Mary Shandley Unit 4 Assignment 1

While the Jim Crow discrimination that Mary Church Terrell describes is far less physical than the lynchings that Ida B. Wells writes about, both women bring up issues that devastate the African-American population. The distinctions, as well as the commonalities, between these two forms of violence remind unaffected readers that violence is not always skin-deep. In cities such as Washington, where it may be harder to get away with or justify physical violence, white people would feel the need to express their racism-fueled frustrations towards marginalized populations through exclusion and discrimination under legal guise. The same motive of inherited hatred is at the root of both lynchings and Jim Crow laws.

Terrell focuses her examples of racial exclusion on the stories of women of color, making sure to refer to herself as a colored woman rather than simply a person of color. She does this perhaps in order to emphasize the unique position of black women, who receive two-fold discrimination. In Wells’s descriptions of lynching, she refers to black and white womens’ true and false accusations of rape, pointing out that white womens’ accusations are much more likely to be acted upon without investigation. While both Wells and Terrell acknowledge that both  white and black women experience violence, they also draw attention to the significant privileges that white women still hold over black women when they are violated.

Both writers put racial issues in the United States in a worldly perspective, saying that we should be ashamed for the atrocities committed within our borders and that we have no right to judge the actions of other racist nations without addressing our own. Additionally, they advocate for the elimination of white ignorance and, as a result, legislative hypocrisy. They say that the rights promised in our laws and Constitution should apply to everyone and be followed through in the courts.

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