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Give an example of racial discrimination/segregation in The Help that the white women...

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rngoal | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 9, 2012 at 5:37 AM via web

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Give an example of racial discrimination/segregation in The Help that the white women display towards their maids.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 9, 2012 at 6:41 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the clear examples of discrimination and segregation that are presented to the reader is the whole incident of Aibileen having to use a special outside restroom built just for black people. That this toilet needs to be built in the first place is certainly one example of discrimination, but clear racism is shown when Miss Leefold realises that Mae Mobley is being taken to Aibileen's toilet to train her to not use her nappies any more. Note what Miss Leefolt says to her daughter when she realises this:

I did not raise you to use the coloured bathroom! ... This is dirty out here, Mae Mobley. You'll catch diseases! No no no!

Mae Mobley is actually smacked repeatedly for using Aibileen's bathroom. This is a major example of discrimination and racism in the book, as it shows how the white ladies still believed that blacks like Aibileen were fundamentally "dirty," and that there was danger of being "infected" by them.

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thetall | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted March 25, 2015 at 9:01 AM (Answer #2)

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There are several instances in The Help that display the racial prejudice against blacks. Miss Hilly Holbrook in one of the bridge club conversations suggests that the whites should not use the same bathroom as the blacks. She believes that they carry different kinds of diseases; she portrays the general feeling among the majority of the whites. She suggests a special bathroom be built for the help. Miss Leefolt, the lady employing Aibileen, goes ahead to build the “colored bathroom” against her husband’s wishes.

Minny’s mother suggests it is best to use the same utensils every day, to keep them separate from others and to eat in the kitchen. These were part of the rules that she passed on to her daughter and which show the level of racist conditions at the workplace.

Another reference to racism is when Hilly sets up Skeeter with Stuart and tells her that his father is a senator who is working to prevent black students from attending school at Ole Miss.

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