The fact that Black people in the English colonies of North America were never treated as the equals of White people has important ramifications. If from the outset Black people were discriminated against, then legal slavery in the 1660's should be viewed as a reflection and an extension of racial prejudice rather than, as many historians including Oscar and Mary Handlin have argued, the cause of prejudice. In addition, the existence of discrimination before the advent of legal slavery offers a further explanation for the harsher treatment of Black slaves in North than in South America. Freyre and Tannenbaum have rightly argued that the lack of certain traditions in North America – such as a Roman conception of slavery and a Roman Catholic emphasis on equality – explains why the treatment of Black slaves was more severe there than in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies of South America. But this cannot be the whole explanation since it is merely negative, based only on a lack of something. A more compelling explanation is that the early and sometimes extreme racial discrimination in the English colonies helped determine the particular nature of the slavery that followed.