Establishing context is important in understanding the significance of Equiano's World and the role that Gustavus Vassa played in the abolition movement. Vassa's autobiography does not always clearly establish context, and sometimes his own misunderstandings cloud an appreciation of his own evolution as an intellectual and poltical activist.

Questioning Equiano

Attitudes towards Race and Culture

Equiano addresses prejudices that suggest the black skin colour of Africans was a natural indicator of their inferiority:
Let the polished and haughty European recollect that his ancestors were once, like the Africans, uncivilized, and even barbarous. Did Nature make them inferior to their sons? and should they too have been made slaves? Every rational mind answers, No. Let such reflections as these melt the pride of their superiority into sympathy for the wants and miseries of their stable brethren, and compel them to acknowledge, that understanding is not confined to feature or colour. (Equiano 45)