Originally Posted by BobTheCoward
Wait a second here. I think you have just made the argument that A is not B except in the instances where it is. That's not the strongest argument I've ever seen.
Slavery is many things, and one of the things it can be called easily enough is a social status. Your position in society is radically changed if you are a slave. Slavery is many things, and one of them is what I would have thought is the abundantly obvious one of social status, since to be enslaved or enslaveable divides people socially so pervasively and radically. The poorest white trash could buy a black man and enslave him if he came into the money. The richest and most privileged black free man could not buy a white man and enslave him at any price. The poorest, worst miscreant of white blood, while he might get himself in any sort of trouble up to including execution for heinous crimes, would never need to fear that his behavior would result in enslavement. Any black person in a slave state had reason to fear that a mis-step, a mis-identification, or a lost document, would result in his enslavement. The poorest, barely literate, white man could vote. The richest, best educated, smartest black man could not. One of the aspects of this blatant and in-your-face difference is the social status that such a distinction imparts.