussion was on dating and having the option to date various people and personalities until you have found that person that you will call your mate and marry. He told me that men, much like himself, tend to date to see if that particular woman walking down the street is the next best thing. Sure, the woman he’s currently seeing may be alright, but is she still the next best thing? So that got my mind to working about the relationships of slave men and women. Clearly there was some courting on the plantations, and some slaves got to marry the mate of their choice, but what happened to those slaves who weren’t given an option, let alone a chance to find that “next best thing”?

And while I know arranged marriages exist and that in some parts of the world, they are common, I feel for some reason, I’m not talking about those. After all, some arranged marriages are made when the couple are small children. I’m looking at this from the perspective that someone has taken the ability of the slave to pick their own mate because they feel that they can breed a “hard worker” by matching two people together. Yes, slaves were property, and yes they were treated like animals. But for a minute, just think of what it would be like if ladies, a man told you that you had great hips for birthing and that he would pair you up with a muscular individual who had good teeth, because your children (who would become this man’s property) should come out just as strapping and sturdy as their parents and would make great field hands. Then imagine your husband, that you were forced to marry anyway, being sold to another plantation. At this new plantation, he is paired up with yet another slave, to create yet again these, sturdy strapping babies. There are a lot of aspects of the business of slavery I can make myself understand. This however is not one of them.

Which brings me back to the conversation earlier. I know this is something that 99% of people don’t think about as they find various people to date. But I truly wonder, if people knew how fortunate they are to have the option and to be able to pick and choose until they found that person that was just right for them, would they do things differently? Would you?

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